Author Topic: Arduino Starter Kit for a newb - is it a good idea?  (Read 3820 times)

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Offline Caio Negri

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Re: Arduino Starter Kit for a newb - is it a good idea?
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2017, 02:23:13 pm »
None of those seem to come with guides, so you will inevitably have to look for schematics and videos online about each module. If you have zero experience and want a soft start I'd recommend one of the kits from Arduino itself or Adafruit/Seeedstudio, they have plenty of examples with both written and video guides. You pay the price for convinience, of course.

https://store.arduino.cc/product/GKX00007
https://www.seeedstudio.com/ARDX-The-starter-kit-for-Arduino-p-1153.html
"Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can." - Arthur Ashe
 

Online Ian.M

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Re: Arduino Starter Kit for a newb - is it a good idea?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2017, 02:33:44 pm »
The first two have Arduino clones with SMD ATmega328P chips - make a mistake with the wiring and you could easily blow the chip and would have to replace the whole Arduino.

The third  kit has an Arduino (probably a clone) with a socketed DIP ATmega328P.  You can buy replacement chips preloaded with the Arduino bootloader and replace it if it blows.  If you plan ahead so you have a working Arduino available you can also buy the more readily available blank ATmega328P chips and use the ArduinoISP sketch to load them with the Arduino bootloader.   You can also transfer the chip to your own projects after testing with an Arduino/breadboard hookup - as long as you have a replacement  with a bootloader to make the Arduino usable again.  Also, with the chip removed, the Arduino will act as a USB <=> 5V logic level serial port adapter.   The breadboard protoshield is also nice to have - for small projects its far more compact to sit everything directly on top o the Arduino, and the extra space is also useful if you've filled up the seperate breadboard.  Also its battery pack is going to be far far cheaper to run than the kits with a PP3 clip, as it uses AAs which are the cheapest small batteries (in cost per Joule terms) available - Poundland usually stocks 6 Kodack brand AA Alkalines for £1.

OTOH the first two kits have more sensors, and the second kit has a handy box.

None of them have what I would regard as a good selection of parts for general experimentation.  A selection of E12 resistors, capacitors, transistors (including some 2N7000 MOSFETs), diodes etc. and a couple of rail-to-rail OPAAMPs and CMOS 555 timers  would be a worthwhile addition, as would some logic chips e.g 74HC595 (8 bit SIPO shift register) as a SPI  output expander and 74HC165 (8 bit PISO shift register) as a SPI input expander for the Arduino.  You'll also need basic hand tools - miniature pliers and sidecutters, small flat bladed screwdriver for screw terminals, presets and levering chips out of breadboards, and a multimeter.

More breadboard space is also good - as soon as you are sure your interest in electronics and Arduinos isn't just transient, a three panel breadboard on a baseplate with binding posts for hooking up multimeters or bench PSUs is a worthwhiloe investment.

You can bet the tutorials supplied (if any) with any of the kits are going to be crap.  If you get stuck, ask, as there's probably a better one someone can point you at.
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: Arduino Starter Kit for a newb - is it a good idea?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2017, 03:28:10 pm »
You can't even buy the Arduino UNO for the price of that kit:
https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11224

So, yes, it's a good deal.  Even if just for the parts...

It would be nice if there were tutorials for the IR decoder project and things like that and maybe there are.  Even so, most of them are poorly written so if you have questions, post them here or in one of the Arduino forums.
 

Offline RissViss

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Re: Arduino Starter Kit for a newb - is it a good idea?
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2017, 05:11:44 pm »
Hello

Just got this Arduino kit in from this company.
https://www.amazon.ca/Elegoo-Project-Complete-Starter-Tutorial/dp/B01M9CHF1J/ref=pd_cp_147_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=M0HH61SBQYRMCPJ7W69H
The kit comes with a CD with software and projects.
Everything in the kit is very well packaged.
There was more in the kit then what is listed on Amazon, things like the resisters are not listed.
You can go to there website and download the latest projects.
Even if you do not purchase this kit you can go to Elegoo and download there projects and software.
Nice kit with the fast shipping and backing of a company for software, I was impressed when I opened the box and felt that I got my moneys worth.

They have other kits that are less expensive.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Elegoo+UNO+R3+Project+Complete+Starter+Kit+with+Tutorial+for+Arduino+UNO+%2863+Items%29+%282016+Updated+Version%29+
Found this list on Amazon UK

Have fun with Arduino.
 
 

Offline kosine

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Re: Arduino Starter Kit for a newb - is it a good idea?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2017, 06:07:53 pm »
Your flag puts you in the UK, so maybe go visit your closest hackspace: http://www.hackspace.org.uk/

A lot of them run Arduino workshops.
 

Offline Rick Law

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Re: Arduino Starter Kit for a newb - is it a good idea?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2017, 06:11:03 pm »
The first two have Arduino clones with SMD ATmega328P chips - make a mistake with the wiring and you could easily blow the chip and would have to replace the whole Arduino.

The third  kit has an Arduino (probably a clone) with a socketed DIP ATmega328P.  You can buy replacement chips preloaded with the Arduino bootloader and replace it if it blows.  If you plan ahead so you have a working Arduino available you can also buy the more readily available blank ATmega328P chips and use the ArduinoISP sketch to load them with the Arduino bootloader.   You can also transfer the chip to your own projects after testing with an Arduino/breadboard hookup - as long as you have a replacement  with a bootloader to make the Arduino usable again.  Also, with the chip removed, the Arduino will act as a USB <=> 5V logic level serial port adapter.   The breadboard protoshield is also nice to have - for small projects its far more compact to sit everything directly on top o the Arduino, and the extra space is also useful if you've filled up the seperate breadboard.  Also its battery pack is going to be far far cheaper to run than the kits with a PP3 clip, as it uses AAs which are the cheapest small batteries (in cost per Joule terms) available - Poundland usually stocks 6 Kodack brand AA Alkalines for £1.

OTOH the first two kits have more sensors, and the second kit has a handy box.

None of them have what I would regard as a good selection of parts for general experimentation.  A selection of E12 resistors, capacitors, transistors (including some 2N7000 MOSFETs), diodes etc. and a couple of rail-to-rail OPAAMPs and CMOS 555 timers  would be a worthwhile addition, as would some logic chips e.g 74HC595 (8 bit SIPO shift register) as a SPI  output expander and 74HC165 (8 bit PISO shift register) as a SPI input expander for the Arduino.  You'll also need basic hand tools - miniature pliers and sidecutters, small flat bladed screwdriver for screw terminals, presets and levering chips out of breadboards, and a multimeter.

More breadboard space is also good - as soon as you are sure your interest in electronics and Arduinos isn't just transient, a three panel breadboard on a baseplate with binding posts for hooking up multimeters or bench PSUs is a worthwhiloe investment.

You can bet the tutorials supplied (if any) with any of the kits are going to be crap.  If you get stuck, ask, as there's probably a better one someone can point you at.

+1 with everything Ian.M said.

Plus, the price is not bad.  Some of those items may be fun after you gained some experience.  However, most of them would be rather difficult get going for someone starting.

To start, the LEDs, resistors, would be rather useful.  Next step is to get the 1602 (16x2) LCD going.  The other items such as the small motor, the potentiometer, the jumpers, the breadboards, the tac switches, and a perhaps a few other small items could follow as you get more experienced.

By the way, do expect to blow some of the items due to mistakes while learning.
 

Online Ian.M

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Re: Arduino Starter Kit for a newb - is it a good idea?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2017, 08:22:30 pm »
I'd also invest in an I2C backpack for the LCD. e.g. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/IIC-I2C-TWI-LCD-1602-2004-PCF8574T-Board-Module-Port-Serial-Interface-Arduino-/132021758260 - Its always useful to be able to free up Arduino pins and the number of wires required for HD44780 4 bit mode is a PITA unless you get a LCD shield.

Another thing you need is a couple of meters of Ethernet cable - the solid core stuff for permanent installations, not stranded patchcord, that you can cut up for breadboard jumpers of exactly the length you need, colour coded by function.  Even better is 25 pair phone cable/comms riser cable - more colour combos to choose from.

Just make sure any cables you use are real copper, not copper plated steel or Aluminum.  Plated steel can be checked for with a strong magnet - in the middle of premade jumpers as the end pins may be plated steel, but to detect Aluminum you need to strip a length and do a flame test:


Its best to use premade jumpers to go from the Arduino to the breadboard because Cat5 wire is slightly too thin for a reliable connection at the Arduino end, but it saves a *LOT* of mess on the breadboard to use neatly cut to length preshaped rigid jumper wire.

One thing I haven't mentioned is a baseboard - its a heck of a lot easier if you've got one of the plastic base clips that genuine Arduino UNOs come with  screwed down to a small sheet of 1/4" ply next to the breadboard.  Leave space for attaching displays and controls - either on brackets bent up out of sheet Aluminum, screwed directly down with a long cheese head woodscrew through an unthreaded plastic standoff pillar or worst case if there's no mounting holes, stuck down with 3M VHB double sided foam tape. 
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Arduino Starter Kit for a newb - is it a good idea?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2017, 10:57:47 pm »
I wouldn't worry about blowing the chip. Arduino clones from China are available for about the price of the bare AVR, sometimes even less. I don't even know how they get them so cheap, I have some of the nano ones I got for under $2 shipped.
 

Online Ian.M

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Re: Arduino Starter Kit for a newb - is it a good idea?
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2017, 04:54:45 am »
Then you have to wait for the slow boat from China if you have an unlucky moment's lapse of concentration.   Personally, I'd rather pay a little extra up front and have spares for stuff I'm breadboarding with.  If its under two bucks, I'll probably buy two or three, then a single spare up to five bucks and above that I have to start being really careful.

Of course you are welcome to ignore this advice, and it may even be good for your soul as an exercise in dealing with frustration waiting for parts and chasing around parcel depots if you missed the delivery.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Arduino Starter Kit for a newb - is it a good idea?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2017, 08:19:47 pm »
So buy a handful of them right off the bat, then you've got spares in case you blow something up or want to integrate one into a project. It's really not a big deal.
 

Offline Rick Law

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Re: Arduino Starter Kit for a newb - is it a good idea?
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2017, 05:26:27 am »
...
By the way, do expect to blow some of the items due to mistakes while learning.


So buy a handful of them right off the bat, then you've got spares in case you blow something up or want to integrate one into a project. It's really not a big deal.

Agree that it is not a big deal for one with some experience.  Speaking as a relatively inexperience guy, a new guy needs to be "better prepared" that stuff do blow.  When I was even more inexperience than now, I was unprepared to deal with it.

I have the habit of buying (low cost stuff) in pairs.  But when I first got into it, I was not sure I want to do it so I got only one (UNO R3).  I actually blew my first MCU.  While I could order a bare MCU, I had nothing to burn the Arduino boot loader on it.  That minor thing caused me a couple of months to get back on track.

If you can afford it, buying in pair is not a bad thing.  You can always compare results to determine what is wrong.

Now I have spare MCUs, and a dedicated NANO to do ISP.  I also have a bunch of NANOs on hand, etc. etc. etc.  Now the same problem would not cause me more than an hour.
 
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