I have what is probably a simple question. I have googled it, but the answer doesn't make sense to me.
I am learning about op-amps and creating all sorts of circuits with my nice cheap 10cent op amps. I always power these from my lab supply using +/- 5V or 15V and it works great on the solderless breadboard. Creating simple things such as simple multivibrators and so forth which would only cost a few cents.
Now I start to wonder how to power such devices from a single DC power supply, such as a 5V wall wart of which I have many lying around.
Here is what I've found.
Use a "rail splitter" such as TLE2426. But the cheapest one I can find on digikey in thru-hole form is $1.83 (qty=1). Really? More than ten times the rest of my bill of materials (1 op-amp plus a few resistors and capacitors to make a multivibrator, for instance).
Use another op-amp as shown in "Virtual Ground" section of this page: http://www.swarthmore.edu/NatSci/echeeve1/Ref/SingleSupply/SingleSupply.html
I read somewhere online that you can buy single-supply op-amps. I searched digikey but failed to find one. It has a column called "Vsupply single/dual" but all the ones I clicked on, when I went to the datasheet, the numbers quoted in that column were the dual +/- voltages.
Note that for small one-off circuits I don't care about paying $2 for a solution, but surely Option 2 is not the only other solution? If so, then from now on I will only buy dual-style (two-per-package) op-amps, since it seems you always need one to create the virtual ground for the other. Surely that is not the only solution?
Furthermore, Option 2 can't supply much current, I think -- does that mean it won't work in some instances? In which instances will I run in to problems with Option 2?