25 Jan 2013

Checklist for beginner electronics kit

Some of the Parallax "forumistas" told me that I should post a list of cheaper tools and instrument to get started with electronics. By the way, Parallax Inc. is a great place to buy sensors, robot parts, microcontroller development kit, etc... They also developped their own microcontroller, the Propeller, that I will cover extensively in the next weeks. Don't forget to take a look at their forum, the people there are really nice and can answer the most of your questions.

So here is what I came with for a budget beginner electronics kit (parts found on Newark) :


  • DURATOOL 22-8850 - WIRE STRIPPER - 4$
  • DURATOOL D00120 - WIRE CUTTER - 2.70$
  • DURATOOL TL10328 - LONG NOSE PLIERS - 2.60$
  • AMPROBE AM-500 - DIGITAL MULTIMETER - 30$
  • NTE WHS22-00-25 - HOOK-UP WIRE 25FT BLACK - 3.70$
  • NTE WHS22-02-25 - HOOK-UP WIRE 25FT RED - 3.70$
  • GLOBAL SPECIALTIES GS-830T - BREADBOARD - 9.30$
The good thing with the Amprobe multimeter is the auto-ranging feature, it automatically detects the value range of the voltage/current/resistance you are measuring. When buying wire for breadboarding, you have to get solid core wire, not stranded. I did this error with my last order. The part number looks the same for the 25 feet NTE 22 gauge; solid wire: whs22, stranded wire: wh22.

If you plan to do some soldering, you can take a look at :

  • WELLER WES51 - ANALOG SOLDERING STATION - 125$
  • KESTER 83-4000-0000 - POCKET PACK SOLDER - 3.70$
An benchtop oscilloscope is a more exotic beast. For low cost alternative, you can take a look at USB oscilloscope like this one. You can even find ones that you can directly embed in a breadboard :



Finally, here is an example BOM (Bill of Materials) of the beginner kit.


In the next tutorials, I will cover basic components needs along with circuit schematics.



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