01/12/20 - The Maker's Dilemma

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There is one thing about hobbyist electronics that drives me slightly insane, and it is buying components. You can order the parts from China and wait 1 to 2 months for them to arrive or you can pay 2x to 3x as much for those same parts via Ebay/Amazon, or 5x as much to get the regional boutique hobbyist equivalent.

Lots of time it’s not even about me being a cheap ass, believe it or not, it’s about figuring out how navigate huge component catalogues. It’s comparatively easy to find parts on Aliexpress. The big US-based component companies have websites that I find difficult to navigate as a hobbyist. These sites aren’t built for hobbyists they’re built for people ordering massive quantities of chips. I struggled with Digikey for a while and gave up because I kept getting weird browser errors, but had better luck with Mouser. You can filter through hole components, which is good, and they had some Adafruit buttons and whatnot that Adafruit was sold out of. Shipping starts at $8, which is okay if you’re getting several things, obviously not ok if you need a single tactile switch or something. I’ll have to sit on it a few days and see if I can think of any other projects I would need parts for.