1. Simple multimeter - between 85 and 325, depending on the brand/functionality. Get a basic one that measures voltage, current, resistance, gain, continuity. Don’t bother with the flux meters unless you’re planning on doing some heavy current related work. Don’t even consider it unless you’re in electrical. Even if you are in electrical, you’ll be fine without one.
2. 25W soldering iron - Soldron, Rs140. Get a good one. Don’t compromise. Don’t buy the imitation ones the are priced at around 80. You DO NOT want to get burned/lived with a bad soldering iron. Figuratively and literally. You could get an extra tip when you buy your soldering iron. Get the pointed copper ones.
3. Pre fluxed solder wire, Rs30. Get some de-soldering wick as well- Rs.7 I think.
4. Wire stripper/cutter/crimper (Rs10-20)
5. Smooth file (Rs 10). You might get this in an old nail cutter.
6. Wire - single strand hookup wire (Rs3 per m) for use on solderless bread boards, and multistrand cable( Rs6-10 per m)- usually in sets of 10 wires. You could get some ribbon cable as well for autonomous bots.
7. Breadboards - solderless at 50-70, and stripboards at between 10-40
8. A few resistors, capacitors, molex connectors (you can get these from old computers), pots (potentiometers) diodes and transistors - depends on the quantity you buy. If you can buy in bulk, (you and a few friends together, and then share) these things are ridiculously cheap. In retail, most of this stuff is between .5 to 1.5 Rs.
9. Some LEDs (Re1 each) and push buttons (Rs2 each). You might find DPDT switches for about Rs5
10. A variable power supply. You could get one from Visha/Gala for I think 100-150, but you could make your own if you have the right parts to salvage from. 1.2 to 18V should see you through most circumstances. If you’re recycling your computer’s power supply, do note that they use switched mode DC. It might be filtered as well, so you should be careful of which points you tap the supply from.
11. When buying voltage regulators, be careful enough to only buy original ones. The fakes cost 2 bucks less, but they blow off very easily and often and cause a lot of headache when they have to be replaced. A LM7805 (5V Regulator) costs Rs.7
12. A microcontroller- ATMega or PIC- begins at about 50 for the most basic chips and goes up depending on the size of the address bus(16bit, 32bit, etc.) and the bells and whistles you add. Dont use microcontrollers until you have some familiarity with the other electronic components. Hang around with someone who knows how to use them before using them yourself. It’s really easy for you to blow them up.
The Atmega Series of Microcontrollers are easy to use and cost about Rs. 120 a pop. They come with a lot of features embedded and are great for beginners as well as advanced users. But the advice for not working with controllers without prior experience of discrete components need not hold true, since you can always buy kits from one of the sites on the right (I’d recommend Robokits) and work on them as opposed to sitting and figuring out how stuff works.
13. A 16×2 character LCD based terminal for Rs100-120. (Same advice as above)
14. Motors- Rs125 (12V dc- 300rpm) onwards. Depends on the power output, size and type. DC Motors are useful everywhere. Stepper motors can be useful for certain functions if you know how to wire them up. You can find stepper motors in your old printers. Low power/low voltage DC motors can be found in old stereo cassette systems- take those apart, it’s not like anyone uses cassettes anymore.
15. Crocodile clips- Rs3 to 5.
16. Analogue ICs- Motor drivers, amplifiers, comparators, regulators, (IR/light) detectors, etc- Prices vary. An L293D typically costs about Rs.60 . Bargain for these. Don’t ask me for advice on bargaining. I’m no good at it. Take someone who’s good along. You could save a lot.
A lot of this stuff can be found in old hardware/electronic items. Don’t chuck off everything. Open them up and see what you might need. You could also get some of this stuff from seniors when they’re leaving college. All the prices are Lamington road standard rates. They vary from shop to shop. So go early and go often- Not two days before the competition/due date.
Here's a map of Lamington Road (for those who haven't made their first trip to Lamington Road yet) with shops we generally buy from :