Electronic DIY startup. What big tools do you need for comfortable work?

I have started my journey into the world of electronic DIY-stuff.

Yet I have only made kits, but I have found that a good way to learn the basics.
If you look at the kit at the left, that is a transistor/capacitor/resistor tester, that I had to make twice. The first one wouldn't work for some reason, but the seller on ebay quicly sent me e new one, and that one worked fine, after I had put it together.

At the left, you can see the picture of the non-working one and the one that worked. Below you can see how it looked when it came to me.

The acrylic box is not on the parts-picture, but it came with the kit, so the thing is quite complete. Mine run om a 9v battery, that I found place for behind the PCB to the battery,

Now this might be the single most useful tool I have made. I can test resistors and a lot of other parts, ensuring that I use the right parts on the right place.

If you want one, search for the frase; «GM328 Transistor Tester Diode LCR ESR Meter PWM Square Wave Generator DIY Kit» on ebay.

On this blog, you will be able to follow me as I learn working past the kits. My plan is to work with micro controllers, as Aduino or SMT32. The SMT32 has 32-bit system and more memory then the Arduino, but since the Arduino that is 8-bit, also is open source, there is a huge chance that the Aruino platform will be the one I'll go for.

I have bought some of both, so stay tuned for updates.

As my journey past kits really starts about now, we first need to have a look on what one might need to have this hobby. First the big, as in a little expensive, tools you want to have.

What you need/want to have of equipment.

The tools I have found to be good are the tools I'll show here. In order to be able to do everything I have collected info and then tools, so I can work like a proffesional, but still get what I need for a reasonable price:

Solderin iron/-station

The TS100 soldering iron is an open source soldering iron that will work as a full soldering station. As you get it, it comes without power supply, so a good idea is to order that at the same time, or just order a kit with all in it.

The iron will typically cost about 50€, a full kit about 80€. Before this little gem, a soldering staion could easily cost a few houndred euros and up.

I am ever so pleased with mine. I run mine at 19v and then it uses 11 seconds to get all warmed up to 350°C.

Hot air station

If you are to do a lot of SMD-soldering (Surface Mounted Devices) or if you need to unsolder a bit, a hot air station is nice to have.

I found this all in one blower for about 50€ on ebay. It works perfectly and comes with different tips so you can contol the size of the air flow in addition to the air speed and temperature. Mine came with Farenheit and not Celcius measurments, but that's just a minor error that I easily can live with.

I use it a lot to get free parts from old electronics as printers, computers and other electronic equipment that's going to recycling.

Remember to get the correct plug for your wall socket!

Power supply

You will need a power supply to test your projects.

This is the type I bought, and I found that too for about 50€

Just be sure to find one with the wall plug that works locally for you.

Magnifying glass/Microscope

A lot of what you do is done on very small components, so you will need a magnifying glass, even for THT (Through Hole Tecnology) soldering.

I bougt this for about 50€ and it's doing a great job for me.

For SMD soldering with tiny components and little place to put them, a magnifying glass like this will not be enough. You need more magnification.

I have an Android phone with an OK camera, so I installed Cozy Magnifying glass/Microscope that's done a great job for me. To remove the annoying ads, costed 2€, and I just put it on the edge of my magnifying glass.

It works there, but yhe magnifying glass sways a bit back and forth, so I have decided to make a bit more solid stand for it.

Other then that, it works perfectly and can (on my phone) magnify up to 19 times. More than enough.

My next article will be about all the little things, like soldering tin, flux and so on, you'd want if you are to do this as a hobby - but comfortable and being able to do what you want, so stay tuned for tge contuniuation!!

I will also look into what you want to have in your component box, 'cos you will need one of those too.

As soon as I get time for it, I will add a contact form for theese pages, so you can contact me if you need some hints or help to find equipment. I just need to install and configure «Capcha» first, so I don't have to get all the automated mail mostly from Russia.