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ME 121 Required Equipment

Each student in ME 121 will use the Arduino Experimenter's Kit and software that was used in the prerequisite course, ME 120. For ME 121, each team will also need the additional equipment listed below.


Refer to the LCD display and OLED display pages for descriptions of display requirements and options.

Large Breadboard


  • Minimum Quantity: One per team.
  • Purpose: To provide room to implement additional circuits for controlling the fishtank. We recommend a breadboard with about the same number of holes as the one shown in the picture (840 tie-point breadboard).
  • Source: Various sources, including Electronic Prototyping Lab (EPL), URS, Amazon, Sparkfun, Adafruit, …
  • Approximate Cost: $3 - $20

DC Power Supply: 12 V, 2 Amp (minimum)

power_supply.jpg power_supply2.jpg

  • Minimum Quantity: One per team of four students
  • Purpose: The power supply is necessary for the solenoids and heater used in the fishtank system. At least a 2A at 12 VDC capacity is needed.
  • Source: Various electronics supply stores. Amazon has a big selection. Used power supplies are available at Free Geek and other recyclers. You probably have several in your closet or a junk drawer. Just make sure that the power supply meets the 12 VDC and 2A requirement.
  • Approximate Cost: $5 - $20

Project box and switches

Note that there are variations on the electrical box with switches. One solution , shown here, is to use a project box and rocker switches. Another solution, shown below, is to use the electrical boxes and dual switches common to 110 VAC household wiring.

  • Minimum Quantity: One per team of four students
  • Purpose: The individual switches allow you separately control the power to the pump and to the electronics.There are many types of rocker switches and toggle switches. Make sure you get an on/off type rocker or toggle switch, not a a momentary type switch.
  • Source: Electronic supply stores. Note that rocker switches and toggle switches can be recycled/reused from old electrical equipment. Before you throw any electronic equipment away, deconstruct it to salvage parts.
  • Source: Local electronics stores or Amazon
  • Approximate Cost: $7 to $12 for a project box; $0.50 to $3 each for toggle switches

Terminal blocks for two circuits


  • Minimum Quantity: One per team of four students
  • Purpose: The terminal block allows connection of the input power to the always-on side of the switches. Details of installation are provided in the class notes. The terminal block also provides strain relief in case someone accidentally yanks on the power supply cord.
  • Source: Local electronics stores like URS or Frys. Some autopart stores have terminal blocks.
  • Approximate Cost: $1 to $3

Barrel Jack

  • Minimum Quantity: One per team of four students
  • Purpose: To make it easy to disconnect the power supply so that the fish tank can be transported. Make sure the gender of your barrel jack is opposite of the gender of your power supply. In other words, if the power supply has a male plug, the barrel jack should be female, and vice versa.
  • Source: Local electronics stores or scavenged from used electronics, or purchased from part number 2099121 (for a 2.5 mm jack) or from part number 159506 (for a 2.1 mm jack).
  • Approximate Cost: $2

Drill Bit Set: 1/6 to 1/4 inch

  • Minimum Quantity: One per team of four students
  • Purpose: You need to have your own bits to drill whatever size hole you want as you complete your projects for the remainder of the year. Remember to only drill in a shop environment (not on surfaces that you are apt to damage).
  • Source: Various sources, including most hardware stores. You don't need an expensive, high precision, set for this class
  • Approximate Cost: $5 - $15
equipment.txt · Last modified: 2020/01/24 14:07 by gerry