/ #EE lab kit #STORES 

Stores' EE lab kit

It was Wednesday the 17th of June 2020 when it all started. We just had a STORES meeting and decided it was time to check in with the staff of EE and CreaTe about the famous “Create kits” we sell at the Store. At the time I was the Administrator of Scintilla so that action point of course came down on me. So, at that Wednesday I thought, let’s get this show on the road, and I sent my first E-mail to the educational directors of both studies.

This introduced the STORES to a set of changes the study of Electrical Engineering was going to make to the kits. They had some big changes in store that enabled the students to do all the labs of the first year at home, “In case Corona decides to stay around next academic year”. In hindsight, all the work to come was not in vain, as I am writing this on the same night the country will go into a full-on lockdown. In the next few e-mails, we discussed the contents and ideas of the new kits and set a meeting to see what the STORES can do to help putting together the set.

The proposed new kit had little resemblance to the old Create-Kit. It contained more and a larger variety of components. It was also build around the Analog Discovery 2 (AD2) instead of the NI MyDAQ. This meant that it should also contain some first party peripherals for the AD2 like a breakout board. After we looked up the prices of the components in the catalogue of the university’s suppliers, we tallied up the prices to get an idea of the total cost for the students. We immediately came to the conclusion that it would be a very expensive (€250+) new kit if the university was to expedite it. After some more meetings the STORES decided we could do it better and I got to work on contacting our old associate in Shenzhen.

In the end, we managed to save over €100,- off of the retail price!

—Lars Holm, STORES and Scintilla member

Now comes the boring bit. Two months, a lot of WhatsApp messages to Shenzhen, and over 100 e-mails between me and the Educational staff of EE and CreaTe later, the kit was finalized and it was on its way to Enschede. In the end, we managed to save over €100,- off of the retail price! This included sourcing some parts in Shenzhen, creating our own STORES adapter PCB for the AD2 and using our existing connections with European wholesalers to get the best deal on the rest.

In the end, the STORES now distributes two types of electronics kit. The EE kit and the CreaTe kit. We’re all familiar with the CreaTe kit. They have been in stock for many, many years (and still are!). A simple and cheap Arduino uno kit that gets you started with most of your simple electronics projects. Then we have the new EE kit. This kit has way more to offer than the CreaTe kit as it includes many more components. It includes a large assortment of resistors, transistors, MOSfets, electrolytic/ceramic capacitors and inductors. It even contains some amplifier/timer chips and more exotic components as NTC’s and photodiodes. To top it off it also contains most of the original components of the CreaTe kit like an Arduino UNO, breadboard and accessories, jumpers and as a bonus even some power converters. All these components, and the ones I did not mention, make this a complete home-lab and home-tinker kit for electrical engineers!