Lesson 0: Project Overview and Purchasing Parts

In this introductory lesson we take a high level overview of this guided project and explain how to purchase the components we will need for the remainder of the lessons. A zoom recording of this lecture can be found here

Google Form to Get Parts Shipped to You

Shipping Form

Project Overview

This year’s hardware project will teach you how to build an analog step sequencer using a few integrated circuits and a handful of discrete components. An analog step sequencer is a device that can generate different tones and then play those tones in a sequence to form a melody. Step Sequencer

Changes this year

Due to the remote circumstances of this quarter/year, the nature of the hardware project has inevitably changed from past years. The main differences being:

This Lesson

Due to the time delay that comes with purchasing parts, the components must be purchased as soon as possible. Therefore this lesson will mainly go over how to purchase the components which are required for the remaning lessons. However, I will also discuss from a high level what we will do in the remaining lessons so that you can decide if you are interested in the project before spending money on components.

Lesson 1-5 Overview

After this lesson, there will be 4-5 more lessons (depending on how much I can cover each lecture) in which we will build and discuss each circuit required for this project.

Lesson 1: Introducing electronic components

Lesson 2: Using ICs and the 555 timer

Lesson 3: Sound Synthesis

Lesson 4: The 4017 IC and Counting

Lesson 5: Putting it all together

Purchasing Components

If this project sounds interesting and you want to buy the components, the rest of the lesson explains how to do so. Below I explain two methods of purchasing the components.

Method 1: Bulk Distribution

The first method to get the components is for me to buy all the parts in bulk, and ship them out to each person. This method will cost ~$13 per person and the parts should arrive by the weekend of the next lesson.

Method 2: Individual Purchase

The second method to get the components is to individually purchase the components directly from the retailer. This method has two different shipping methods which makes it ~$16.50-$22 (the cheap shipping option takes 2 weeks to arrive so you will not have components by the next lecture). A few things to note about this method.

BOM (Bill of Materials)

There are many distributers of electronic components (Digikey, Mouser, Arrow, Amazon, Ebay …), each with pros and cons. I found that Digikey had good availability and pricing for most of the components needed which are listed below. The other two components needed that are not part of the Digikey BOM are the breadboard and jumper wires which I found a decent price for on Ebay, also listed below.


For Digikey there are essentially two options for shipping, I have used both with no issues.

  1. USPS First Class Mail (~3 days), Price: $4.99
    • I prefer this method because I don’t mind the five extra dollars, it is straightforward, and my parts have always arrived in 3 days or less
  2. Free shipping by mailing a physical order form with a check (~2 weeks), Price: ~$0.50 for the stamp
    • If you don’t want to pay the five dollar shipping fee and don’t mind filling out an order form, mailing a letter (need a stamp as well ~$0.50), and waiting an extra week for parts, then this is another option. I have tested this option and received my parts with no issues but there is always a risk of letters getting lost in the mail so just a warning.
    • The order form can be downloaded here and the only sections that need to be filled out are the Ship to and Bill to sections.

For Ebay the shipping is free and should take ~ 1 week or less

Digikey BOM

Part Quantity Price(Total) Link
555 IC 1 0.43 https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/texas-instruments/SE555P/296-9684-5-ND/380221
556 IC 1 0.53 https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/texas-instruments/NE556N/296-6504-5-ND/372495
4017 IC 1 0.53 https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/texas-instruments/CD4017BE/296-2037-5-ND/67253
LEDs 8 1.12 https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/cree-inc/C5SMF-RJF-CT0W0BB1/C5SMF-RJF-CT0W0BB1-ND/4793808
500K potentiometer 11 2.45 https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/panasonic-electronic-components/EVN-DJAA03B55/DJA55CT-ND/274655
1K Ohm Resistor 3 0.3 https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/CF14JT1K00/CF14JT1K00CT-ND/1830350?itemSeq=341252346
330 Ohm Resistor 10 0.36 https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/CF14JT330R/CF14JT330RCT-ND/1830338?itemSeq=341252407
BJT 8 1.36 https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/2N3904-AP/2N3904-APCT-ND/950591?itemSeq=341251932
0.01uF Capacitor 1 0.18 https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/K103K10X7RF5UH5/BC2662CT-ND/2356876?itemSeq=341251921
0.1uF Capacitor 2 0.44 https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/K104Z15Y5VE5TH5/BC1154CT-ND/286776?itemSeq=341252056
10uF Capacitor 2 0.2 https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/w%C3%BCrth-elektronik/860020372001/732-8788-1-ND/5728733
Diode 10 0.54 https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/on-semiconductor/1N4148TR/1N4148FSCT-ND/9356376
Audio Connector 1 0.64 https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/kycon-inc/STX-3000/2092-STX-3000-ND/9975995
9v Battery 1 1.9 https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/panasonic-bsg/6LF22XWA-B/P687-ND/5067196
Battery Clip 1 0.49 https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/keystone-electronics/232/36-232-ND/303804
Sub-Total   11.47  
Tax   0.90  
Tariff   0.20  
Shipping option 1   4.99  
Shipping option 2   0.50  
Digikey Total   Shipping Option 1: $17.56
    Shipping Option 2: $13.07

Ebay BOM

Part Quantity Price(Total) Link
Breadboard & wires 1 4.99 https://www.ebay.com/itm/Breadboard-Power-Supply-with-breadboard-and-wire-AMS1117-5V-3-3V-Ship-from-USA/254557636983?hash=item3b44d14977:g:1AQAAOSwPp9edSQE
Tax   0.39  
Ebay Total   5.38  

Total: Shipping Option 1: $22.94
  Shipping Option 2: $18.45

Final Notes

While this project seems a little bit expensive there are ways to make it cheaper

  1. If you already have a 9V battery then that bumps down the price down by $1.90. Don’t forget to remove it from your order
  2. If you have Amazon Prime you may be able to find some components for less
  3. If you already have a breadboard and jumper wires then that will bump down the price by $5.38
  4. If you live near anyone building this project then you can combine your orders together and split the shipping fee. Also, the price of some components will reduce dramatically if you order them in bulk (10, 25, 50, 100 …) so the more people in an order, the cheaper it becomes. Everyone in Sanata Barbara at the moment could combine their order and ship to one location.

In a typical year the club would purchase all the components in bulk which would make the total price significantly cheaper, but unfortunately we are remote and must adapt and be creative to get around these challenges

Even if you can’t get the project to be cheaper, a lot of these components are reusable for future projects and ECE labs. For example, you won’t need to purchase a breadboard or wires for future labs.

If you are having any issues with this process feel free to email me any time for assitance. gcooper@ucsbieee.org