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DIY Component Starter Packs
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author DIY Component Starter Packs
Hi, I've started recently doing DIY, and first one with a kit, but now want to source components, and I'm planning to do more DIY in the future, I've seen ceramic capacitors 50v 104, 100nf for instance are in 2 BOMs

Does it make sense to buy packs of capacitors/resistors/jacks/etc, assortments? or I should just stick with what specificly required for the build

Would you recommend any ? What are the most common components that you buy in bulk without knowing what you are going to build, if you do so

I would purchase just what is specified in the BOM but buy extras, both to get a quantity price and to have extras for the next project.
There are some things that are going to come up over and over again.

1K/10K/100K resistors are extremely common and you will always need them. Some other common values like 2.2/3.3/4.7/5.6/6.8/8.2 and their multiples are also used a lot.

100nf ceramics are very common, as are 10nf. Also 10uf/100uf electrolytics.

TL071/TL072/TL074/TL081/TL082/TL084 op amps are probably among the most commonly used and I always keep some in stock.

Lots of builds use thonkiconn jacks, so I tend to keep those in stock.

B10K and B100K pots are very common, although there are a few different types (16mm, 9mm, PCB mount, panel mount, etc) so it's harder to know exactly what you'll need. I seem to use PCB mount 9mm the most.

1N4148 and 1N5819 diodes are very common.

It might make sense to pick up one of the big packs of resistors/capacitors from eBay/aliexpress - they're very cheap and you'll get lots of common values. There will also be values that you'll probably never use, but they tend to be cheap enough for that not to matter.
pfzzz wrote:

Does it make sense to buy packs of capacitors/resistors/jacks/etc, assortments?

no, just stick with usual single value ... but take advantage of price breaks. Often buying 100 is not much more expensive than 12.

pfzzz wrote:

What are the most common components that you buy in bulk without knowing what you are going to build, if you do so

just take a few modules that you consider interesting and add up the BOMs. You'll see there are some components that occur again and again. But these are easy to source, so it does not really make sense to buy them in advance.

There will always be some other component missing from the "collection" and then when you order you can always add some more of the standard. Sometimes it helps to get over a free shipping threshold.
Smallbear has a ton of good kits to get you started:
In general, I think trying to stock up in advance is a bad idea. As others have said, it's better to buy the parts you need for a specific project, and then get extras to have for future use - if and only if you're sure you'll really use them, because otherwise, you're just wasting money on the unused extras instead of on the small-quantity markup. Really, the best thing to do is to buy a kit.

However, this question will always keep coming around, so I have a Web log entry for it including some suggestions:
I always buy enough of a passive to reach a good price break. For active electronics I always try to buy a one or two extras just in case something goes wrong with a build. The exception being 072s and 074s. Those I stockpile since they're really cheap if you buy a tube.
mskala wrote:
Really, the best thing to do is to buy a kit.

I also join the other voices (lots of makers) in advising not to stock up in advance. Do this for long enough, and you'll find you'll have magically amassed tons of parts.

If ti helps: Here is a quick video as to how I store and organize parts:
Kevin Mitchell
Buy what you need as you need it and don't be afraid to pick up a few extra. I usually purchase parts by 10s (most places discount that quantity). After a few years you'll accumulate a stock of parts and you'll have an idea of what's worth having and what is uncommon and not worth having on-hand.

You might find yourself pulling resistors out of your sweatshirt half way through your day. Don't be like me.

If you keep building modules from kits, it’s okay to use the BOM and maybe get some extra values for repair or modding the kit, but if you are into designing modules yourself, getting a stock of the usual components like mentioned by OB1 is a great start and you can add some more “special” components when the design calls for them.
if you're going to stock up on surface mount parts be prepared to have a strong organization and inventory system. i've amassed a significant stock of parts but still end up buying more because it's a lot of work to sift through boxes and boxes of parts to see if you have everything you need for a module. the convenience of a shipment arriving that you know is a complete BOM is really nice when the goal is to keep it fun.

that being said, never buy 7 resistors from mouser, you will spend several multiples more to buy 7 of something than 10 of something due to the incredible price difference between <10 and >10 in most cases. this is true for a lot of components but not all, and its worth getting in the habit of checking when ordering a BOM through the usual suppliers. if you're doing a lot of DIY you'll end up amassing parts just by nature of the fact that its actually cheaper overall to buy a few extras a lot of the time.
One other aspect is where you live and how easy you can get the parts you need. Is there a local dealer where you can buy the one missing part? For me, it's always ordering online, paying shipping costs and waiting for weeks to get it.

Another aspect: if you like diy, you'll never stop. I've multiple times thought "That's my last one, after that I don't need anything more". Dead wrong. So I stocked up on some cheap capacitor and resistor and transistor kits, lots of jacks in different versions, some potis. It feels good to find some interesting veroboard layout and having all the needed parts at hand.
Just want to highlight that there's a really big load of background information at the sites of mskala (North Coast Synthesis) and abelovesfun (aisynthesis). Big thanks for that!
Also, if you buy and stockpile parts from Mouser, be careful how you store the bags.

The labels are thermal material -- like supermarket receipts, if you leave them in the sun, the writing will fade out entirely.
As others have suggested, I order parts for project specifically, and order in 100’s for the price break (caps, resistors) -> ic’s are dependent but generally purchase a few more than needed to keep a small stock pile.

Depending on the part, I orde directly from mouser. Obscure parts direct from China.

Organization and inventory is important.
Here's what I suggest. I just got into building, and was sort of in the same boat you are. I've been doing SMD builds so far.

Start with a spreadsheet. Use google sheets. You can always type in your browser for a new one. I maintain a big inventory spreadsheet, which has all of my BOMs in it. I do keep tabs for each BoM, but they all get dumped to a big one so I can see common parts -- and if I have any -- and so I can look for that weird common resistor value which I've filed into the inventory box for a different board.

I make a column with the board name so I can sort by it. It's nice to have columns for the part specifications (C1, R2, U1, etc...) and a column for quantity. Then I have a column for R, one for C, one for IC. I have one for PKG which is common to those, and also one for TOL. So now I can fort by the Rs, as well as pkg and tol and see what I have. It does take a little effort when adding a new BoM to note the values into the spreadsheet, but much less time than yet another order from Mouser.

I also make columns for current inventory, and orders.

so TLDR, put your BOMs into a single spreadsheet with a column for the board name. Sort by values.
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