I used to get my electronics parts from a number of brick and mortar stores as Radio Shack (no longer in operation), Lafayette Radio Electronics (went out of business many years ago), and some stores specializing in amateur radio equipment. However, I have found it difficult to find brick and mortar stores in the Philadelphia, PA area.
MicroCenter in Wayne, Pennsylvania has a number of robotics and electronics parts. They carry starter kits for the Arduino and Raspberry Pi, which are good places to start experimenting with these technologies. However, I have found the organization of this section of the store to be confusing, and it is hard to find things.
It now appears that I am going to have to get most of the supplies by ordering over the internet. The firms listed here carry a wide variety of electronic parts. In addition, a list of suppliers can be found at https://www.build-electronic-circuits.com/buy-electronic-components/. There is also a blog entry comparing some of the vendors at https://lowpowerlab.com/2018/04/14/component-sourcing-and-mouser-vs-digikey-pros-and-cons/.
If anyone has information on ordering from these firms, I would like to add it to the listing. I would especially be interested in minimum purchase and shipping charges, since many people only need a small part or two to complete a project. This list is merely intended as a list of references that I have found in various pieces of literature. No endorsement of statement of quality is intended.
- All Electronics
- Allied Electronics
- Arrow Electronics
- Digi-Key Electronics
- Hammond Manufacturing – Enclosures and Transformers
- Jameco Electronics – Five dollar processing fee for orders less than twenty five dollars (fifteen dollars for web orders). Shipping via UPS, FedEx, or USPS.
- Markertek – The selection here is designed for broadcast and audio-video operators. Because of this, the selection of parts is somewhat different from the other vendors.
- Mouser Electronics – No minimum purchase for normally stocked parts with shipping via UPS, FedEx, or USPS.
- Newark – also Newark Electronics and
Robotics Oriented Vendors
These are companies that specialize in DIY robotics and electronics. Many of them have educational sections, blogs, and forums as part of their website. This is merely intended as a list of references that I have found in various pieces of literature. No endorsement of statement of quality is intended.
- Actobotics – When I went to MicroCenter, I found a number of robotic parts that were listed under the brand name Actobotics. Some of these are now found on the ServoCity website but without the Actobotics branding. (The Actobotics branding still appears in some of the videos.) The trademark was apparently sold to SparkFun, with the web page being located at https://www.sparkfun.com/actobotics. Actobotics is now apparently a set of modular parts for building robot chassis.
- AdaFruit – The items sold on this web site are mainly designed for the Raspberry Pi microcomputer, although there are a few items for the Arduino microcontroller.
- Arduino This is the official site for information on the Arduino microcontroller. This is a very low cost microcontroller that is designed for a very small form factor and it can be embedded in DIY projects.
- Evil Mad Scientist – With a name like this, you can tell that they don’t take things too seriously.
- OSepp – Appears to be mainly oriented towards Arduino. Many of their products are carried at MicroCenter and mail order distributors.
- Pololu – A number of robotics kits.
- Raspberry Pi – This is the official site for the Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi is a low cost UNIX microcomputer and is designed for a very small form factor that can be embedded in DIY projects.
- RobotShop –
- ServoCity – They have a large selection of servos and motors for use in robots. Some of the Actobatics robot kits are now listed on the ServoCity website, but without the Actobatics branding. (The Actobotics brand name is still visible in some of the videos.)
- Solarbotics – A number of robotics kits and parts.
- Sparkfun – Robotics kits and parts.
- Technologic Systems – This appears to be another source of embedded computers. I’m not sure how useful it would be for robotics and electronics hobbyists.
- Tinkersphere – They have a brick and mortar store in New York City at 152 Allen Street, although they also sell online. Now that there is no more Radio Row in Manhattan, this might be worth looking at if you are visiting the city.
- Velleman – Although their main site is at https://www.velleman.eu, the American site is at https://www.vellemanusa.com. MicroCenter carries a number of items from this company as do many of the mail order firms in the USA..