Top 10 Gifts for Engineers 2016

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Click Here for the 2017 Engineer's Gift Guide!

Even around the holidays, engineers can more often than not be found tucked away in their labs or workspaces hammering out the details of a new project or scratching their heads at the one that never seems to end. If you, on the other hand, are scratching your head as to what kind of a gift to give them this season, why not pick out something that makes their workspace a little more complete? To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of tools and toys perfect for the electronics engineer on your shopping list. 

1. LoRaWAN 868 Extreme Range Starter Kit               ~ $122

Get a little more connected this holiday season. With the world becoming more connected (and our projects too), there is a need to send data and respond to commands no matter where a system is. The LoRaWAN 868 Starter Kit from Libelium lets you experiment with the LoRaWAN standard, which allows for better range than cellular modems at extremely low power consumption. To give you an idea of the range, Amsterdam managed to cover the entire city using only 10 gateways. Now systems can stay connected everywhere without sacrificing battery power. How’s that for a holiday treat?

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10681

Libelium RF/Wireless Development Boards and Kits View

2. Solar Powered BLE Kit ~ $46

There’s no need to be blue this time of year when you’ve got the gift of Bluetooth low energy – it has the ability to help us connect lots of little sensors without needing a ton of power. This CYALKIT-E02 kit from Cypress lets you play with a sensor sending temperature and humidity data broadcasting over BLE – it is powered only by a small solar cell and is an excellent way to learn about keeping power profiles small while sending the data you need.

3. ICE40HX1K-BLINK-EVN ~ $37

Learning new tech is always fun, and now is a great time to experience the world of FPGAs, which are becoming more popular for extreme high performance computing like Machine Learning and Image Recognition. The Lattice Semi iCEblink40 HX1K is a small introduction to this world – it comes on a ready to go dev-board with 1024 Logic Cells, 68 3.3V I/Os, and a pinout that allows you to add some Arduino Shields onto it to get started. The HX1K is a great way to learn about these technologies that are making their way into many modern engineering projects from AI and Machine Learning to Quad Copters and Cameras.

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ICE40HX1K-BLINK-EVN

Lattice Semiconductor Programmable Logic Development Boards and Kits View

4. X NUCLEO IKS01A1 ~ $15

Being able to sense the environment around you is the first step to having a project that can react to external stimulus. The ST IKS01A1 is a full featured sensor add on board that can give you 9 degrees of freedom sensing with its accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer as well as providing barometric pressure, humidity, and temperature. Being pinned out for the Arduino layout means you can get started quickly and have high quality sensing data for whatever project you may be undertaking, be it the next warehouse sorting robot or a package delivery drone.

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Motion and Evironment Sensor | X NUCLEO IKS01A1

STMicroelectronics Sensor Development Boards and Kits View

5. Intel JOULE Kit ~ $373

So you have had a chance to play with the Raspberry Pi, the Arduino, and many other hobbyist boards, but now it is time to step it up. The Intel Joule has a ton of power and can handle encoding and displaying 4K video with a whole set of tools for understanding and reacting to that video, making it an excellent foundation for robotics or self-navigating systems. All this power comes in an incredibly small package with a breakout board that lets you get started quickly. 

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GT.PDKW

Intel Embedded System Development Boards and Kits View

6. Kinetis K66 Freedomboard ~ $63

Embedded electronics are getting more powerful at a quick pace, and it seems that many things nowadays are somehow related to the various ARM architectures. This Kinetis K66 Freedomboard from NXP gets you started with an ARM M4 processor quickly while allowing you to use Arduino compatible shields and has onboard Gyroscope, Magnetometer, and Accelerometers to let you experiment. The Freedom board is an excellent gift to get started with higher powered embedded electronics. 

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FRDM-K66F

NXP Semiconductors Embedded System Development Boards and Kits View

7. Weller Solder Stations ~ $326 and $112

As you get into making your own systems, prototyping your dreams, and seeing ideas come to life, it is nice to have a tool that can keep up. The Weller WD1003 soldering station gives you digital control over your temperatures, so you just tell it the temp you want and that is what you get. It also has three memory slots, so as you change component types it is quick to get to the temperature you need. This is a soldering station that can keep up with the needs of your projects and is an excellent workbench upgrade.

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WD1003

Weller Tools Soldering Irons and Stations View

The entry point to an electronics obsession is the humble pen soldering iron that plugs right into the wall, but as you get more involved it is nice to have fine temperature control. The Weller WES51 is a great upgrade to the electronics workbench, giving you fine control over the soldering temperature and letting you work with more components like microcontrollers. In addition, having the ability to change out tips lets you have the right tool for each soldering job. It’s a gift any engineer would love.

8. Weller WSB80 Solder Bath ~ $222

If you already have a Weller WD or WR series soldering station, this WSB80 Solder Bath can help speed up your timeline for those projects you’ve got sitting on the workbench. Using a solder bath, you can quickly tin wires and component leads, resulting in better solder joints and more reliable systems.

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T0052704099

Weller Tools Tools Other View

9. Weller RTW 1 Tweezers ~ $67

Moving from through hole to surface mount can present a new challenge when soldering components. Tweezers like these RTW 1’s from Weller make it easy to get chip resistors and other pieces onto the board and get your holiday project out the door.

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T0054465199

Weller Tools Tools Other View

10. Adafruit PCB Ruler ~ $4

This PCB ruler from Adafruit is an excellent stocking stuffer for the engineer in your life, giving them lots of useful information from basic measuring to wire gauge sizes and surface mount component layouts. 

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1554

Adafruit Industries Development Kits and Tools View

The holidays are fast approaching, but with this handy list, you won’t have any trouble finding that one special gift sure to make your favorite engineer smile. Happy holidays, from all of us at Arrow.

*Prices subject to change.

 

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