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China Goodies – Gearbest.com – Arduino Bits

A review for some Arduino related items we recently received from Gearbest.com. A cheap Arduino Mega compatible board, LCD/Keyboard shied, Acrylic mounting plate for Arduino and a simple cable.  Each one with some details on cost and function. Click on the pictures to visit the product page at Gearbest.

Generally, I’m amazed at the variety and often surprised at the quality of the products from China, considering the price paid.  Yes much of it is lower quality, you are not going to pay $1 for something that would normally cost you $100 and be happy with the result.

One of the major differences you will notice when purchasing from China is the time it takes to receive your items. Typically you will wait 2 or three weeks but it could take longer. You will also notice that most suppliers don’t charge for shipping which surprises me.

The language barrier is evident on the Chinese sales sites. You will notice that everything seems to be Arduino compatible, even things like LEDs… They have picked on the Arduino craze and milk it like crazy.  The descriptions of  the products is often strangely worded and it’s often clear the writer does not understand the product or the market.  But it’s good enough that you can find what you need.

I wonder about starting a consulting gig, where I would go to these sites and get paid to clean up the product descriptions.  They ought to hire some Arduino nerds to clean up things, they would benefit in more sales.

 

LCD1602 Character LCD Keypad Shield: $4.47/each

Pretty much exactly what you see.  A standard 1602 2×16 character display with backlight and 6 buttons.  The LCD is interfaced using 4 DIO signals and the keyboard is done using a resistive ladder trick so that only one A/D input is used.

One of the switches, on the far right, is a reset button. One complaint on this.. it’s easy to hit reset when you mean to tap a regular key.  Also, it can take some tweaking to get the values just right in your code to read the switches.

There are other sources for the same design, I feel that this lower cost version works fine.

Arduino Compatible DIY Mega 2560 R3 Board and Keypad Shield 1602 LCD Board: $22.95

This is a combination of the above LCD Shield and an Arduino Mega 2560.   Read above for more about the shield.

The Arduino Mega works fine and seems to be of high production quality. The quality on this is apparently equal to any board I’ve ordered without regard to the supplier.

My biggest concern here is that it feels wrong to get so much for so little in cost. I personally would order my Arduino boards from a local registered supplier such as Sparkfun for $50/each.   With that said this board works great and is very inexpensive, if you are on a tight  budget and don’t mind waiting…

 

Arduino UNO R3 Compatible Acrylic Platform Plate: $2.08/each

This acrylic plate is convenient to use with your solderless breadboard to keep your wires from pulling out of the Arduino connectors when things move.  Not much else could be said about this product. It works as designed. Simple and inexpensive.

 

 

Extension Cable for Arduino – 8.5 Inch / 21.5cm:  $2.04/Each

Another simple product, just an 8-pin header connector cable. Funny they mention Arduino in the name but no Arduino I know of has an 8-pin header. Some have a 6-pin one…

The quality is good and the price is amazing. These kinds of cables require hand assembly which drives the cost. In China, labor cost are low, obviously.

Comments Please: Let me know in the comments what you think.  Have you found a great deal, bad quality, etc…

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