What are the most used electronic components?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by trekkiejonny, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. trekkiejonny

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 26, 2013
    I have recently been getting more and more into hobby electronics. I believe that I would one day like to make a career out of this. There is an electronics surplus store that I get components from but unfortunately it is a 2 hour drive away. At this place the components are very cheap, like pennies for 10, and there are just so many shelves full of trays with what looks like everything I could ever want.

    My questions is, what components are the most used? What should I stock up on?

    What ranges of Capacitors, Resistors, Diodes, and Inductors would I be using the most starting out in electronics?

    Are there any other components I should get while am at it? ICs, Transistors, Relays, Motors, etc? I want to get into Radio and Robotics once I get a grasp on the basics.

    Thanks for any and all help
  2. TheComet


    Mar 11, 2013
    When I started off with the basics, I used the following components more than anything else. I suggest stocking up on at least 50 of each. Even later on when you go to more advanced things, you still occasionally need these.

    I've ordered the list into a chronological order of how I learned electronics.

    • Resistor basics
      • 220E, 330E, 470E, 1K, 2.2K, 3.3K, 4.7K, 6.8K, 10K, 22K, 33K, 100K, 1M
    • Transistors, flip-flops, etc.
      • BC547C (NPN transistor)
      • BC557C (PNP transistor)
      • Capacitors 10n, 22n, 47n, 100n, 220n, 470n, 1u, 2.2u, 4.7u, 10u, 100u
      • Diodes 4148, 4007
      • 5mm, 20mA LEDs
      • LM555 (timer IC)
    • Operational Amplifiers
      • LM324 (IC)
    • Power management basics
      • LM7805 (IC)
      • LM7905 (IC)
      • LM311 (IC)
      • Zener Diodes, find some that have 3.3V, 4.7V, 6.2V
    • Digital basics
      • 74HC00 (NAND gate)
      • 74HC02 (NOR gate)
      • 74HC04 (NOT gate)
      • 74HC08 (AND gate)
      • 74HC14 (INVERTING SCHMITT Trigger)

    I think that should suffice for the basics of electronics. I can't really think of anything else without getting too advanced.

    The 74HC series are great digital ICs for prototyping and just playing around. You will end up learning more about flip flops, counters, decoders, multiplexers, etc. so here's a complete list of them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_7400_series_integrated_circuits

    trekkiejonny likes this.
  3. square wave

    New Member

    Apr 25, 2013
    A good option for stocking up on the basics would be buying kits. Here's some examples from Amazon:

    Resistor Kit
    Capacitor Kit
    Diode Kit

    (these are just suggestions, I promise I'm not an adbot :) )
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  4. patricktoday


    Feb 12, 2013
    Another trick you can do if you a penny pincher like me is go online and look up a bunch of circuits that interest you. Write down the values of all the capacitors and inductors and write down the part numbers of the ICs used. Then you can do a count of the component values used and get an idea of what to buy. For resistors you really should get an assortment of ALL common values and perhaps do the same thing for ceramic caps. Get a lot of male-male and female-female jumper wires to hook things together.

    And this is an overly simplistic statement but BJTs generally fall into categories of how much current and power they can handle and whether they're geared towards analog or high speed switching applications. A couple types of general purpose BJTs of both polarities and a few power transistors can go a long way; you don't need to buy every part number.

    EDIT: some different values of zener diodes can be useful too
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
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  5. Stuntman

    Active Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    I think it goes without saying, if you don't bring a "grocery list" of parts for a specific circuit (of some complexity), a grab bag of parts from the surplus store will always leave you short SOMETHING. So you end up with the go big or go home scenario.

    As previously mentioned, a kit of resistors is a must. 1/4W resistors are great for prototyping, cheap and plentiful. As for what values, well, obviously the first of each decade is a must (1, 10, 100, 1K, 10K...) As for the values in between, this is a great breakdown of the different series of resistor values: http://www.logwell.com/tech/components/resistor_values.html. Even going with an E6 variety would cost very little. Before you go hitting up the surplus store, look into the kits (including the kits on ebay). May be much easier in the long run. Historically, 5% 1/4W carbon film resistors were the prototyping staple, but I see more than more metal film resistor kits on ebay.

    Caps are good to have around. Ceramics in the .001uF to .1uF range are a go-to for me. Above that, some aluminum electrolytics are worth having in your stash (1, 4.7, 10, 47, 100uF). Aside from that, the truth is you will probably end up ordering what you need to fit your design.

    Seems the IC's have been covered previously, but again, often will end up ordering for your design.
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  6. #12


    Nov 30, 2010
    For hobby, small watt 5% resistors (1/4W or 1/2W), capacitors in ceramic and aluminum, TO-92 bjt transistors in N type and P type (30 -40V range), a couple (each) of TO-220 transistors in PNP, NPN, N-mosfet, and P-mosfet, a few op-amps, comparators, and 555 timers, some LEDs of any color but must include red for the lowest required voltage to drive them, maybe a few voltage regulators like 7805, 7905, 7812, 7912, or some 317 regulators and whatever is the negative voltage version of a 317 (LM337), some 1/2 watt zener diodes in the 2.7V to 10V range...

    The other guys have pretty much given you the right answers, but you must decide on a vendor so you can order online.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
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  7. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    Not to be a spoil sport (as I love browsing in person thru cool stuff) but I get my parts delivered to my door using U.S. Postal Service First Class Mail for only $2.92, and it takes only 2 or 3 days.

    How much gas do you burn thru in these 2 hour (or 4 hour?) drives?
  8. trekkiejonny

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 26, 2013
    Some great replies thus far, my thanks. I have the makings of a good list to bring with me.

    I should also add that the store is closing and its having a 20-80% off liquidation sale. Found this out after writing my initial post. Seems like the gods wish me to be an engineer :D, either that or random chance is on my side for a change. Will be going up Tomorrow and again a few days after.
  9. bertus


    Apr 5, 2008
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  10. Stuntman

    Active Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    Failed to mention, be sure you have a supply of a breadboard or four, switches, some potentiometers (1K, 10K, and 100K) that easily accessed leads, LED's, and 22AWG solid wire for breadboarding and hookups.
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  11. trekkiejonny

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 26, 2013
    Thank you very much for all the great replies, got just about everything listed except for the mosfets, those where all gone when I got there. This is definitely the forum I will be sticking to for future questions, great help.