#2 Getting Started With Electronics [The Most Essential Stuff]

essential electronics components

Getting started with electronics you need some basic gear. It is not that expensive to begin with, but it can snowball and be quite costly, depending on your aspirations.


In this post we’ll sum up the most essential stuff, and give a lille explanation to each. If it’s a totally new world to you, this is the place to start.


Let us know in the comments, if you’ve got any questions, or feedback.


Now let’s get on with it!



Overview of the Basic Gear

Components to Get You Started

To get into the world of electronics you will need some essential stuff. As with everything else, there’s a bare minimum of required gear to get started. 


Of course you have the possibility to go all in, but electronics gear ain’t cheap! 🙂


Here’s my recommendation of what you need to get started:


  • Multimeter – Very important!
  • Wires
  • Diodes
  • Resistors
  • Batteries + holder
  • Prototyping Board


With the above you can test and try things, to get a basic understanding.


If you want to have more possibilities from the get-go, consider opting for an electronics starter kit. 


It will give you hours of fun, playing around with displays, stepper motors and even a replica Arduino microcontroller + loads more. 


Further there will be some of the basic items mentioned above, so you really just need a multimeter and a starter kit. 


When you’ve acquired some stuff to get started it’s time to get into the most basic electronic circuits. 


If you want a little more information on the essential stuff we recommend, read on. 



The Multimeter

Your Best Friend Through Your Electronics Journey

Noone, and I mean that. Noone can get by without a decent multimeter by their side! It is the most essential piece of equipment you’ll own, but it doesn’t have to be expensive or anything. 


The best multimeter will be one that has the features you like, whether it be a foldable stand or backlit display. And surely it needs to fit your budget. 


You will also have to make sure that it’s able to measure the things you want to measure. For example, not all multimeters can measure capacitance. 


Power Sources

Your Circuits Need Energy To Function

There’s not much idea in wiring up a bunch of components, designed to work in a specific way, without applying some power to it. 


There are several different types of supply voltages, and you should be aware of these when tinkering with electronics. 


Mains Voltage

For starters there are the mains voltage which comes from the outlets in your house. 


Warning! Do not tinker with mains voltage if you don’t know what you’re doing!


Usually 110V or 230V AC, it can drive lethal current through your body. 


AC means Alternating Current, and to be honest you don’t need to know a lot about it at this stage. 


Power Source For Electronics Projects

Direct Current (DC) is the way to go. It is what comes out of batteries and USB cords from your computer or phone charger. 


Usually low voltage is used for circuits, and you don’t have to worry about touching it and getting shocked. 


Be cautious though. Generally, you won’t be able to get shocked by DC voltages below 60V DC. But extreme heat can come from shorts, and you can get severe burns.


Think things over an extra time if you’re working with a 12V car battery or a power supply which can supply significant Amperes.


Don’t worry when working with normal 1.5V and 9V household batteries.


Resistors Are Essential

There Are No Circuits Without Them

As the title says, you will never see a circuit without them. They work in many ways and can be found as variable (also known as potentiometers), and fixed versions. There are also versions known as power resistors, which will dissipate heat. 


It would be a good idea to get a bundle of the most common fixed value resistors and some potentiometers for your initial projects. 


Resistors can be used in several applications. In the next post we will cover exactly what.


LEDs Are Fun

They Emit Light and Can Be Used In Numerous Applications

There isn’t much fun in resistors (unless they blow up ;-)), so add some LEDs for color and to signal what you’re doing. A green LED for “ON” is always a good place to start.


Some people make awesome projects with LEDs like this sparkling snowflake. 




The Prototyping Board

Also Known As The Breadboard

You will love this. A board with load of holes in it, to connect components together when prototyping. 


It’s such a simple thing, but it will bring so much joy, and save you loads of time. 


Underneath the holes are conducting lines that are interconnected like shown on the picture. 




This way, you are able to supply a “+” and “-“ along the whole board, and tap into that supply as needed. These supply lines are usually marked blue and red.


Then in the middle part, there’s the possibility to interconnect components. 


You can even plug in whole circuit boards and header pins, to further ease your prototyping process. 


Summing It All Up

I really hope this post has sparked your inner fire to get started on this journey. 


As stated before, I am on this journey with you


The goal is to teach you electronics so that you can pass on the knowledge to you kid, and have valuable moments together when exploring the world of electronics. 


As we move forward there will come more and more information on the site, and I believe the next topic will be something about basic circuits. 


We might as well get right into the nitty gritty!


Until next time, take care. 


Maker Dad out!


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