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So I got back from Maker faire and thought to myself: “Isn’t DIY electronics suppose to be about leaning and creativity, not price gouging kits and componets?”(r/arduino)
Well first of all, the difference between the good ol’ days and now, is that the good old days weren’t at all marketable. When someone has no idea about electronics, just pointing them at a whole-seller means at best they’ll manage to put together some half-assed order, and forget fundamental things like resistors, and really was kind of cruel. So fine, you beat the system and buy your components one at a time, but when you’re just getting started, like others said, it’s probably worth it to pay the extra for someone else’s knowledge and effort to put together something to get you rolling, because remember it or not, at one point you were completely clueless too.
And hey, let’s break down the $100 kit, just for fun:
- 9V battery – $2.30 on Amazon
- 9V battery clip – Digikey $0.45
- 6 AA batteries – $2 Amazon – part of bulk 48 pack
- 1 single AA clip – (D)igikey $1.45
- 1 double AA clip – D $0.75
- 1 quad AA clip – D $1.16
- Power supply – I’ll be kind and say salvage something from an old computer, which is messy but works.
- 10 alligator clips – D $0.25 = $2.50
- 4 2N2222 – D $0.53 = $2.12
- 8 Capacitors – D$0.25 = $2
- 6 Al Caps – D $0.25 = $1.50
- Fishing lure box – Amazon $10
- Breadboard – You could get away with spending as little as $10, but I’d recommend something more like a $30 or $40 board.
- 2 relays – D $3 = $6
- 2 switches – D$3 = $6
- 3 spools hookup wire – Amazon $3 = $9
- 20 LEDs – D $0.10 = $2
- 4 2n6027 – D $0.50 = $2
- 2 pots – D $2.50 = $5
- 170 resistors – D $0.07 = $12
Oh dang… That’s $98 worth of stuff… And that’s spending half an hour KNOWING how to use Digikey search, and knowing what I want. And ordering them all almost blind – Maker has probably tried out a few different versions of some of the parts, so you probably end up with a pretty good lure box to keep stuff in.
So how does Maker even make money on this (how is that for an odd question in this thread)? They get at best 50% discounts when ordering parts in much larger quantities, but then they have to sit there and sort out each box and package it up to ship to you, and again the risk of something going wrong, and in the end…
Nope. $110 seems like a pretty reasonable price, if not because of all the work they put into it, because you actually can’t do much better on your own.