Electronics > Beginners

From no parts to decent stockpile, best approach?

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Late to this party, but I just had to chime in: a small selection of inductors is good to have on hand, especially if you plan to roll your own regulated supplies or throw in an LC filter for something powered by a dirty wall wart. I have a set I got from "the usual scumbags" at eBay for under $10 and it came in handy a couple weeks ago. (Perspex droplet barrier due to COVID, couldn't hear customers clearly - electret mic, LM386, cheap tinny loudspeaker in a shopping box, dirty 12V supply. LC filter cleaned up the power supply noise.)

m k:
Around here buying has two routes, with or without shipping.
Local is with 15-20€ and China is without or minimal.
(one is compensating the other)

Last local order was few PIC chips when need is one but they are quite general purpose.
Last China order was few thousand discretes.
(China route is long)

I've been around since the eighties and seen integration and Moore's law in action.
Based on that I'd say that stocking something special is more a miss than a hit.
Ie. I'm quite sure I still have few tubes of DIL DRAMs and UV EPROMs.

I've also thrown away literally truck loads of stuff.
(maybe two)
Not missing much, maybe some power parts, like few bags of heatsinks.
It's always irritating when you need to buy them back.


Those cartboard boxes are very good, you can also get them as deep as is needed and so use the whole shelf.
Actually so good that you become so lazy that adding an occasional box in between makes you whine about the work load.
(and we only had a few dozen shelves)

Since vertical direction is usually free, something there would be nice.
How about a stackable oval carousel with curtain holder rails and hooks with bags.
Maybe then one could learn to keep part of the table empty.

Normal revolver cabinet in small scale would also be nice.
Until a shelf gets stuck and flips, and of course with loose parts instead of bagged ones.

A row of hanging packages could have a hole shaped like those hanging retail stuff.
So that in the middle position the bag is nicely in a row and then when sided its content is easily available.


--- Quote from: Frankenstein on September 12, 2020, 08:25:33 am ---Hi, yes I want a a small bag of PCB common components
And have to buy a million of each ... when you find out let me know I’ll keep looking and reciprocate
Many thanks !!

--- End quote ---
You don’t need to buy a million, just look for electronics parts kits or assortments.   It is better to buy the kits that have an itemized list of what you get.   You don’t want a random box of stuff sweep up from the pick and place machine. 

For somethings, resistors come to mind, it can be very worthwhile to buy in bulk.  However you need to know a bit about your interests and have a bit of experience under you help. For example if you are working with LEDs a lot buying biasing resistors in bulk might make sense.  If you are working a lot with integrated circuits buying bypass compactors in bulk might make sense.  It just saves time for future projects.  Another example here is LEDs which can be very handy to have on hand in a few colors. 

However for the most part I don’t see a lot of wisdom buying odd stuff just to have them on hand.   It wastes money and may never get used past the last project.  Further somethings like electrolytics can go bad on the shelf.  An example here might be a barometric pressure sensor, is it really likely you will have more than one project going is short succession for such a chip.   

I think the key is to get smart about what you really need starting out and don’t waste money on excessive parts purchases.  Here is an example of a kit that itemizes what you should get: https://www.amazon.com/Elenco-CK-1000-Basic-Electronic-Parts/dp/B0002HBQHC.  A little pricey and maybe not what you need.  Most importantly to me is the list of contained parts with out looking all over for it. 

Go to SparkFun and you can find other kits to get started with, some under $20 bucks.  These are just two suppliers there are far more to choose from. 

I am just going through this very process.

Right up front I made the decision I wanted a fair amount of parts on hand but I am very conscious it is very easy to get buried under a mountain of parts (and still not have what you want).

I also decided it was worth a few $$ to get the parts quickly and have a place where people have put honest reviews. As such I mainly went with Amazon, they have lots of assortments for very good prices and you can read the reviews for a feel what they are. I think some are knock offs none the less but they get the job done.

Many of these parts came in very similar plastic boxes with small compartments. I decided to buy additional extra boxes rather than stacks of component draws. I also consolidated where it made sense for example 1 put the 1 turn and 10 turn ports in the same little compartment of a single small box. Everything listed below fits in one small milk crate so is pretty wife friendly.

I was mainly looking at breadboarding so the selections reflect that. I will then build SDM via say JCLPCB but may need to rework some things. I am also mainly looking at 'fun' things to do with the tween kids thus microphones and speakers etc but some of the more 'misc' items may not be needed in most cases.

Here is what I started with:

Storage Boxes (actually match most 'kits')

Basics and Passives
Resistors (Best buy of the list)  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08BNDL6DS
Diodes https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Q5FZR7X
Zener Diodes https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BTWBXJ3
Inductors https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CKF43VF
Ceramic Caps https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084VMLSFQ
Electrolytic Caps https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B081PT78Y5
Poly Caps (prob not needed by most) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G43Z924
10 turn trimmer pots https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N3CJ1QJ
1 turn trimmer pots  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Z657PQW
Trimmer Caps https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06Y4MP4JM

Active / IC / Transistors
BJT Transistors https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TV9FFFQ
MOSFET Transistors https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B082J3F8HJ
74 Series IC https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08281B1YC
IC Assortment https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07V1PKDZS
Logic Level Converters https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XWVZHZJ

Misc Mechanicals etc
Bread Boards https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01EV6LJ7G/
Hookup wire for breadboard https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TX6BX47
Connectors / Crimper https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07ZHB4BBY
Mosfet heat sinks https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FY4RSM8
Misc heat sinks https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PMWGYPV
Foam for expensive IC storage https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071G74PGW
9V leads https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06X8YZJ64
Misc Battery packs https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BNMKNQX
Mini Speakers https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0177ABRQ6
Microphones https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N0VMN9P
8 segment display https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FDD4FRC

Component Kits (Provides things like breadboard wire, switches, leds, photo sensors, cables etc)
Elegoo breadboard kit https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01ERPEMAC
SMD Kit https://www.amazon.com/Component-Assortment-Capacitor-Transistor-Soldering/dp/B07GMRJC1Q

I also have a hand full of Pi and Arduino boards I will integrate with.

Even here is the heart of Silicon Valley good electronics supply shops are going the way of the Dodo.  But I do still have one good one left. If you are in the SF Bay area and need something check out.

Anchor Electronics https://anchor-electronics.com/

I still need to find something for crystals and NP0 caps for clock circuits but I will just grab them as needed from Anchor I think.
I also need some higher wattage resistors....

Umm, I see the mountain building...

Distinctly Average:
Some superb tips here. I am not new to electronics, but have taken a very long break. I got into electronics at a very young age getting my first mains shock at about 8. As a student I was repairing TVs, Videos, CB radios (you can date it from that a,one) etc to support myself. I also had other hobbies, photography, windsurfing, cycling as well as study all taking up my time. Later on, marriage and kids almost killed off electronics. Most of my stock I got rid of to make room for children’s stuff. I have tools left, and recently got hold of a decent digital scope and bench PSU. I’ve been dabbling with Arduino and making it do stuff with LED strips etc, and have just begun building some bass guitar pedals for a friend. As such I have really begun getting back into it. This thread has been very helpful in that. So many thanks for all those who have contributed.


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