Planning ideas and unusual prep needs
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Planning ideas and unusual prep needs

by livlab on Thu May 05, 2016 10:55 am

Hi all,

TL;DR: I'm moving to Rwanda for 1 (or 2) years, where electronic parts and tools will be hard to come by. What should I bring with me?

I've wanted to get into electronics and hacking with Arduinos, etc for a long time but haven't been able to. However, come July I will be moving to Rwanda and will have actual time to do this. While I am thrilled, I am also worried I need to bring everything I might need with me, thus the need to plan upfront and purchase what I need in advance. It is hard to plan for this when I don't know what I don't know.

I have a soldering kit, a getting started with electronics kit and a budget pack for Arduino I got a couple of years ago (sadly still untouched) so that's my starting point. I've read all the things and watched all the videos so I know the next question is always "what do you want to do?":

    I want to learn how electronics work at a fundamental level and am interested in exploring sensors in order to play with the data they generate (I'm newish to programming). I don't feel strongly about any particular domain at this time.
    I plan to do some serious gardening while in Kigali so any gardening related projects would be good (sensing temperature, soil moisture, etc)
    I have a 3 year-old and would like to both involve her in the making and create things she can interact with (buttons are very attractive to 3 year-olds so buttons + LEDS = success).

Knowing this, what advice do you have for me? What additional tools, materials, kits, shields, etc do you think are worth investing in now so I can bring along? Shipping things there is really not viable and I don't know if I will be back home in the interim.

Thanks in advance!

(Not sure if this is the best place to post this. Let me know if it should go elsewhere)

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Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:43 pm

Re: Planning ideas and unusual prep needs

by franklin97355 on Thu May 05, 2016 2:07 pm

There is a distributor in Kenya. You might contact them to see what they have and what they can get for you. If you are just getting started the ARDX pack is a good learning system.

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Re: Planning ideas and unusual prep needs

by Disciple on Thu May 05, 2016 5:18 pm

I've seen news articles about interest in sustainable energy on the rise in African nations. Maybe the solar or wind power projects might be useful?

And Circuit Playground currently is available as a developer edition, but it has great potential for kid fun (if I followed the description properly). Some alligator leads, spoons, and a bit of programming could create a musical touch instrument with color lights, or a sci-mon style memory game, or..?

...and how can you beat Ladyada's Electronics Toolkit and Adafruit Parts Pal?
(Don't forget the international power converters.)


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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.