So you want to get started with the Arduino, and a starter kit sounds like a good idea. We agree. The Arduino is an awesome platform, and with the right kit, you can really go places. It’s a tough job to go find all the kits out there and compare them, so we thought we’d make the job a little easier on you.
The following table puts everything in an easy, readable setup. You can show or hide reviews, toggle explanations of (most) components and hide kits you’re not interested in looking at.
Kit Makers: Did we miss something? Get something wrong? Don’t feel we gave you a fair shake? Shoot us an email (email@example.com). We want to provide the best information possible, and you can help us do it!
A Resistor is a component that reduces (resists) the amount of current flowing through it.
A Potentiometer is a variable resistor. Usually you turn a knob or adjust with a screwdriver to get different amounts of resistance.
The number listed is the maximum resistance.
A Photocell or LDR(Light Dependent Resistor) is a resistor whose resistance decreases as light applied to it increases.
Sometimes it's called CdS because of it's chemical content: Cadmium Sulfid
An LED is a special kind of Diode that emits light when current is applied to it. They typically come in one color, but you can get 2 and 3 color LEDs, or IR.
A Diode is a component that limits the flow of electricity in one direction.
A Transistor is a basic component of electronics. When voltage is applied to one pin, it allows current to flow between the other pins (often a higher voltage)
A Force Sensitive Resistor is a resistor that decreases resistance when more force is applied to it.
A Flex Resistor is a resistor that increases resistance as the device is bent. If you've ever seen a Nintendo Powerglove, that's where these things come from.
A Thermistor is a resistor that changes resistance based on temperature.
A Temperature Sensor is a sensor that detects temperature and reports it back.
A Tilt Switch is a switch that is "thrown" (switched one way or the other) when it's tilted in a direction.
A Shift Register is an integrated circuit that acts as a pin multiplier. By utilizing a timer, it can split the data being sent from one microcontroller pin out into several pins, allowing more devices to be connected to the one microcontroller pin.
An IC Socket is a socket to plug an integrated circuit into. It allows one to solder a place for an IC without committing the IC wholly to the board. With the socket, the IC can be simply plugged in.
A DC motor is a motor that turns when voltage is applied to it's positive and negative terminals. If voltage is reversed, the motor will reverse direction
A Piezo Buzzer is a device which will make noise when voltage is applied to it Alternatively, it can be used to pickup vibration.
A Relay is an electrically operated switch. Current applied to a magnet inside creates a magnetic field which causes a physical armature to move throwing the switch.
A Prototyping Breadboard is board with many electrically conductive holes in it. By connecting components together on the board, one can experiment with circuit designs without soldering.
A Jumper Wire is a wire that is compatible with a prototyping breadboard. It's connecting points are molded and the wire is typically made for prototyping.
An OptoIsolator is an IC that takes a signal and electrically isolates it from another part of the circuit by converting the signal to light, and then back to electricity. They are often used to protect a lower-voltage circuit from a higher-voltage circuit connected together.
An Servo-Mechanism is a special kind of electric motor which has built in electronics. When it's sent certain signals, it will turn to a particular position.
USB is the communication means that the Arduino uses to talk to your computer. Early Arduinos used serial ports. Arduinos made in the last 3 years have all had USB standard.
SoftPot is a kind of potentiometer constructed on a thin membrane that changes resistance depending on the position where pressure is applied.