Electronics for Beginners: Part 1: What You Need and What You Don't

When a person decides to enter the world of electronics design, they can easily buy too much or too little of the most essential and nonessential parts. So, this guide shows you what, where, and why to buy the right stuff for electronics.

1: tools
-a soldering iron,not soldering guns, are an essential to any devoted electronics hobbyist. You should spend no more than $8-10 on a good iron at the electronics goldmine: http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G6552 . And, if you use your iron a lot, like 5 or 6 projects a day, then first off, don't you have a job?, and second off, you will want replacement soldering tips. Also really cheap at the goldmine: http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G15644 . and, of course, you will need solder: http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G16713 .

-sidecutters, also known as dikes, are great for cutting leads. they give a much closer cut than scissors, to help prevent shorts.

2: parts and things
-capacitors are little towers of power. they store electricity in one spot, and one of my favorite things to do with them is to put one in parallel with an LED to make it fade when the circuit is turned off. what fun...

-resisors reduce current. so useful all over the place. you gotta use one with an LED when you hook it up to just about anything except for  a coin cell. such cool things!!!!1!!!

-switches are an essential. I don't need to explain it. good ones to get are spst, spdt, dpdt, and pushbutton.

-LEDs. duh.

-computer wire makes great jumper wire once it is tinned or twisted into a point.

-battery holders are the power supply to your projects. get the cheapest holders you can find- quality really doesn't change based on price.

-protoboard, also known as perfboard, is what you mount all that stuff on

-integrated circuits, spefically digital to analog converters as well as the 555 timer  are essential, as well as IC sockets for them, so that you can easily replace them in case one malfunctions.

-motors are, like LEDs, pretty self-explanitory, just not as essential.

-potentiometers are variable resistors, used in loads of audio projects, like the pwm for guitar .

-voltage regulators are an essential. the 2 most used are the 7805 and 7812 .

-you may also want to have a few USB ports , dip swithes , 7-segment displays , reed switches , and relays .



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    5 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I would say you also need a wire stripper not really necessary but comes in handy, and alligator clips are helpful for testing things when you are just starting out. Electronic Goldmine sells some nice stuff but if I was just starting out and didn't want spend a lot of money at first I'd go on Ebay no ten dollar minimum order and no shipping charges.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    This may be a silly question but i'm just starting out and am wondering can i scavenge most of these items from unwanted electronics. Old laptop, old toys etc?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I think the a multimeter is an important tool when doing electronic projects.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    you cannot buy a cheap soldering iron, i spent over 100$ over these that break anytime, and i have changed over 10 times the tip of these, now have a weller soldering iron and i had it for 3 months now, no need to replace it ever!

    a good quality soldering iron investment is always good if you want to save money on the long run..
    best advice for me!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Maybe add bread board? They are really useful, and are pretty cheap at radio shack.