Nice Things from AliExpress

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When building your own electronics projects, it's useful to be able to get certain modules and supplies ready made, especially if they're cheaper than you're building your own. Here's a selection of things that I recently got from AliExpress that I think are excellent value.

There's a long and interesting thread at Mikrocontroller.net forums about cheap stuff from China, which I did get a couple of suggestions from.

Unless mentioned otherwise, all items have free shipping.

DC-DC Step Down Converter, 1.5 to 28V, 3A, LM2596, about 0,50€/piece

http://www.aliexpress.com/snapshot/6271054844.html

Works as designed, and can't be beat on price. Adjusting for small voltages is a bit finicky, but definitely works. I'm using this for both 3.3V as well as 5V off 12V or 24V rails.

ESP8266 WiFi Serial module, board ESP-1 with GPIO, about 3€/pience

http://www.aliexpress.com/snapshot/6213181464.html

As of late October 2014, there is a public SDK for the chip, but I have yet to flash my own custom-built firmware into one of them. The forum at http://www.esp8266.com/ has more info.

100 WS2812B LEDs with cap, series resistor, about 0,15€/piece

http://www.aliexpress.com/snapshot/6146214213.html

This board has v-cuts, so you can break the 10mm-diameter boards off. Three pads for in, three for out allow quick soldering of cable to eack LED. The boards include a 100nF cap, and a series resistor on DIN to protect the input.