I am playing around with a few projects and looking at a few more online. I've had to make some trips to the local electronics shop for a few basic necessities like LEDs, resistors etc. It got me thinking about what would constitute a good set of basic and cheap components. Things that would be useful for random robotic/electronic projects. I have broken the set up into tools and components. I was hoping you guys can add/edit this and provide online links as well for future budding roboticists and electronic hobbyists. The primary requirement being cheap and versatile.

My List so far,

Soldering Iron
A PCB Holder stand for help with soldering
Bread board
Solder and Solder remover

Hobby resistor set (6 of each type for example)
L293 motor driver chips
555 Timer chips
Potentiometers (Pots)
Transistors <- (What type?)
Voltage Regulators <- (What type?)
Switches <- (What type?)
Relays <- (What type?)
Battery Holder case
Header for power supply wires
DC Motor(s)
Servo Motor(s)
PIC Microcontroller(s)


4 Answers 4


We discussed a few similar questions previously (though never specifically for robotics):


An in-system serial programmer is a good tool if your going to get into micro controllers.

Also latching shift registers are handy to have around should you need to expand the digital pins on your µController - I quite like using the 74HC595.

Micro switches and tactile switches are always handy, small, reliable, minimal bounce and not too expensive either.

Lastly - if you're not sure what value voltage regulators to get, why not get an adjustable one? The good old LM317 works well, providing in excess of 1.5A over a 1.2V to 37V output range, it also has a negative voltage counterpart the LM337.

Well that's my tuppence! :)

N.B - If you're prototyping robots a bag of Shape lock wouldn't go amiss.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The LM317 comes in a number of different package styles, all the way from surface mount to TO-2, and the current it can supply varies accordingly. \$\endgroup\$
    – JustJeff
    Commented Jul 15, 2010 at 15:35

There's a nice list of "popular electronics parts" on the Open Circuits wiki.


For quick prototypes I would get some ShapeLock, its great for making motor mounts servo arms and horns, or any other plastic piece you can create. I have used this stuff successfully to make a motor mount for a project a few years back.

The only other thing that I don't see on the list is a power supply, even a cheap hacked PC power supply would work since it does supply common voltages, +5v and +12v at a decent current.

Transistors you cant go wrong with a mixed bag of common NPNs like 2n2222 or 2n3904

PNPs are good to have in stock but not necessary in my opinion

Other miscellaneous parts that may be needed would be some sort of platform to base your bots on, some use pre-built ones, but i prefer using RC cars and vehicles to modify.


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