Buying Components

One of the first hurdles to getting the TouchDRO hooked up was buying all the connectors, terminals and wiring I needed. There aren’t many stores that sell these type of connectors, certainly nowhere in Eugene I assumed (more on that later). I started searching for good sites on the web and found the following along with many others:

  • – wide selection, expensive in small quantities and you really need to know what you are looking for.
  • – kind of Arduino and kit specific. Sometimes hard to tell whether what they sell will work with other devices, user friendly however
  • – like Adafruit, better for kits and gadgets rather than individual connectors.
  • – Super wide selection and good prices. Good customer support, can actually talk to people on the phone. Confusing website with pictures and descriptions that don’t always match the item.

I ended up buying most of my parts from MCM Electronics and it was quite the learning experience. It took 4 orders and $32 in shipping expenses to get what I needed. That’s the problem with having to buy things that you can’t hold in your hands to see if it fits and does what you expect it to do. As I wrote in the list above, their website is confusing and misleading. The pictures often don’t match the item they are displayed with and neither do the descriptions.  After my 2nd order they sent me a catalog which made things incredibly easier. I would suggest calling them up and requesting a catalog right off the bat if you are planning on ordering from them as it will likely save you time and shipping costs in the long run. I’ll post a complete parts list in the resources section of what I bought from them which should also make things easier.

A funny thing happened after all my ordering and re-ordering from MCM. I was soldering some connectors and realized I didn’t have the right size shrink fit tubing. I rode out to Home Depot to get what I needed and came across Shangri-La, otherwise known an Oregon Electronics. I have a hard time understanding how with all my web searches I did not find this place. It is right at Conger and 11th and I believe that they have everything I needed. Not only that they have knowledgeable staff to answer questions and everything is right there to touch and feel. The prices seem comparable to MCM and probably cheaper once you figure in shipping with the small quantities I was ordering (and re-ordering 🙂 . I’ll post a parts list for Oregon Electronics for anybody close enough to drop in. They have a website but I haven’t  spent much time on it. One of the things I am quite excited about is that they have a selection of tips for soldering irons. I’ve always had a difficult time finding tips in the style I want that fit my soldering iron. I am going to take it down there so I can test fit them and get what I need.

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