Yet another forwarded mail from the Brum list - this time a list of useful
Jon ““The Nice Guy”” Spriggs LPIC-1 Certified
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From: “G Bulmer” firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Jul 23, 2009 3:01 AM
Subject: [birmingham-hack-space] Re: fizzPOP showcase opportunity
To: “Birmingham Hack Space” email@example.com
I thought it may be helpful to share my experience and opinions on
getting electronics parts.
Rapid are usually the cheapest supplier, if they have the part, so I
tend to order from there.
There electronics part range isn’t as broad as RS or Farnell.
Rapid have very good prices for things like resistors, they sell packs
of 100 for 50p. I bought a wide range, and have never regretted it.
They are good for other stuff too, especially small electric motors,
and commonly used parts (Op Amps, logic ICs, transistors).
Rapid let you publish a shopping basket, which is an easy way to share
RS has trade counters in several local towns - you can pick parts up
an hour or two after ordering.
I’ve used this service and got several collections in a day, which I
find useful when I’m stumbling around, trying ideas to find what
There was a trade counter in Coventry, but it closed - cost saving :-
There is still one in Nuneaton, and another in Birmingham.
RS tend to be a little bit more expensive than Rapid.
RS are very handy for a large range of parts, their range of LEDs,
optical sensors, unusual types of resistors, integrated circuits are
IMHO Farnell have the best search tool, so if you know the
specification, but don’t exactly know the part, it is worth trying
their search tool. I almost always tick "Exclude extended range items"
because they are imported from the USA, and have a £15+ Delivery
surcharge, which rarely makes sense. Search results can be sorted on
any column, which is handy if you want the cheapest, or want to
understand what effect a particular parameter has. I often get sensors
from Farnell because they are so well organised.
Farnell and RS are sometimes a bit better than Rapid for datasheets.
They all have interesting (to me) bargains, so it’s worth looking. I
got some very cute 8x8 LED matrix displays from Rapid for under £1.
Rapid, RS and Farnell have quick postage.
I normally expect to receive orders from all three in less than 24
hours (through the week).
In my experience, Maplin is the most expensive part supplier. It is
easy to pay 2-3x more at Maplin.
I love Maplin’s little AD-100 breadboards (AG08J).
They are much better value than any other breadboards, and can be
plugged together to make larger breadboards. I buy them in 5’s.
RS don’t charge P&P (to account holders).
Farnell and Rapid do charge P&P on orders less than £30 (I think).
I find it easy to order much more than £30 of parts, so it isn’t
usually a cost I pay
If you want to save money on Rapid or Farnell orders, and can wait a
few days, it may be worth pooling orders to avoid the postage.
Price breaks often happen on 10’s, so pooling orders can give a
significant cost saving.
I buy Freeduino’s from http://www.nuelectronics.com/estore/ who are
the cheapest supplier I’ve found.
Freeduino’s are Arduino compatible. (You could build your own, of
I also buy Arduino-style stuff from
in the USA, and
http://www.nkcelectronics.com/ who normally deliver within a week.
I have bought from http://www.pololu.com/ who have very good robotics
stuff (controllers and motors)
I have bought a few things from http://www.technobots.co.uk/ who have
I’d happily use all of these companies again.
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