Analog Parts KitHere's a cool kit of parts for folks who want to experiment with analog circuits.
Digilent, Inc is an interesting company that specializes in creating boards and kits for educational purposes. The sell all of the usual sorts of hardware like FPGA and PSoC boards. But they don't neglect the analog part of the embedded world, and have some very interesting products in that domain.
One is the Analog Discovery, a low-cost USB scope I reviewed here: http://www.ganssle.com/tem/tem233.html. A companion product is the Analog Parts Kit, which is exactly what you'd expect from the name. It's a box packed with all sorts of components for playing with analog circuits. Clearly they have a relationship with Analog Devices as the ICs all come from that company and Analog's logo is splashed across their web site. No problem there; I've been a fan and user of Analog's parts since just a few years after their founding in 1965.
The kit includes a wide selection of passives like resistors, capacitors, pots, and inductors. The active devices cover a pretty broad range, including transistors, diodes, LEDs, op amps, voltage regulators, and references. But there's also an instrumentation amp and matched transistor packages. Serious parts for serious analog work. Sensors abound, which makes it possible to build some pretty cool circuits. These include current, magnetic, vibration, and temperature sensors, as well as an accelerometer and photocell.
There's also a 6.5" X 1.25" solderless breadboard with 70 jumper wires with pin ends.
Click on image to enlarge.
Analog Parts Kit - I lifted this pic from Digilent's web site.
It does a poor job of showing the wealth of included components.
Ten of the supplied ICs are SMT devices, which would normally create all sorts of headaches for experimenters. But these are cleverly mounted on tiny little PCBs which plug directly into the prototyping board.
DIPizing an SMT part.
The Kit comes with zero documentation. For instance, we pros know what "104" means on a capacitor, but the novice will be clueless. The Kit's web page mentioned earlier does have a picture of each component, which helps. And there's a very helpful link to each part's datasheet.