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Is this a good starter kit ?

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New Member
Well I've been studying electronics for about the past year and have decided it is about time I started putting my knowledge to use by building circuits rather than just simulating them.

I've been looking around at various UK based electronics suppliers and come up with a list of components and tools, I already have a multimeter and a few other odd components I've salvaged from old equipment.

I want to build a wide variety of projects, both AC and DC powered so I was wondering if this is all the stuff I need, I don't have a lot of money to spend so I am limited to about £80.


New Member
One thing I wouldn't shortchange myself on is a good quality soldering station. If you had to put a little more money back (or ask Ole Saint Nick), it would be worth it in the long run.

You might save some money on components by investing in a good iron and a "solder sucker" (vacuum plunger). A couple of visits to garage sales and flea markets or some dumpster diving can turn up a gold mine of working components (old VCRs, clock radios, cassette players, computer monitors and power supplies, etc). All you need is the time to desolder, sort, and identify them. If you are inexperienced at soldering, DEsoldering several boards is good practice and with little money invested in your scrap boards, your mistakes and overheated parts are no loss.

One idea for obtaining parts might be to go to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army and offer to dispose of any nonworking electronics that might be donated to them. They may ask a small donation in exchange or they may be happy to just give you non-working items they consider junk, as long as you are prompt about picking them up.

Believe me, for your 80 pounds of expenditure on a good soldering station and a little time and effort, you will net 100 x's as many useful components for experimenting with, you'll gain valuable experience in part identification, and you'll have the satisfaction of having sort of recycled a lot of otherwise landfill material. Also, if you are resourceful and find a lot of older equipment, circa 80's, 90's, you'll find plenty of through-hole components that are difficult to find or no longer manufactured but are still useful for home experimenters.

I don't sort junk myself, but in my work I discard many junk circuit boards and from time to time I rescue good parts for my electronics tackle box.


I don't know about getting a better soldering station right off the bat if your budget is limited to that. I think just one of the radio shack ones would work just fine especially for desoldering, though the dumpster diving idea is great, thats how I got most of my electrolytic caps that I have (I have a lot) and a bunch of other just random switches, resistors, and other odds and ends. Another thing I would do is buy a resistor assortment pack I know I got one from RS one time that was about $15 and had about 200 resistors of almost every size, I haven't had to go buy specific resistors since I did that and its pretty cheap to do that. Another thing I think I might do is not buy those rectifiers and instead buy an assortment of diodes again I think radioshack has an assorted pack thats pretty good. The IC's on the list look pretty good, maybe some LED's to play around with. Also maybe a transformer to play around with, maybe build your own work bench power supply as a project.

Heres some stuff to consider:
The Electronics Goldmine they have grab bags of parts, you might look at a capacitor grab bag or regulator package or diode package.
Radio Shack here's a link to the packages of like 500 resistors and capacitor packs I was talking about.

Hope that helps and good luck


Well-Known Member
i am a newbie myself and just starting out collecting tools and bits. i started by buying a cheap maplin soldering iron and i have to admit its been a big mistake!! so now i am saving up for a half decent one. i have found that once you start looking you will be amazed the sort of stuff u can salvage and the vast amount of components you can salvage from broken equipment people throw away :D.
so i guess my vote goes too a decent soldering iron as a priority. ebay is fairly good for that sort of thing if u wait for a good one to come up


I'd go along with the 'decent' soldering iron idea.
Also, before you decide to buy all the parts you listed, have a look on eBay, there are many 'starter' packs on there.
You can also get some 60/40 solder a lot cheaper than the Maplin £7.99 lead free rubbish.
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