Best hardware resources in UK for electronics hobyists

It’s hard to find good resources of electronic components and sensors for your projects, especially if you are just starting hardware hacking. Well, this is at least the way I felt a few months back, so here is my list of best UK based electronics hardware stores online where you can find pretty much everything you need for you next Arduino project.

Cool Components – great resource for Arduino shields, sensors and wireless communication hardware.

Robot Bits – wheels, chassis, gearboxes and various robotic kits ready for you to assemble based on Arduino.

Oomlout – great store for Arduino stuff, value starter bundles, essential tools, outstanding customer service and prompt delivery. With every component purchased you will get a very nice bonus – printed schematic for breadboard with instructions on how to connect the component to Arduino like this one.

Rapid Online – if you are more a do-it-yourself guy, this is an ideal resource for you. Store features everything from microcontroler ICs, LEDs to discrete semiconductors, sensors, gearboxes and complete robotic kits. Very competitive prices and free shipping for orders over £40.

I’d be very happy to hear of any resources that you know in the comments. :)

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10 thoughts on “Best hardware resources in UK for electronics hobyists”

  1. I found Oomlout to be very good service, probably one of the best webstores I’ve used just a shame they dont stock more parts, which is the only reason I use Rapid.

    1. I think both stores are great: you can get everything you need from Oomlout if you starting with Arduino and once you get to more advanced level Rapid is a place to buy stuff.

    1. Hi Eric! Long time no see! :)

      No, haven’t tried that yet, but I would assume that things are very similar to Arduino or any other dev board. All of them seem to get inputs and send outputs to pins. Then all you have to do is connect some sensors or outputs to them :)

      1. Haha – you make it sound so easy! (Hardware has never been my strong point)

        In fact the FEZ boards are a lot like Arduino (they can even use Arduino shields), except that you can use .Net to program them. So I can use C# and Visual Studio :)


        1. Trust me, as far as I’ve tried it’s really is easy! I always thought that microcontroller programing was out of my world, but once I tried it I found that It’s very easy and fun. I have a little toy car converted to robot running around the house, but haven’t had a chance to write an article about it yet. :) It was a lot of fun coding for it.

          Yeah I’ve heard that you can code in special version of .NET for FEZ and it should be fun too, but Arduino platform is a lot cheaper and there is very little difference between coding in C# and plain C when it comes to microcontrollers so I will stick with the cheaper alternative for now. :) BTW, FEZ in UK is twice more expensive than in USA. ;)

          1. Yep, it’s easy and lots of fun. The first programming language I ever used was assembly language for the 6809 – good times. Today that would be considered a micro-controller but back then it ran my only computer :)

            I worked for an EPROM programmer company (the now defeunct Needham’s Electronics) for about 9 years and it was always fun working with uCs there – but I would let the hardware guys decide where to put the capacitors and resistors and I stuck to the software. Today you can even design your own uC in an FPGA – amazing stuff.

            If you want to see some *really* cool stuff, look at DSPs. We had a guy at Needham’s that designed a one-bit radio transceiver. It had a DSP, an antenna, and an amplifier in between – and all for less than $50 in parts. Pretty crazy…

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