What's your best advice on buying components to your projects?
I've recently gotten started and built a couple of MYS nodes and other Arduino projects. The local electronics store (Radioshack-style) are happy to sell me much of what I need - ranging from Pro Minis and sensors to boxes and battery holders. But they charge 5-20 times more than Aliexpress and eBay. On the other hand, quality varies when ordering from China and delivery times are painful at best.
With the mindboggling number of sellers on eBay and Aliexpress, I often find myself spending too much time optimizing orders, trying to order from a minimal number of trustworthy suppliers. (I really prefer to have 2 and not 20 separate deliveries.)
On the other side of the spectrum there is Farnell, RS Components, Distrelec etc. They have slightly better prices than my local stores and unbeatable delivery times. But the sheer number of components they provide is often too much for me. (165 different rotary encoders to choose from at RS!)
How do you cope?
Do you have an online shopping strategy to relieve some of the pain?
My wishlist for a supplier include:
- Friendly prices (less than Aliexpress/eBay x 3)
- Reasonable shipping costs for small orders
- Delivery times within a week (I'm in the EU)
- Selection of the most common boards, sensors and other components.
Or is that too much to ask for?