The ADALP2000 Analog Parts Kit contains a wide range of components that are a great place for someone just starting to explore electronics and electrical engineering to get the basics. But, as you would expect, given the $45 price budget, it can’t contain everything. In this Blog post I would like to suggest some things to consider as add-ons to make using the kit easier and take things to another level.
The solderless breadboard that shipped with the kit does not include the power distribution bus strips that come with some breadboards. Not having these buses to easily connect multiple ICs and other parts to power and ground can lead to messy and complicated wiring on the board and make debugging your circuit more difficult than it needs to be. The good news is that add-on power strips are available that can snap onto the sides of the board. Breadboard Power Bus Strips:
They are available from multiple sources on the Web. Jameco has this package of 2 connected bus strips, breadboard strips snap together to form larger working areas. Each bus strip has 2 buses with red and blue lines: One for Power and one for Ground,100 Contact points per bus strip, breadboard size: 6.5"L x 0.4"W
For not much more money you can buy another solderless breadboard that already has the power buses included. You can then snap the breadboard from the kit to the side of that for even more space to build your circuits. These solderless breadboards also come in smaller half sizes as well.
Another thing to add which is both a time saver and way to neater wiring is to pick up one of these kits of pre-bend and stripped jumper wires. They are shaped like staples and lie flat against the breadboard unlike the longer flexible male to male jumper wires provided in the ALP2000 kit. While you could buy a roll ( or multiple rolls for different colors ) of solid 22 or 24 gauge hook-up wire, cut, strip and bend your own set of jumpers, this is a much less time consuming way to go.
They are available from multiple sources with different numbers of jumpers.
The passive components, resistors, capacitors etc. in the kit come with relatively long leads and while this can be useful to span across rows of breadboard pins longer than just the body of the component, it is often neater to cut the leads shorter and bend the leads down near the component body much like the wire jumpers just mentioned. Adding pair of small long nose pliers, wire cutters ( also called diagonal cutters ), and wire strippers to your tool kit can be a very good idea. Small hand tools like this are available from multiple brick-and-mortar stores and online websites.
A low cost DMM such as this would be a great addition as well:
More details on DMMs can be found in this earlier Blog entry:
The kit contains a rather wide selection of ADI ICs but again for $45 can’t include every possible ADI part that you might want to use in your circuits. Here is a short list of some suggested parts from ADI that you might find useful and by the way are still available in PDIP packages which will fit nicely in your solderless breadboard.
- ADG608/ADG609 single 8:1 or dual 4:1 analog multiplexers.
- ADG512/ADG513 quad SPST analog switches
- AD8402/AD8403 dual or quad digital Pots
- AD7303 8 bit dual voltage output DAC
- AD633 analog multiplier ( or higher bandwidth AD835 )
- ADM660/ADM8660 CMOS switched capacitor voltage converters. Can be used to either double or invert a power supply voltage. Great to use with the ADALM1000 hardware which only provides a +5 V supply.
- ADP1111 step-up/step-down switching voltage regulator. The adjustable version would provide the most flexibility in the possible output voltages.
As always I welcome comments and suggestions from the user community out there.