How Computers Really Work

Parts List

This page lists the components used in the hands-on projects of How Computers Really Work. Links to online stores where you can purchase the parts are included for each item. This is not an endorsement of these particular stores or manufacturers, but simply a tool to help you find the components you need.


These are basics you'll need for the electronics projects.

Breadboard, 830 point
9-volt battery
9-volt battery clip
LEDs, red, 5mm or 3mm
2N2222 / PN2222 transistors
Push buttons for breadboards
Alligator clips

Jumper Wires

You'll need male/male jumper wires in the early projects and male/female jumper wires in Chapter 13. You can purchase them separately from Adafruit or together in an assortment from Amazon.

Jumper wires, male/male
Jumper wires, male/female
Jumper wires, both


You'll need a 220 µF capacitor and a 10 µF capacitor in Chapter 6. You can purchase them separately from Adafruit or together in an assortment from Amazon.

220 µF capacitor
10 µF capacitor
Capacitor assortment

Integrated Circuits

These integrated circuits are used in Chapters 4, 5, and 6. You'll need two of the 7473 IC for Project #11, and you may wish to order a spare for every IC, in case of damage or in case you wish to experiment.

7402 integrated circuit
7408 integrated circuit
7432 integrated circuit
7473 integrated circuit
7486 integrated circuit

5-volt Power Supply

You'll need a 5-volt power supply for the digital circuits in Chapters 4, 5, and 6. Below are some options for providing power. You only need one of these options (micro USB breakbout, breadboard supply, AA batteries), or you can use a Raspberry Pi to provide power. See the appendix section "Powering Digital Circuits" in the book for details.

micro USB breakout board
micro USB charger
Breadboard power supply
9V DC power supply, 2.1mm
AA battery holder
AA batteries

Raspberry Pi

If you choose to perform the Raspberry Pi projects, you'll need these items. You'll also need a USB keyboard, a USB mouse, and a TV or monitor that supports HDMI input.

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B
Raspberry Pi 4 power supply
HDMI cable for Raspberry Pi 4
microSD card, 8GB or larger


These tools are helpful when working with circuits. The wire strippers may be needed for the 9-volt battery clip and the AA battery holder.

Digital multimeter
Wire strippers