Thursday, March 18, 2010

Components Pack 1

So, I got my hands on the Make: Electronics Components Pack 1. In my best Vader voice - "Impressive."

First off, the case - hands down, this is one of the nicest storage containers I've ever seen. I've asked MakerSHED to consider selling these individually - they're that nice. (If you agree, add your voice to mine and email MakerSHED and ask them to put them up for sale.)

The pack comes with an inventory sheet, complete with labels for the individual bins and what you'll find inside them. As you can see, this thing is packed - over 350 pieces. I really do NOT want to add up the cost of all the items I purchased that are found in this kit - for $99.00, I'm sure it'll make me cry a bit. Big man-sized tears. If you are serious about following through the book and performing the experiments for Chapters 1 and 2, you'll save a bundle by buying this pre-loaded components pack.

The bottom portion of the case holds many of the larger items - spools of wire, breadboard, AC adapter, and more. The kit even comes with pre-trimmed patch wire - with heavy 22 or 20 gauge end tips exposed. I wish I'd had these when I started! You also get a whole bunch of patch cables (with gator clips on end) - way more than I purchased initially. It looks like the team at MakerSHED really put some thought into what to include that would make the reader's experiences better.

The top portion of the case contains all the smaller bits and pieces -resistors, potentiometers, capacitors, and more. There's even an X-acto knife for trimming away the walls of the spare relay - YES, they included a spare relay just as Chapter 2, Experiment 7 requires!

You've got fuses, batteries, battery holders, those crazy-difficult-hard-to-find 6027 programmable unijunction transistors, and a whole slew of LEDs.

(And for those who pre-ordered, they've thrown in some extras that you'll enjoy... )

The first thing I thought of when I inventoried my kit was how easy this is going to be for me, as a parent, to introduce my son to electronics one day... (if he's interested). Then I realized that, if I were a teacher, this would be something to recommend to those students (and their parents) who show an interest in electronics. Finally, I realized how easy MakerSHED has made it to organize classes around this material - we've got the book and now the components kits - I have a feeling we'll be hearing about "Make: Electronics" classes popping up soon.

If you've ordered the kit, let us know your own thoughts on the pack. And when I get my hands on Pack 2, I'll be sure to let you know my initial thoughts as well...


  1. Looks great James! I'm waiting for my sample.

  2. Just looking at the construction techniques of the compartments I'd bet the container is manufactured by Akro-Mils. although ironically you can find better pics on

  3. I was able to find just about every component for each chapter for 140 bucks and I only used 3 online stores(mouser,newark, and allelectronics). The only thing I could not find was a magnetic switch. If anyone would like to see my list, let me know and ill post them. The kits from MAKE are very nice and convenient, but I think everything could be had for less.

  4. I should have noted above that the $140 was just for the components and not tools. The only components that I already had were the resistors, LEDS, and a few capacitors.

  5. Weezytech, are you saying you got all the components for all 5 chapters for $140 or just the first 2 chapters that Pack 1 covers?

    While the resistors aren't that expensive, I've found that buying LEDs and capacitors in small quantities does add up...

    As I mentioned, this case also comes with a breadboard (typically between $15 and $30 based on the model provided) and the AC Adapter I purchased was somewhere between $20 and $30 if I remember correctly (need to go back and check).

    I'm not arguing that someone couldn't find and order all the components needed for Chapters 1 and 2 for under $100... I'm just saying they'd have to do some digging and pay some extra shipping because it'd be unlikely to get from a single source.

    I wish when I'd started this project that this kit was available because I would have gladly paid $100 for all the stuff needed for Chapters 1 and 2.

    Where are you in the book, by the way? I hope you're having success with the experiments!


  6. JFK,

    I am still waiting on my last order to arrive and Then I will start the book.Do you now where i could find the power supply the cheapest and where did you buy your magnetic switch?


  7. I bought the magnetic switches at ACK Supply for $1.00 each (2 pieces to a set)... I got the Adapter at Radio Shack.

  8. Pretty much everything in the book is findable either through,, eBay, or Google Shopping. Magnetic switches, for instance--type this as a search term on eBay and you get dozens of hits.

    As for the Maker Shed parts kit, I did the math and indeed you can buy the components individually for less. But the whole point of the parts kit is to save you the trouble of buying things one by one. Personally I don't mind at all, typing part numbers into the search field at; I do it all the time. But YMMV, and some people really find it a major hassle.

  9. As a complete noob, I started out trying to piece together an order at Mouser, and had lots of trouble finding exactly what I was looking for in the online catalog (it's lots more like an online version of a 1,000-page printed catalog some guy in the back of the auto parts store would use to restock his storeroom than, say, I'm sure I would have saved a little, but I really wasn't sure I was filling my cart with EXACTLY what I needed. So, I switched to Radio Shack, which had a much easier UI, but the cost began to add up -- by the time I was up to 2/3 of the items I needed for Chapters 1 and 2, I was already up to $85. Plus, none of the online sources I was using had everything, meaning I'd have to pay shipping from at least two companies.

    At that point, it just seemed to make more sense to go ahead and order the Maker Shed kit -- it's certainly cheaper than Radio Shack, probably only a little (maybe 1/3?) more than Mouser, etc., and you'll get EXACTLY what you need for the projects and not have to make supplemental trips to Radio Shack. Plus, there's lots of neat extras, like the spiffy case (of course), an X-acto knife, a three-color LED, two photoresistors, a deluxe breadboard (with screw terminals) and a patch cable kit -- why the heck not? So, mine is on order and I'm looking forward to its arrival.

    The edition of the book I have, in its 'Chapter 1' shopping list, says you need a two-battery holder (in addition to one- and four-battery holders). Just to clarify, you won't actually use it in Chapter 1, but you will in Chapter 2, experiment 6. The Maker Shed kit's online catalog description only mentions the one- and four-battery holders. James, it looks like your kit contained a two-battery holder, also (pic 719, lower left bin). I'll assume this will be part of my kit, as well, and will post if otherwise. (Even if it doesn't, not a big deal; it's a couple of bucks from Radio Shack.)

  10. The other thing to point out is that I was a little flummoxed at first that the $100 kit only covered the first two chapters of the book. But you have to consider that the book is only five chapters long, and the first two chapters cover almost 100 pages, so you're essentially getting materials for the first third the book. Plus, the more expensive components (breadboard, power supply), along with the cheap ones (patch cords, alligator clips, etc.) may be used later in the book as well.

  11. Hey, Scott... you've encountered my experience when I got the book - you can order everything online but it does get confusing... or you can go to RS and pay a lot more but probably end up with the right parts, especially if someone helps you identify those parts you're not sure of...

    Glad you're enjoying the book - I'm hoping to get started back on it this week now that things have returned to normal (visitors/family gone home) after our new baby arrived.

  12. Hello Everyone, I got the book and will be doing the projects with my daughter. After reading the blog it looks like the thing to do is order the kit. I started getting the list together and ran into some problems. The question I have does the kit come with the multimeter? I don't see it mentioned anywhere.

  13. Hi Phil:

    The components kit does not come with a multimeter. MakerShed sells a separate tool kit that includes one, though, or you could buy one at Radio Shack.

    The kit really is the easiest way to get all the parts for the first chunk of the book, and is definitely cheaper than Radio Shack. If you bought all the parts via mail-order, you'd have to use several different sources and most of your savings would be eaten up in shipping; plus, you'd have to worry you aren't getting EXACTLY the right thing (and it matters with some of these projects). I bought the kit for me and my son and it's the perfect complement to the book.

    Good luck!

  14. The kit isn't in stock and hasn't been for a long time from what the reviews have said.

    As a newbie to electronics, it is very hard figuring out what exactly I need because the search (mouser, rapid electronics, etc.) comes up with either 100's of items or nothing.

    Can someone post their parts list?

  15. Wow... I didn't realize the kit was out of stock. I think there's a complete listing of the components found in the kit here -->

    Scroll down the page - the complete list is below.

  16. That is the list I am using.

    For example, I put "Electrolytic 22uF" in Mouser search and get this:

    Passive Components
    • Aluminium Electrolytic Capacitors (1644)
    • Aluminium Organic Polymer Capacitors (9)
    • Tantalum Capacitors (22)

    1675 hits is a bit overwhelming for this newbie :(

  17. Lew,

    Go to - scroll down the left side of screen, click Capacitors. On the page that comes up, along the top of the screen, click Electrolytic. Next, search for 22uF and I think you'll find it easier. Along with the 22uF listings, you'll also find the max voltage they can handle. For this book, 12V is the max you're likely to ever deal with, so buy one that's rated for 50V and you'll be fine.

    Just an FYI - following the steps above at - pulled up 5 pages, but they're easy to read, with a picture, too.

    Tip: I like Radial because they fit better in the breadboard... IMO.

  18. Oops... not 5 pages, pulled up 5 products.

  19. Man - sorry to hear they're out-of-stock! Have you written Maker SHED to see if they're gonna have more?

    (As a precaution, I went ahead and ordered Kit 2 ...)

  20. Hi all. I just started reading and doing the experiments last week, I'm up to ex #8 and I'm on hold until I can get a breadboard. While I haven't sat down and added it all up yet, I'm sure I'm way over $200.00 in components and tools so far. Though to be honest a good size chunk of that was for a new multimeter. I'm a tool nut anyway so I splurged for a decent entry level B&K Precision 2704c and I'm not regretting that purchase at all. I saw the Maker shed components pack 1 online when I first started and I was going to order it, but like others have said it was out of stock so I had to source my own components. The part numbers supplied in the book were a tremendous help (Thanks Charles!), especially at Mouser. Their system is geared more towards those who know EXACTLY what they are looking for and can be a nightmare for a newbie. However with the part numbers I was able to muddle through.

    Also for those who are interested, the Components Pack 1 kit is available now for pre-order. The Makershed says it should be shipping by November 1st. I won't be buying it now since I already have just about everything required to finish Chapter 2.

    Also those who are looking for the case that Components Pack 1 and 2 come in, I found that exact case on Amazon. Search for Plano 5231 and it should come up. Very nice case for around 12 bucks. Got mine yesterday and you can cram quite a bit of stuff in it. I really like it and will probably order a couple more just to try and force a little order on the rest of the chaos in my workshop! Lol.

    Wishing everyone solid connections,

  21. Thanks for the information, Marty. I really like the cases that Pack 1 and 2 come in, and $12 is a great price (I think). I'd like to order a few myself.

    I'm with you - I went in and purchased a lot of components and tools that I intend to use for years to come, so although I paid a bit more, I tend to use my tools for a long time and they'll earn back their expense I hope.

  22. I found a no-frills pack for Make experiments 1-11 on eBay for even less (£42.50) with shipping.
    Search for the seller: electronictutorialcomponents

  23. I've had terrible experiences trying to learn analog before. So, I'm trying again with this book and kit (both 2nd Edition from MakerShed), moving at a snail's pace.

    And I have a question: Mr. Platt says (on p. 6 and p. 319) I need "generic LEDs" and "low current LEDs". The kit contains 10 "5mm high-brightness red diffused LEDs" and 1 "5mm low-brightness red diffused LED". Radio Shack had "3mm low-intensity LEDs" with a "forward current" of 25mA which is greater than the author's generic LEDs (20mA) and FAR greater tjan his low-current (3.5mA).

    I'm guessing the 10 LEDs in the kit are "generic" and the single LED "low-current". Can anyone confirm?

    1. Kevin, yes you are correct. The "low-brightness" LED is supposed to be the low-current LED, but unfortunatly Make's kit did not properly list it so it is not easy to verify the exact forward current of the LED the supply without measuring it. You should be able to check the current by using your multimeter wired inline with the led circuit by setting it to read current in milliamps. I can verify the LED in the Make: Electronics 2nd edition component pack made by ProTechTrader at is properly labeled "Low Current LED" and has a forward current of 2.5ma. I hope that helps!