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The oomlout Arduino Gift Guide 2014

Gareth Halfacree

That wondrous celebration of consumerism we like to call Christmas is almost upon us, and if you're struggling for a few last-minute gifts for the maker in your life you might like to take a look at our 2014 Gift Guide for inspiration. With old classics and some new surprises, we'd like to think there's something for everyone - provided that everyone likes Arduino, of course.

For Decoration: LED Pixels

Created by our friends over at Adafruit and based on the popular WS2812 red, green, blue (RGB) LEDs, the NeoPixel family is new to our stock - and just in time to decorate your living room or workspace. Each pixel is individually addressable, while an entire collection of them requires only one data pin on your microcontroller. The NeoPixel Shield is a good introduction to the concept, while the NeoPixel Ring offers a more interesting layout and lends itself to wearable use quite nicely. For the true Christmas feeling, though, you can't beat an LED Strip or more traditional LED Strand - but remember to pick up a high-current power supply for maximum brightness.

For The Beginner: The ARDX Starter Kit for Arduino

By far our most popular product, we created the ARDX Starter Kit after finding true beginners had no easy way to get started with the Arduino microcontroller platform. As well as the latest Arduino Uno R3 board and one of our handy prototyping bundles, we've packed a case full of every component you need to build 11 different circuits, detailed in a bundled Experimenter's Guide and accessible to all thanks to smart component layout sheets. If you're buying for someone who already has an Arduino board, we've got you covered: a board-free version is also available.

For the Tinkerer: Electronics Tool Kit

A new bundle we've assembled just in time to find its way under the tree, the Electronics Tool Kit packs together everything a maker needs to transition to hardware hacking. As well as a digital multimeter suitable for testing circuits and components, there's a soldering bundle with iron, stand and two metres of lead-free solder, a precision screwdriver, wire cutter and wire stripper plus needle-nosed pliers, all housed in a photogenic yet strangely mysterious cardboard box which is the only photograph we've had a chance to take of the brand-new bundle at the moment.

For the Minimalist: Breadboard Arduino-Compatible Kit (BBAC)

When you've been working with Arduino boards for a while, you'll likely come to a realisation that putting a full-fat board inside every project you want to make permanent is going to get expensive very quickly. Our Breadboard Arduino Compatible Kit fixes that with a bare-bones build-it-yourself package which nevertheless boasts full Arduino Uno compatibility. For beginners, it's a great way to better understand how an Arduino works and what its components do while the layout sheet makes assembly as easy as possible. For more advanced makers, it demonstrates how few components are required for complete Arduino compatibility. The kit includes everything you'll need bar a USB-to-TTL Serial Converter for programming and a standard 9V battery - so remember to pick both up before wrapping the kit up for Christmas to avoid disappointment!

For the Expert: 500 Resistor Kit & Premium Make Your Own Cable Kit

Electronics is the one field in which a valid answer to "what do you buy the person with everything" is "more resistors." No matter how many you buy, you can never seem to find the value you need when you need it - which is why we designed the 500 Resistor Kit. Packing 25 resistors of 20 of the most common values in a handy foldable package, it's a great way to ensure you always have what you need to-hand. Our final gift suggestion is an introduction to our Open Organisation Method for Parts, or OOMP, via the always-handy Premium Make-Your-Own-Cable Kit. As the name suggests, the kit includes everything you need to build custom-sized cables for standard 0.1" (2.54mm) header connections. With three lengths of wire in ten colours, organisation is a breeze and everything arrives pre-crimped and ready for quick assembly into whatever configuration you desire. The bundle even includes an OOMP-compatible K-Bin to store all the pieces in, so they're accessible when you need them and not cluttering up the desk.

We may be biased, but we'd say that's a pretty fair selection of present choices - and if you agree, you've got until 8PM on Friday the 19th of December to place your order to ensure delivery by Christmas, or 8PM on Monday the 22nd if you opt for Royal Mail Special Delivery at the checkout.

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