Getting started making electronics can be difficult. I believe that to build up the knowledge and experience in this area, you need time physically working with different components; seeing something online is not the same as doing it yourself. This can be tough if you’re just getting started and don’t have a well-rounded collection of components. For those of you who are new to the to the world or DIY electronics I would like to point out that Texas Instruments has a program to provide free components for experimentation, testing and prototyping.
The program allows you to search TI’s catalog of products, select up to 5 different components you would like to experiment with and they will send them to you free of charge with free shipping. You may be wondering why TI has such a program at all but it’s actually a great way to promote the use of their products. The idea is that if you use their components in a prototype there is a good chance you will use it in the final design. If you take your idea and then sell kits or a finished product that means you will be purchasing their chips in much greater numbers.
Keep in mind that’s there are limitations on this program:
- As I stated above, you are limited to 5 components per order
- The quantity of each component is also limited depending on what it is
- Which components you can get samples of is also limited but I have not had an issue finding things to experiment with
- The chips are “not for resale” which means you can’t sell them
I encourage anyone out there who has an idea for a project, or even wants to replicate something they’ve seen online and get some hands on experience, to setup an account and try some components. You can get started here: http://www.ti.com/general/docs/gencontent.tsp?contentId=69854
I should also point out that Ladyada has compiled a comprehensive list of other manufacturers with similar programs: http://www.ladyada.net/library/procure/samples.html