Monday, January 11, 2010

Chapter 2 - Shopping List

So here I am at Chapter 2 and it's time to go shopping. I'm fortunate that here in Atlanta I have not only a large number of Radio Shack stores but also one very handy electronics supply store called Ack Electronics. I've managed to obtain all the components needed for the Chapter 2 exercises, but I think it's time to issue a warning that the components in this chapter do add up quickly (in price).

Fortunately, a lot of the items purchased for this chapter will roll over into later experiments/chapters, so the expenses I've encountered should spread out, too... some of the things (the breadboard, for example), can be used indefinitely, even when the book is done.

UPDATE: The unijunction transistor is NOT carried by Radio Shack - at least, they didn't have that part # in their computer and one of the salespeople (fairly knowledgeable) couldn't find anything compatible. ACK does carry them at $1.00 each, so I've got them holding on to 4 of them until I can swing by to pick up.

So, let me go down the list and tell you what I found, where I found it, and the prices I paid.

I'll go throught the list in order, starting on page 39, and give you my thoughts:

Power Supply - Radio Shack (RS) - $19.99 - in stock, plenty of them
Breadboard with screw terminals - RS - $19.99 - in stock, 2 or 3

Wire Strippers - already owned a pair of Kronus from RS - can't remember what I paid for them, but it was around $16.00

Hookup Wire - RS - different part # than the book lists - 278-1221 (not 1222) - $6.99
Patch Cords - RS - (278-001 part #) - $6.99

Pushbutton - RS - (275-1571 part #) - $2.99 (x1) - not very similiar to book but close
Pushbutton - RS - (275-1571 part #) - $2.99 (x1) - package of 2 - closest to ones in book

Pushbutton - ACK - (30-14414 PHI part #) - $1.60 each (x2) - closer in look to the book

Switches - ACK - (35-130-BU GC part #) - $4.75 each (x2)

Relays - ACK (K10P11D15 part #) - $9.25 each (x2) (the book says to avoid substitutions but these were the closest I could find that looked like the ones used in the book - these are clear)

Relays - RS - (275-0249 part #) - $5.49 each (x2) (these look like the ones in the book, too - got them because I wasn't sure if the ACK ones will work)

Potentiometer - RS - (271-211 part #) - $2.99 (x1) plenty of them in store

Transistors (15 per bag) - RS - (276-1617 part #) - $2.59 (x1) plenty of them

Capacitors (specific) - RS - (272-1032 part #) - 1000 microfarad - $1.59 (x1)

Capacitors (mixture) - RS - (272-0126, 272-0130, 272-135, 272-0802 (pack of 20)) - $1.49, $1.49, $1.49, $4.49)

Resistors - RS - leftovers from Chapter 1

Loudspeaker - RS - (273-092) - $2.79 (x1)

If I used the calculator correctly, it adds up to $121.04 plus tax. Ouch. But again, so many things on here are going to be used throughout the book (switches, breadboard, power supply, patch cords, etc) and after I'm done... so I'm just considering this an investment in my education.

I'd love to hear from my readers regarding their experiences with ordering parts online... I'm sure I could save a little money here and there by going online, but do keep in mind shipping costs - if you end up buying parts from 3 or 4 different suppliers, be sure the cost of shipping doesn't go over what it might cost to spend a few pennies or dollars more at a local store.

And, of course, there's the possibility that the team over at MakerSHED might be putting together a parts bundle (or bundles) that correspond to the specific experiments in the book. Only time will tell.

So, time to organize all this stuff and get to reading up on Experiment 1. I hope to have some pictures and feedback for you by tomorrow evening.


  1. First off, thanks for sharing this. I'm at about the same place as you except I need to do a bit more shopping. Looking forward to you surging ahead of me.

    One minor thing I found is that the model (#273-029) for the power supply in the book is discontinued. This one: replaces it. At least they didn't have it at my local RS.

    Thanks again!

  2. Oops - forgot the part # - the exact one I got at Radioshack is 273-316 - 1000mA and 3-12V DC

  3. I am having trouble finding the 2N6027 PUT (you dont appear to have it listed here either).

    This is something that is definitely needed to complete some of the projects yet to come.

  4. Argh - I glossed right over that one. Qty-4 of the 2N6027 programmable unijunction transistor.

    I'll place a few calls tomorrow and see if I can track them down... thanks for pointing this component out.

  5. If memory serves I came in about the same amount, probably a little more actually (I'm pretty lazy about this stuff). Combo of Radio Shack and Mouser is definetly cheaper, but a little trickier to navigate.

    I got my 2N6027 Transistor from Mouser:

    I just finished the experiment that calls for this transistor so I can confirm it works.

  6. Anyone know if the 2N6027 transistor is available at The Shack and, if so, the part #? I'll call tomorrow. I don't need it until Exercise 11 (I think) so I've got some time... no need to make a special trip for it just yet.

  7. Hi Jim, I decided to learn electronics as my new skill for 2010 and MAKE seemed to be a really easy book to get into. This blog seems to be the perfect companion for the book and I can see myself sticking around for the ride.

    Thanks for your shopping list, Im currently waiting on delivery of my components. I'm from the UK so I cant really shop at RadioShack, my only high street option is Maplins. As I'm not a big fan of Maplins high prices I opted for I got most of the kit (including some tools) for around £60.

    Thanks for the blog and keep up the learning :)


  8. Andrew,

    Thanks for the info on pricing in the UK - hopefully that will help some other experimenters.


  9. Mouser def has them.... I just can't see ordering 2 from there for $0.25 each and $1000 shipping.


    I just wish they were available at Radio Shack.

  10. Not sure where you're located, but give ACK a call... they'd probably ship to you.

  11. skydivingguy: If you skip ahead to the shopping list for the next chapter, you will find plenty of items that you won't be able to find at Radio Shack. I'd recommend buying a bunch of stuff at once from Mouser, DigiKey, or similiar to save on shipping.

  12. Ian: I live near You-Do-It Electronics (the most ultimate component store in the USA so I'll try them) in Boston.... I just skipped ahead in the projects figuring I wouldn't need the PUTs since ICs were coming up soon. :)

  13. Thanks for posting this information. I am planning on getting the Make: Electronics book as well and I was trying to determine how to go about stocking my electronics work area. The information and your write ups have been a pleasure to read.

  14. My RadioShack didn't have the Universal A/C Adapter in stock. I'm thinking about getting this one from Best Buy (I've got an unused gift card burning a hole in my wallet):

  15. Has anyone tried substituting an NPN and a PNP wired together for the 2N6027 PUT?

    (see here:

  16. I just tried experiment 11 with using the trick, and it seems to be working - the LED is blinking about once per second.

    All you have to do is take a PNP and an NPN transistor and connect the base of each to the collector of the other. Then the PNP's emitter takes the place of the PUJ's anode, the NPN's emitter acts as the cathode, and the PNP's base and the NPN's collector together act as the gate.

    I did it using a 2N2222 and a 2N3906, both from Radio Shack. I'll probably order the 2N6027 as soon as my shopping list is large enough to justify the shipping, but hopefully this will allow me to keep moving through the book in the meantime.

  17. Thanks for putting this list together. I bought the book and wasn't patient enough to order the Electronics Component Pack. I went to Radio Shack and bought the supplies for the first 5 experiments. I see now that it is worthwhile to spend the money on the component pack.

  18. you guys have apparently bought up all the 2n6027's in the US and thank you Sean for the mention of using 2 transistors to duplicate the things. Yay!

    I have bought most of the stuff for the experiments up to chapter 5 from a number of online sources. the 2n6027's are the only thing holding up progress here, so I'm going to try the trick as well. funny that electronics is like programming, there is more than one way to do a thing.

  19. West Florida Components has the 2n6027 in stock for $.30 each. Also the 2n2222 for $.45 - less than both Digikey and Mouser.

  20. One reason it might be hard to find the 2N6027 is that it's on the way out. I think it's replaced by the 2N6027RLRAG, which is a (I'm guessing here) a more environmentally friendly part. The Shack used to be a mecca for electronics enthusiast, but now it's reduced to one cabinet.

  21. For posterity, the Maker Shed components kit gets you everything for chapters 1 and 2 (except tools) for $100. You'll save some money and time and also get a nice compartmentalized storage case. See:

  22. i have all these parts and so much extra for sale.

  23. Did the relay worked as plan from Radio Shack 275-0249? The author in the book seems to be very adamant about this one electronic part...

  24. I ordered all the parts and supplies except for single cell battery holder and the universal AC adapter which Radio Shack didn't list anymore when I checked. I'll pick up the single cell battery holder from a nearby American Science and Surplus store nearby and I'll also pick up some AC adapters there for next to nothing. They have loads of them.

    But for less than the $30 I spent, I actually got more than what is listed in the book. For example, I go big assortments of electrolytic capacitors and LEDs. Oh! I didn't have to buy resistors because I have a big selection already. Also, I didn't need to buy any tools because I have them all already with the exception of the alligator clips, including two copper ones that are shown later in the book but those were part of the less than $30 I spent. Not having to buy the tools was a big savings for me.

    I ordered from three sources: Newark, Amazon and eBay. Shipping was free for the items I bought on eBay. And I didn't pay any taxes.

    So, the bottom line to me is that you can do much better by shopping online.

    By the way, I recently purchased the Radio Shack electronics lab and it is excellent and I'm going to use it for a lot of the experiments in the book discussed here. It comes with excellent books to but this one is much better because it tells you WHY things do what they do. The Mims books that come with the lab simply tell you to put together circuits but they don't explain why they work the way they do. I'm going to skip those books for now and start with the Make: Electronics book. It is written in a way that makes learning electronics much easier for me. I have several electronics text books and they are good but I really needed some plain English, hands-on material and the Make book is perfect for me.

  25. Hi, I tried the trick written by Sean....
    The circuit doesn't work :(
    I tested the circuit with my multimeter and i noticed i can read only a "blinking" current of 10/11 MICROampere...too low to light a LED.
    Do you have some advice?