Arduino Basics: Shopping List

20 May 2011

Shopping List

If you have just heard about Arduino and are thinking about getting one, don't just buy the board on it's own. You don't buy a PlayStation / XBox without buying a game, and the same goes for the Arduino. If you just buy the Arduino by itself, you will get bored pretty quickly. In fact, I don't know why the Arduino doesn't automatically come with a breadboard, some wires and a few LEDs. Having said that, there are a few companies out there that have put together some pretty good kits.

I am not going to list them, because I am sure you know how to Google, and I am not going to tell you which one to buy, however I will tell you that I decided to buy the Sparkfun Inventor's Kit. You can work out which one suits you.

The Sparkfun inventor's kit not only comes with an Arduino UNO, but also a wide array of bits and pieces to muck around with. You can buy it in Australia from Australian Robotics.

•Arduino Uno USB
•Arduino and breadboard holder
•Printed 36-page Oomlout manual
•12 color circuit overlays
•Clear Bread Board
•74HC595 Shift Register
•2N2222 Transistors
•1N4148 Diodes
•DC Motor with wires
•Small Servo
•5V Relay
•TMP36 Temp Sensor
•Flex sensor
•6' USB Cable
•Jumper Wires
•Tri-color LED
•Red and Green LEDs
•10K Trimpot
•Piezo Buzzer
•Big 12mm Buttons
•330 and 10K Resistors
•Male Headers

The manual that comes with the kit is not the best manual in the world, but it does redirect you to a much more useful site online. I thoroughly recommend this kit for beginners. It will point you in the right direction, and once you start tinkering, there is no turning back. You won't stop talking about it. Totally awesome.

And when you get through the 12 sketches (and their recommended variations), you can't help but feel a sense of power. The power to create light, create sound, create movement, and the ability to discover the world around you like you never have before.

Regardless if you decide to buy a kit or not, there are a few individual items that are essential. If you don't buy them now, you will later on.
  • Multimeter
  • Soldering iron
  • Helping hands with magnifyer - good for holding that component / wire when you need a 3rd hand
  • Alligator clips
  • Breadboard
  • Wires - to connect your sensors/motors etc  (Male/Male wires) and (Female/Female wires)
  • LEDs
  • A button or a switch of some sort - preferably one that can be put on a breadboard.
  • Resistors (330K and 10K)
  • External Power supply for Arduino board :  to liberate your Arduino

Feel free to put a recommended kit in the comments.

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