Electronic components: the bare essentials and useful components to buy

Now that an Arduino Mega is on it's way from China and some sensors, it's time to look at what electronic components are useful. Of course I could, for example, buy every ceramic capacitor that exists, but that would be a waste of money.

So what are commonly used components when using the Arduino? I'm talking about pull up resistors, capacitors for debouncing and other handy/necessary components.


I did search for answers, but (as usual) the internet is full of non-information so it's getting rather frustrating. I'm not asking for a tutorial on how to, I just want to have a stash of components so that I don't have to put my project on hold because I'm missing a 1 eurocent part.




**I am hoping to get some kids interested in **

hobby robotics, embedded programming, etc. For $25 I bought F-F cables, a variety pack of resistors and capacitors, 5 breadboads, tact switches, small pots, and 5 74hc595 shift registers from various sellers on eBay. When I can actually log in again, I will post the links here. I may have missed a number of useful bits. I think I also ordered some 2n2222 transistors. I have some, if I didn’t. I also have a handful of LEDs.

I bought 5 Pro Mini clones and 5 cp2102 usb to ttl converters earlier for about $30.

What I want to do is a good

What I want to do is a good question. At first I want to blink a LED, that seems to be mandatory when beginning with MCs. So I’ll need at least one capacitor, I don’t believe in software debouncing. When I have fully mastered that skill, I want to try to make a robot that at least has some sense of it’s environment. So I’ll use a compass and at least one ultrasonic sensor mounted on top of a servo. Wheels will be driven by a H - bridge.

I did make some H - bridges years ago, but those need to be controlled by two transistors so I might as well buy a motor driver designed for the Arduino for the sake of simplicity. I don’t want to spend much (if any) time on building hardware. Voltage regulators etc. are too cheap to even bother building one and I lack quite a bit of knowledge about electronics. If for example have no clue what a shift register does, so I probably don’t need one.

In case of the hardware debouncing I can look up which capacitor I need so that’s no problem, but I have no clue what I will encounter. I for example have a lathe in the attic and I know what stock I often use and what tools I use the most so I put those in the holders of my quick change toolpost. I assume you robot builders have the same. I can envision that you have all kinds of little drawers full of components and some of those drawers have to be refilled often while the other drawers are stashed away full of cobwebs.

I want to know what’s in the drawers which has to be refilled constantly.

Core parts suggestion

As far as ceramic capacitors go the only value I would buy would be 0.1 uf for decoupling ic’s. All other values I’d go electrolytic. get at least 1, 10 and 100 uf in those.

Birdmun suggested 2n2222 transistors if you can’t find those then 2n3904 and 2n3906 are good ones to have get a few of both. One is pnp and one is npn type.

get a couple of 1k and 10k pots. get a breadboard and some male-male jumper wires.led’s are great cause their pretty but also useful for debugging get some red  and greens at least.

Max pretty well covered the resistor values that are used most except I’d add 1k in there as well.

Get some perfboards and header pins and sockets also if you want to make some proto boards as well.

And if you don’t already own one, definately get a multimeter, any digital multi is better than no multimeter at all.

The list could go on and on, as often you buy one part and then it leads to needing another. Like for example the header pins and sockets for instance you will probably find you want female-female and male-female jumper wires as well to go between them.


Thank you

That’s very useful information. I already bought, together with the Mega, two breadboards, M-m, M-f and F-f cables and a voltage regulator. I already own multimeters and two chargers. One computer charger for individual NiMH batteries and an old Delta peak, pulse charger for NiCd battery packs from my RC racing days.Not sure if NiMH batteries will survive that charger, but I can try it first with a low amperage setting on some old batteries.

You all did suggest different types of transistors, but I assume those are not critical as long as I have a few NPNs and PNPs. I like to keep it simple with not too many different types.

Now to find the components on Ebay and then we’ll wait for everything to arrive.