Got Parts?

Got Parts?

Today was a good day. I've been ordering electronic components on eBay like crazy over the past few weeks, many of them from China. Today, the first of these arrived.

It's amazing how cheap these parts are. Half of me is saying "these parts must be rubbish, they'll all die on you the moment you touch them", and the more optimistic side of me is saying that China simply has vast economies of scale, which drives down the price of mass produced components such as these.

I don't know how to use many of the components I've bought yet, but I plan to shortly, and I'll be providing updates on the quality of the components as I use them.

The rest of this article is devoted to the (interesting) parts that arrived, what they do, and how cheap they are compared to Australian prices. I'm going to use Jaycar for Australian pricing comparisons, as that's my go to place when I need something quickly.

Arduino Pro Minis

Arduino Pro Mini

These little guys are a smaller version of the Arduino Uno, which is what I am using (a variant of one, anyway). Like their big brother, the Arduino Pro Mini boards sport an ATmega328 microcontroller. Despite their diminutive dimensions, they pack 14 digital pins, 6 of which can be used for PWM.


It's worth noting that neither of these are not official Arduino boards, they're both clones. It's also worth noting that the Australian version linked above has the header pins soldered on, whereas the Chinese board ships with detached header pins. The Chinese versions also need to be programmed with a UART, whereas the Australian one has a micro USB port built in.


Country Price (Incl. Shipping)
Australia $29.95
China $2.05
14.6 times cheaper from China, but less user friendly that the Australian counterpart.

USB 2.0 UARTs (CP2102)

USB 2.0 UART (CP2102)

As mentioned above, the Chinese Arduino Minis don't have a USB port built in. A UART has to be used to transfer software to the Arduino.

Country Price (Incl. Shipping)
Australia $17.95
China $2.01
8.9 times cheaper from China, but the Australian model has mini USB.

Accelerometer Modules (MPU-6050)

MPU-6050 accelerometer module

These accelerometers work in three dimensions, and are surprisingly cheap in Australia. As seems to be a common theme here, the Australian module has its pins pre-soldered, the Chinese module does not.

Country Price (Incl. Shipping)
Australia $7.95
China $2.88
2.8 times cheaper from China, but with detached header pins.


Joystick module

These joysticks support your typical up/down/left/right directional input, but can also be pushed in like a button, neat!

Country Price (Incl. Shipping)
Australia $4.95
China $1.80
2.8 times cheaper from China, no apparent differences at first glance.

Bluetooth Transceivers

Bluetooth transceiver

I was amazed to discover how cheap these things were, I was expecting to fork out $40+ for something like this. We live in an amazing time where awesome technologies are readily available to the masses.

Country Price (Incl. Shipping)
Australia $19.95
China $5.40
3.7 times cheaper from China, no apparent differences at first glance.

Time To Experiment

Anyway, just wanted to record some of the cool stuff I'm getting. I'm really looking forward to figuring out how to use all of these parts and make something cool with them! I still have loads of other parts on the way too, exciting times ahead!