One of the most important things in almost anything we do is preparation, and this extends to to your work area and equipment.
When I was updating these articles that have been sitting on my local system for many years, I thought I would best update my hardware as well, and to avoid out of date information (wherever possible). I ordered my Raspberry PI 4 model B along with the recommended power supply, Noob’s on an SD Card, and a Micro HDMI to standard HDMI Cable. I ordered my updated Arduino unit (upgraded to a Mega 2560) which also arrived.
It should be noted that I mention a few companies that are local to me, and may not be suitable for you. They are for reference only, to give you an idea of the sort of company that you should be looking for locally.
I actually chose to order my updated RPI 4 locally. I could have saved a few dollars off Ebay or Bangood, but one local site caught my eye, a company called Core Electronics in Australia. What I liked was that it was a well laid out website, prices were within expected range, but the amount of additional information on their site https://core-electronics.com.au/tutorials, along with their forums, and also their recommendation of particular gear, gave it a real Maker’s feel to the site.
Especially if you are just starting, this is so important that there is some sort of back up support, or the ability to ask questions. I have seen people keen to get involved in electronics, but end up getting lost or frustrated, stuck on an issue, and lose interest altogether. This is where you need to be selective from where you purchase your parts. If you get everything off Ebay or Banggood, the level of support you will get will be almost nil (there are some exceptions). If you have all the knowledge, you need, then this will be fine.
Core Electronics does not just sell Raspberry Pi’s, but also Arduino’s, 3D Printers, Test Equipment, along with classes, again someone you can talk to work out what you need for your projects.
Now all me base systems had arrived, I realised that I was very low on Electronics components (or was vastly depleted). My old Cathode Ray Oscilloscope (CRO) was way past its use by date, and did not survive the move a couple of house moves ago. I found a couple of old sensors I used with my original Raspberry PI, but not sure what there operation status was, especially with a few with bent pins, so I decided, to save running out for the components I needed every time, that I would stock up again.
Some basic Components
As I reviewed the various recent tutorials for the Raspberry PI 4, I realised that depending on the project, I was going to need a basic collection of components. I quickly reviewed the types and quantities, at least for the basic projects and came up with this list (at least to get me started). I list them here in case you don’t want to buy in bulk and want to do a single run to your local store.
2 of each – 100 Ohm, 220 ohm, 470 Ohm, 680 ohm, 330 ohm, 4.7K, 1k, 2k, 2.2k, 10k
2 of each 1Uf, 0.1 uf, 220 uf, 47uf
2 of each 47pf
4 of each 1n4007
A handful of different colours
The list above was not exhaustive, and I decided to get these locally at Jaycar (www.jaycar.com.au), mainly for convenience and speed. Again another Electronics supplier that has put some time and effort into the Makers space. Besides, I used to work for them about 30+ years ago.
After a few weeks, I had a look at what was available from the Ebay / Amazon / Banggood, as I thought it was a good idea to build my stocks up again and came across the following item on Bangood. For $28AUD which was almost the cost of the handful of components that I got locally, and not much can go wrong with these parts.
It was a complete mixture of common values of Resistors, Capacitors, Transistors, LED’s, Diodes….way more than I need, but forms the basis of my parts box and saves me running out each time I need a component.
Sensors for the projects
The next purchase was some sensors for the projects. This little lot I purchased from Amazon for $40AUD. Of interest was the GPIO Expansion Board, but the other sensors were going to come in useful. There are many packaged kits like this from Ebay, Amazon, Bangood, and also your Maker style sites. However I was trying to keep in a budget, so even if a sensor failed or a part was broken, I was still ahead.
And indeed, a part was broken when it arrived. I wasn’t too worried, but it was a critical part for some of the projects being the ADC/DAC component to interface the analog devices to the Pi ( The Arduino can support supports analog inputs directly). I was pleasantly surprised when I emailed Freenove (the particular company behind this package) with pictures of the broken part, as they provide an email address when there are issues, and they immediately sent a replacement part which arrived well within 14 days.
Well that was enough to get me moving again….I do want an oscilloscope again which will come later as the budget permits.