There are many types of component that are important when building circuits such as LEDs, capacitors and transistors. All of these components are available at RadioShack or other stores and they are key components for a beginner.
- 555 Timer - A type of IC (Integrated Circuit) used to provide time delays, as an oscillator or a flip-flop element. The 555 timer is cheap and easy to use so is ideal for small projects.
555 Timer @ RadioShack
- Batteries - Devices used for storing chemical energy for transformation into the electrical energy that powers the circuit. They feature a positively charged terminal (anode) and a negatively charged terminal (cathode).
Batteries @ RadioShack
- Capacitors - A component used to store energy in an electric field. They come as electrolytic and ceramic variants and in many different sizes. The unit for capacitance is the Farad and capacitors also come rated with voltage.
Sunrise Alarm Clock
Capacitors @ RadioShack
- LEDs - (Light-Emitting Diode) A semiconductor light source. Electrons combine within the LED releasing energy in the form of photons (ie. light)
LEDs @ RadioShack
- Resistors - Implements electrical resistance as a circuit element. These are usually used with LEDs. There are fixed and variable types that can be affected by factors such as temperature and light.
Resistors @ RadioShack
I found this useful when making large LED arrays for determining which resistors I needed:
- Voltage Regulator - An electrical regulator designed to automatically maintain a constant voltage throughout a circuit. A specific type of transistor.
USB iPhone Charger
5V Voltage Regulator @ RadioShack
- Wire - Metal strands used to carry electrical current.
Wire @ RadioShack
- Switch - Able to break electrical circuit.
Switches @ RadioShack
- Transistor - A semiconductor used to amplify and switch electronic signals. They are often found in integrated circuits.
Transistors @ RadioShack