Dominik Honnef

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Electronics: My first experiences with various shops

This is part three of a series of me describing my new experiences with electronics.

First of all, sorry for the late third article, but ever since I received my Arduino I was really busy playing around with it.

Quite a bit has happened since my last article and I will try to catch up as quickly as possible. One thing that happened is that I had to order quite a bit more tools and components than I initially thought.

In this article I will concentrate on my experiences with the various shops I’ve ordered from so far and how they performed.

bausteln.de

I ordered my Arduino starter kit from bausteln and they were quick to send me a package. Everything was well packaged, nothing was missing and they even included a neat little plastic box for storage.

There was, however, a little problem: The included breadboard is about half the size of the one depicted in images. Now, I know that relying on images is my fault, and the article description didn’t include any measurements, either, so I really shouldn’t have expected a breadboard of a specific size.

But my problem isn’t really with the small breadboard (even twice the size would still be too small for any serious work) but the fact that I’ve tried to contact the owner of the shop (it’s a single person) and never got a reply. I’ve also tried to write a product review to warn potential new customers, but said review has to be accepted by the shop owner and he never did.

I do not know if he simply doesn’t care or just missed the messages, but I do not feel comfortable doing business with someone who cannot even reply to emails or monitor his shop.

Futurlec

Packages from Hong Kong take a long time… Three weeks to be exact, at least if you live in Germany. But obviously Futurlec is not to blame nor did I expect any faster shipping.

I was, however, honestly surprised about their quality. Everything was packaged well, components were new, nothing was bent, nothing was broken and nothing was missing.

As you might remember, I ordered a couple of “value packs” from Futurlec. Basically bags full of discrete components of different sizes/values. What I expected was one big bag per component type, full of stuff, unsorted and with bent legs. I was surprised to see that each value had its very own small bag, properly labelled as well.

Should I ever have to buy components in bulk again, I will definitely consider Futurlec a second time.

Reichelt

Reichelt is a German electronics store, selling everything from components to tools and gadgets. Unlike other German competitors like Conrad, Reichelt has cheap prices and doesn’t completely ignore the hobbyist/maker market.

So far I made two purchases, mostly containing soldering equipment, but also a few ICs and more importantly a big breadboard. Both packages arrived fast (within 1-2 days).

Everything was packaged well, everything worked properly, I am happy.

Pollin

The 4th shop I ordered from is Pollin, another German store. They’re kind of an electronics store, but they concentrate mostly on buying and selling remaining stock and the like. Sometimes they sell random LCD screens without any documentation, or even old Russian ICs.

I ordered 20 little plastic boxes for storing my components, 0.85€ per piece.

Shipping was moderately fast (3 days), everything was packaged well etc. The boxes aren’t of best quality, but hey, I paid 85ct per box and it has a reason they’re that cheap. Render me satisfied.