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Getting a stock of basic components

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Arthur Rhodes, Feb 28, 2007.

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  1. I'm just getting started, hoping to build some things with
    microcontrollers. It would be nice to have a good assortment
    of basic components on hand, so I don't have to go online and
    spend $10 on shipping and wait a week every time I need a resistor.
    How do most people acquire a good basic stock of resistors, capacitors,

    There's a fellow in town who has a set of components organized in about
    8 of those storage boxes with arrays of drawers. There are something
    like 25 or 50 each of a couple dozen resistor types, an assortment
    of capacitors, and some miscellaneous other stuff, like dip switches,
    knobs, IC sockets, etc. The stuff is left over from a business that
    built rack mountable electronic devices. The components probably
    reflect to some extent the specific boards they made. For instance,
    there's a bunch of IC's included, but I assume they'd probably be very
    little use to me. He wants $150 for the lot.

    Does the $150 sound reasonable? Is there a better way for me to get
    a basic stock of components?
  2. Puckdropper

    Puckdropper Guest

    I started building my stock up with a kit for a EE class. It had about
    40 different components, all in a nice storage case. After that, I added
    parts as I either took them off circuit boards or got them for a project
    (Need 1 resistor but they come in packs of 5... that sort of thing.)

    Some places sell assortments of components with a range of values that
    you might want to look in to. You might want to look around, and see
    what the different parts you think you'll get are worth. IMHO, if the
    parts are already organized and nicely stored, that's worth quite a bit.
    It's a pain sorting resistors and capacitors.

  3. Sounds high. Looked on eBay? Don't forget S&H.

    I'd also look at Radio Shack and online retailers.



  4. You can go to several smaller sites like jameco, all electronics, kitsusa,
    etc and buy "grab bags" that can get you a pretty resonable stock. They are
    not necessarily the best way as you never know what your going to get or if
    they are going to work at all but it can be a relatively cheap way to get

    You can also buy component "sets" that have a vary broad range of one type
    of component but these tend to be specific. The best thing to do is get a
    good idea of what you really need and then shop around for the best price.
  5. Charles Jean

    Charles Jean Guest

    Try Resistors, caps, diodes, uP, voltage
    regulators, sensors, etc. Very low shipping charges and fast
    delivery. Located in Colorado.

    "Sic hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes."
    (If you can read this, you're overeducated.)
  6. john jardine

    john jardine Guest

    Sounds expensive to me and lucky if you get a 10% utilisation of parts.
    Strongly suggest before doing anything else, you buy a complete set of 5%
    resistors. That's maybe 10 of each value from 1ohm to 10Mohms, (about 1000
    resistors). No more worries. Nothing worse than having to make a special
    order for that single '180k' you can't live without.
    Build up from there.
  7. Rich Webb

    Rich Webb Guest

    Jameco has several "kits" that you may (or may not) find useful. There
    will almost certainly be some parts you'll never use (anybody use the
    1488/1489 pair for RS232 lately?) but it is indeed handy to have a local
    stock of jellybean parts for when the urge to tinker hits.

    They also sell so-called "grab bags" of various flavors but with these
    you never really know what assortment you're getting. Something like the
    LED grab bag might be handy, though, for the odd indicator (even, too).

    I'd start off with just a good resistor kit, a hand full of general
    purpose NPNs, a Bag o' LEDs, 0.1 uF caps, and a few MAX232A level
    converters. Add some canned clocks (less fussy than crystals) of a speed
    appropriate for your devices.
  8. Ben Jackson

    Ben Jackson Guest

    The hard part is knowing what's worth having before you've really done
    any projects. For example, you might want to have one of those reels
    of "5 of every value" resistors, but you'll still be disappointed when
    you build a board with a 7-segment display and need 7 470 ohm resistors
    for it. Same with caps. For microcontrollers you might need a whole bag
    of .1u decoupling caps and 22p caps for crystals, but if you need an RF
    filter you'll want an assortment of almost every small value in C0G/NP0.

    I just ordered some SMT kits from They have through-hole
    as well. If you don't know what you need, you could do worse than order
    $50 worth of likely looking stuff from them.
  10. He writes, "I just can't continue to spend the time that
    "" requires."

    Sounds like the stock is going, going, soon to be gone...

  11. Bob Masta

    Bob Masta Guest

    I strongly second this approach. I went along for many years
    with grab-bag assortments and the like, but when I finally broke
    down and got a full set it was the dawning of a new era.
    I went whole-hog and got 100 of each 5% value by catching
    a few bargains, since lots of 100 are/were *much* cheaper
    per unit than 1s or 10s. But in retrospect 10s would have
    been just fine. What I soon discovered is that I have "favorite"
    values like 1K, 10K, 100K that I always use where the
    precise value isn't critical... like pull-ups, etc. So, when you
    run low on your initial 10 for any value, buy 100 of that value.

    In fact, once you get started, you may want to buy 100s
    of 1% metal films in your "favorite" values... not that much
    more money, and you can do neat tricks like R-2R ladder DACs.

    Best regards,

    Bob Masta

    D A Q A R T A
    Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis
    Scope, Spectrum, Spectrogram, Signal Generator
    Science with your sound card!
  12. Jeff Stevens

    Jeff Stevens Guest

    While not as inexpensive as "grab bags" you could just place a large
    order to Mouser for exactly what you would like.

  13. Simon

    Simon Guest

    I'm pretty much a novice and was wondering the same thing. So far my
    approach has been that whenever I need few of a cheap component such as a
    resistor or diode I buy 10 or even 100 of them, as the unit price falls
    rapidly with quantity, and I'll probably want more in future.

    I'd like to ask a related question - are there any component types that it
    doesn't make sense to over-buy in anticipation of future use? How about
    electrolytic capacitors - do they have a finite shelf life? Do mechanical
    components such as switches and relays deteriorate if left on the shelf for
    a few years? Presumably some kinds of cheap ICs are likely to be superseded
    by even cheaper and better models in future so it wouldn't make sense to
    stockpile them. I've got some diodes that have been in storage for 15 years
    and the leads are mottled and dark rather than shiny - I'm not sure whether
    I should try to clean them up or just discard them.
  14. Baron

    Baron Guest

    Simon inscribed thus:
    Depending upon what you want I have bucket loads!
  15. As long as they are normal items no problem.
    Not one that matters.
    Not really.
  16. jasen

    jasen Guest

    anything ROHS rapidly becomes hard to solder, an agressive flux may help.
    If you charge them slowly the first time out of storage they'll last decades.
    In a damp shed, maybe.
    some are keepers like 7805, lm317, 555, lm324 unlikely to get cheaper or be
    it's not real hard to clean them up, (steel wool may suffice)
    it depends how much you value your time. it's probably not worth
    discarding them until you have replaced them.
  17. I haven't seen folks talking about what I used to do (and it made
    somewhat more sense, I suppose, then.) That's cannibalizing TVs (I
    think radios are a little too IC'd up, these days, but most TVs have
    some parts to snarf in them. Used to go in with a pair of dikes and
    cut away or work out the parts. Usually can find some nice inductors,
    capacitors (ceramic and electrolytic), a few transistors (large and
    small), and various resistors (up to a few watts worth.)
    Over-buy the cheap stuff. New 1/4 watt resistors will be about 2-3
    cents each -- get a whole range of values at that price. Make it
    10-20 of each value. Then you only need to refill the ones you use
    up, later. Capacitors, I'd look for grab bags specifying large
    numbers of parts. They will be divided into ceramics in one grab bag,
    electrolytics in another. But focus on cheap. You can always just
    buy the polyprops when you actually know you'll need one, so don't
    bother with pre-buying a wide range of expensive parts like that.
    Transistors like the 2N3904 and 2N3906 should be in the range of 1 to
    3 to maybe 5 cents each. If you can find a bag of 1000 at $10, go for
    it. It happens sometimes. Otherwise, look for those in as cheap a
    bag as you can find. They are good transistors. The 2N2222 would be
    okay, but it usually isn't quite as cheap. Also, you may find some
    mosfets of the 2N7000/2N7001/2N7002/2N7003 types, but don't pay more
    than 8-10 cents each. Look for a nickel each.

    Other than that, perhaps just buy or find what you need. I usually
    also get a tube of one of one or two different kinds of cheap micros
    and keep those around, as well. Of the roughly 18-pin dip variety.

  18. Guest

    Hey Arthur
    I have a basment full of goodies, but don't do that much
    building... I do want that the other way around, and am working on
    it by getting rid of a lot of the stuff.
    Every time you or a friend has an electronic device that goes
    south, junk it out. I've junked out 30 computers and monitors and as
    many radios VCRs and copy machines. TV sets are well worth your time
    too, especially the older ones with through hole parts. A good
    working TV is worth more to me in parts then in working condition.
    You can keep your collection managable if you part out the goodies
    as soon as you get them, and if you don't have the time to take the
    parts off the circuit boards, then either only take exactly what you
    think you want off the board, or get a banana box and start saving
    just the board with the components that you'd like to part out at a
    later day.
    Once a week until you have your collection built up to your
    satisfaction you'll be hauling the empty component cases to the dump
    or recycling center and as long as there are no hazardus materials in
    your garbage it should cost you little or nothing to get rid of. My
    comunity recycling center does not take computers anymore, but them
    empty shell is really not a computer any more. I'm saving the empty
    parts boards, many of which still contain parts that i did not want to
    save for a trip to someone that saves these boards for the prescious
    metals and he can finish cleaning them up.
    This of course will take a lot of time and effort on your part, but
    you'll be doing several things at the same time. Saving a few bucks,
    recycling environmentally harsh garbage (your part in the green game)
    and having a collection of components that will probably be used by
    you eventually. Emagine telling your buddy, yup, this was an old VCR
    and a Microwave... : )
    Hope this gave you an idea or two, I'm sold on the recycling bit,
    and you can always purchace the components you don't find in the items
    you junk out. Spending 10 bucks on a project is a lot better then
  19. I believe R.S.R has a good price on 5% resistors(its what my tech school
    used in our kits)
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