Michael Meissner's Electronics related pages
I started dabbling in microprocessors with the Arduino Uno, and this page is a
list of varioius places I buy electronics from (or at least look at items).
Here are the microprocessors I own:
A lot of basic components I tend to source locally rather than deal with mail order, as you can get it immediately.
In central Massachusetts, I use:
- Electronics Plus:
In Littleton, Massachusetts. Sells basic electronics components, but no
Arduino specific items.
- You-do-it Electronics Center:
In Needham, Massachusetts. For me, it is a bit of a trek, so I can't do it on
the spur of the moment. In addition to a lot more parts than Electronics Plus,
You-do-it has recently discovered Arduino compatibles, and carries various
Osepp and Sparkfun kits.
- Radio Shack:
Radio Shack has locations all over the place, though I tend to frequent the
store in Westford, which is near where I work. If you need just a few parts
and don't need hand holding by the staff, their prices for one off components,
aren't too bad considering typical shipping charges. You typically want to go
to the back of the store, and browse through the several filing cabinets that
they have of various components. Radio Shack does sell officially branded
Arduino products, though the prices can be higher than you get elsewhere.
In general, I prefer to deal with sites that have USA distributors so that I get the stuff in a few days, rather than a couple weeks.
These are the sites I look at, and I have bought some components from all of them, except for Sparkfun.
The prices tend to be great for the things that they carry. While they are
primarily located in the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, they do mail from
Niagara Falls, New York for US purchases. I was impressed that each of the
parts I got were labeled in plastic bags, as I bought my original UNO from a
vendor that just threw all parts in a single plastic bag.
Adafruit is based in New York city. I originally avoided Adafruit and Sparkfun
since most of their boards needed soldering. While I can solder now, I still
prefer for things like shields to buy ones that are pre-soldered. I tend to go
here for more unique designs, and also because they have a lot of tutorials
that the creator (Limor Fried) or her staff wrote themselves.
Sparkfun is based in Colorado. Like Adafruit, they sell a lot of custom
designs towards the hobbiest electronics hacker. However, at times, I get the
sense that they think they are more cool than they are, and it is a slight turn
off. While I often look at Sparkfun, I tend to prefer Adafruit over Sparkfun,
and I haven't ordered from them (I do have a few designs that I might get some
Robotshop is world wide, but their US operations are in Vermont. While their
focus is robotics, they do carry a lot of stuff for non-robotic microprocessor
projects as well if you go to the robot parts sublink. They carry a lot of
various shields, sensors, etc.
Pololu is based in Los Vegas, Nevada. This is another robot venture that also
deals with basic electronics and shields, kits, etc.
This company is almost entirely Arduino based. One of the owners (Terry King)
posts often in the Arduino forums, and has good tutorials on his site that he
wrote. I value that in a site. Yourduino, ships from China, so you have
to factor in the longer delivery times.
Jameco is a California based comapny. Jameco has a huge inventory, including
an Arduino section. However, the sites with large inventories also mean it can
be harder to narrow down to an individual part. They are a California based
Newark/Element 14A is a large multi-national company, with shipping from a lot
of different places. Like Jameco, it can be tough to narrow down your
Here are some other sites that I look at, and have seen other people recommend, but I haven't ordered from them:
More targeted sites include:
The following places build a lot of shields, sensors, etc. Often times you can
find the parts at distributors that are in your country, but for datasheets and
tutorials, you need to go back to the company that built the item. They also
do mail order directly:
Places that I often times search for unusual things, but not necessarily electronics parts are:
American Science and Surplus, sells a lot of products, at the end of their
life. Their descriptions are funny.
Like Sparkfun, they can at times be a little too impressed with themselves, but
still fun items. I do find the markup on their electronic items to be higher,
so if you can find the stuff elesewhere, you likely will get better prices.