I'm putting together a small "care package" for a friend of mine who's always wanted to get into electronics. He's dabbled here and there, and helped me in the past on my own projects, but never had the means to get all the tools, components, etc. needed to really get going, and he's a - frankly - brilliant person, if a little recluse.
A few friends and I decided to do something about this, and we all got together and picked up a Aoyue soldering station for him, and have donated various bits and pieces from our parts bins to get him going. Our goal here, is to present him with as large of a kit of parts as possible that allows for as many possibilities as possible for directions to go in. My friends and I tend to stick to photon generation devices (hah, sorry, inside joke) and audio stuff. Crossovers, Equalizers, Amplifiers, and LED displays. So our parts bins always look pretty much the same - lots of resistors in the 1 to 10K range, ULN2803's, TLC5940's or WS2803/11s, large size air-core foil inductors, and Poly caps in the 20uF - 400uF range (and higher 500V 10,000uF snubbers, etc.) more wirewound resistors than you can shake a stick at, LED matrixes, LM3871s, etc.
There are whole other avenues of this hobby however that we don't dabble in. If we did, I'd wager that our parts bins would look dramatically different -- more/different transistors, or non-light-emitting diodes, more 74 series chips - that kind of thing.
So what do you "always have on hand" in your parts bin that allows you to prototype a design? What kinds of things do you say, "Gee, I've only got 1 or 2 of these left, and should go find more"?
We've set aside a budget of about $200 for this. Most of the stuff we'll source on Alibaba or Ebay. Probably bying more than we need strictly for the kit, just so we have some as well. :) So here's what I've got so far:
Resistors - Axial Lead 1/2W - Various sies. A 144 Value "Kit" - roughly 20 pcs per value
Ceramic Capacitor "Kit" - small values
Electrolytic Capacitor "Kit" - various values, small and large. Something generic though
Actives & ICs
LEDs - LOTS of them. Red, Blue, Green 3mm are cheap right now. Probably a handful of RGBs, and a 8x8 or 5x7 LED Matrix
Transistors, 5 each of - 2N - 3904, 4401, 3704, 5088, 2222.. what other values are most commonly used?
74xxxx Logic about 5ea - 595, 164, 373, 138, 299
Voltage Regulators - 3each 5v, 3v, and Adjustable types
2x TLC5940 LED/PWM Driver (I have some extra)
2x WS2803 16Ch LED/PWM Driver (I have some extra, and they are kind of fun to play with)
Op Amps - 2x LM3875s (these things are awsome), 2x 741s
Timers - 3x 555's - always good to have a few of these. :)
Tactile Switches - momentary SPST Normally-Open type
Pin Headers, and lots of them
100x 1-pin female header housings & box pins
"Rainbow" Ribbon Cable, 40-way about 3 feet (leftover from a spool I had)
25 ft spools of 22AWG Solid Core - Black, Red, White, Green, Blue and Yellow wire
What we're using as our "Base" for the kit (not included on our budget, as we're donating these):
- 1x Raspberry Pi
- 1x Arduino Decimilia w/ 328 instead of the 128.
- 1x Arduino Mega
What am I missing? A motor or two? Batteries? What types of diodes are most commonly used - I rarely ever use these unless I'm rectifying AC current.. Should I throw in Xbee or some other RF comms? (Xbee is a little pricey, but I'll get it if it's worth it).