Useful links and suppliers
So far most of my more interesting components have been purchased from Cool Components mainly because they’re UK based and they stocked stuff I was interested in. I found them via SparkFun which is a treasure trove of fun; unfortunately I can’t find UK distributors for much of the stuff they have available and at present I’m trying to avoid buying bits and pieces for this project from the US as the shipping is often more expensive than the order. Some of the less interesting electrical components have come from Maplin but Maplin doesn’t really have the range that I need. I toyed with ordering from Farnell but found I was getting carried away with their bounteous selection (and, there was always at least one item that they needed to order in from the US and that incurs an additional shipping charge…). Digikey is useful for working around the limitations of Farnell’s search system (I do an initial search on Digikey and then, once I have a selection of exact component numbers, I do a search on Farnell) and also for datasheets for stuff that you can’t find on Farnell. Also worth a mention is Dannell.4you on ebay which was useful for picking up some hard to find items.
Other places of interest and sources of ideas include…