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Welcome to our site! Electro Tech is an online community (with over 170,000 members) who enjoy talking about and building electronic circuits, projects and gadgets. To participate you need to register. Registration is free. Click here to register now.
I just bought (50) 5000MCD ultra bright white leds for under 20 bucks on Ebay. You can use them for flashlights and other projects where you would use incandesent bulbs, but won't drain the batteries as fast and they don't produce much if any heat.
As a guideline, search for sellers that have a high feedback rating. If you just want the kind that are for indicators, there are plenty of online sellers like allelectronics.com that I just looked at on advice from somebody else here.
I guess cheap is relative, I found the prices on ebay to be cheap enough to take a risk, and so far I'm happy. The guy I bought from ships from Hong Kong and I got them here in the States in just over a week.
As for EM, try Electronics Goldmine, I kinda lost the URL but search on google, they've got a 50 pack LED kit for $2.49, plus shipping, I think they're a US company, so in order to make it worth it, you'd probably have to buy like 5-10 bags.
As you are in the UK
If you import new stuff you must allow for import duty and VAT. There may also be a handling charge from the UK carrier.
The total charged could be in the region of 25% of the value of the goods imported, bear this in mind if you need #cheap suppliers#, Maplin could end up cheaper :!:
I believe gifts and second-hand stuff is exempt.
Could be worth a check with HM Customs?
In the UK, ebay is probably the best bet. I've been pleasantly surprised at the prices on there - could have picked up 50 red LEDs very cheaply a couple of weeks ago (50p I think they went for in the end).
I myself have recently obtained 60 EPROMS from a seller in the US for the equivalent of £15, including postage. They were all pulls from what I can make out but considering that new ones would have set me back £200 at least, it certainly wasn't a bad deal.
Also just picked up a new digital temperature controlled soldering iron from there.
Whenever I do have to buy parts from a UK supplier, I usually order them from ESR up around Newcastle. Ordered parts from them on Friday, arrived yesterday morning (Saturday) - www.esr.co.uk