Where to Buy
Components

Article :  Andy Collinson
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Where to Buy Components
Where is the best place to buy your electronic components? You have three main choices: locally, online, or from a Radio Rally or exhibition. I'll expand on some of the choices I've made over the years. You also have the option of salvaging parts from broken and surplus equipment.


Buying Local
If you want the fastest option, then this is your local electronics shop. Here in the UK, Maplin Electronics have outlets in many towns, see their website for details. Local electronics shops, like Bardwells pictured here, are on the decline. Sadly Bardwells closed earlier this year and is no longer trading.



Online
The biggest choice for components is online. Prices vary widely, as do postage rates, so its worthwhile comparing a few sites. There are many choices, and the links below are all sources I've used online. Ebay and Ali Express also sell many parts. Delivery from Hong Kong and China can take a few weeks and quality is good if you are prepared to wait.

How much did all these components cost? Much less than you think. Pictured are three breadboards, three HD44780 compatible displays in different colours, some jumper wires, some PCB push button switches, an Arduino clone and a 3.3V regulator.
I bought from some of the cheaper suppliers on Ebay to test quality, and so far everything has been ok. All of the items were less than £12.
Below are links to some of the suppliers I have used:

Ali Express
Amazon
Bowood Electronics
CPC Farnell
Ebay
Electrovalue
Hobbytronics
Revolution Education

Radio Rallies and Exhibitions
Radio Rallies and exhibitions are great sources to find rare and obsolete components. A quick search on google should find plenty of upcoming rallies. The picture on the right is from a GQRP club rallies at Rochdale. Check the GQRP clubs website as the show has now moved to the Telford Exhibition Center.

Links
Ali Express
Amazon
Bowood Electronics
CPC Farnell
Ebay
Electrovalue
GQRP Club
Hobbytronics
Maplin Electronics
Revolution Education