A hardware hacker's kit

What I carry in my bag on the flight to a hackathon

So you’re a beginner to either hackathons or hardware hacking, and you’re not sure what to bring? Well, at HackDFW, we’ve got a pretty solid hardware setup, so you should have everything you need. At hackathons that aren’t as focused on hardware though, here’s an example list of what to bring. There’s also a section on helping you figure out which board to use for a project, and some cool hardware projects to inspire you.

You won’t need everything on this list; you’ll probably use less than a third of it for a single project, and you’ll probably have projects that might need something more than what I’ve listed. It’s always good to be prepared, though, and you can’t slap on another sensor in a hardware project as easily as you can download and require another library in a software project.

What you’ll want:


Here are some things that it’d be hard to really make a hardware project without:


Some things that’ll make working with hardware a lot easier:

Input and Output:

You can’t do much with just the list of above items. You’ll need some of the following, depending on what you’re working on, to get a solid project.

Small components:

These are smaller, more basic components, which aren’t mounted on a board of their own.

Larger Components:

Additional Power:

For powering your board or components that require more voltage

Where to get them?

So now that you know what to get, where do you get it? If you’re looking for reliability, use Amazon, Adafruit, or my favorite of the three (because of their nice guides and docs), Sparkfun. If you’re looking to save money (and it does cost a decent amount), check out Aliexpress for components, and your local dollar tree for superglue/electric tape/pliers/etc.

Which board to use?

So, each board is useful for different things. For this, I’m just going to be comparing the three most popular: Arduino UNO, Raspberry Pi 2, and Particle Photon.

There are a few factors that I consider when picking a board: * Setup time * Usage * Language

Setup Time:

Basically, for setup time, Uno > Photon > Raspi.



Some cool hardware projects!

If you’re looking for inspiration, here are a few hardware projects to check out: