Radio Shack listened: kits now in stock

Radio Shack is now selling educational electronics kits. Walk in in to your nearest store and you will findĀ  about 20 kits ranging small (transistor)blinky to a USB Experiment Interface Board with a Microchip pic18. the kits are manufactured by Velleman, and come with all through-hole components, so a beginner can solder together a kit in no time.

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  1. wow — that makes filling in all those on-line surveys beating the DIY/hobbyist drum worth it!

  2. The sad thing is that most of the stuff sold at Radio Shack is way too overpriced. But I guess it could be a good choice for the casual hobbyists.

  3. You can get it cheaper from the catalog. You are basically paying rent for convenience. Their sales people don’t all understand what I need because the soldering iron I bought from them was too big to do through the hole soldering for small boards. What they could do is have training classes like Home Depot or Lowes has for houses.

    Hobby kits are great for kids or learning how to solder but I’m left not being excited. They basically caved for a provider of materials that are cheap because their markup on an Arduino would probably cost you about $40 or more for the same thing you can get online.

    They need to hire another engineer like Forrest Mimms and create a lot of things new with microprocessors.

    The Velleman kits aren’t all up to speed. One of the kits say “Not compatible with USB to Serial converters!” so you basically need a serial converter that brings out all of the handshake lines.

    But if you like building blinky lights, they have a couple of kits.

    1. i personalty went into radio shack for some need it now things. they had about 20 kits in stock.

      if you want pointers or advice on soldering and less expensive kits the forum here is a great resource and there is nearly always someone ready to respond.

  4. The Velleman stuff was really good 10 years ago, but it’s seriously dated now compared to the kit that open hardware companies (SFE, Olimex, Dangerous Prototypes, Adafruit, Seeed etc) sell.

    In particular some of their kit requires a *real* PC RS232 (USB/RS232 converters may not work!). PCs with RS232 are about as common as CRT monitors and vinyl records nowadays.

    Perhaps the one advantage they retain is that they are self assemble… so you get to practise your soldering skills.

  5. I do admit there is still room for improvement. The salesman agreed the prices were to high. they actually hired somebody with enthusiasm about electronics, and not somebody who will walk away when they see you go to that corner of the store.

  6. Finally! While on my trip to Germany, the electronics stores I visited (much like a Radioshack) had a wall of various kits ranging from door keypads to variable power supplies. I really hope there is enough interest in US stores to validate stocking these.

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