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Advice Please: Setting Up A Home Electroinics Workshop

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Paladiamors, May 9, 2004.

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  1. Paladiamors

    Paladiamors Guest

    Hi there,

    I'm sort of new here and interested in learning more about electronics.
    I've don't a little electronics work at school and would love to setup a
    little lab space at home to work on stuff at home. I was wondering if
    anyone out there could give me some advice or reccomendations on invaluable
    tools or parts that you've found really helpful tools that really helped you
    working on electronics at home. I've got a short list of parts I'd like to
    get already, perhaps anyone out there would like to expand on this? Thanks

    Equipment for home electronics lab:

    -Soldering Iron
    -Soldering Wick
    -Solder sucker

    -Computer power supply (to use as +/- 12V, 5V power rails)
    -Resistors (recommendations on what values you like to stock up on would be
    -Capacitors (recommendations on these would be nice too)
    -Transistors (matched transistors, 0.5mA, 1A 4A transistors)
    -ICs: (LM555, LM741, Comparators)
    -Photo diodes
    -IR transmitter/recievers

    -PIC controllers
    -PIC programmers
    -Serial cables


  2. Rich Webb

    Rich Webb Guest

    Start with a "reasonable" soldering iron not a cheapie, copper-tipped
    wonder. The latter will work but you'll hate yourself...

    This won't break the bank
    and can take a range of tip sizes. I have one of their (Xytronic's)
    larger stations and I've been quite happy with it for a home setup.

    A bennie of Web Tronics aka Circuit Specialists is that web order over
    US$50 qualify for a freebie multimeter. It's not a Fluke, by any means,
    but I don't leave my Fluke in the garage, either. It's a "good enough"
    meter until you're ready for something more up-scale (no pun intended).
    Not the best idea. These often need a minimum load to stay in regulation
    and may need to have some control signals tickled. The other Bad Thing
    is that you don't have a user-settable current limiter so if you
    accidentally get something mis-wired then instead of getting a voltage
    foldback at the current limit, you will let the smoke out of a component
    or two. This may be more
    appropriate. Go up a link and there are also multiple-output supplies.

    Note: Web Tronics certainly isn't the only place that has this stuff.
    Jameco, JDR, Digikey, Mouser, Newark to name a few others. Shop around.
    Go to Jameco and pick up one of their resistor kits
    and capacitor kits.
    2N4401 / 2N4403 will get you started.
    The vintage 741 is, well, vintage. Expect to see it soon on the Antiques
    Roadshow. Perhaps an LM324 as the op amp and LM339 for a comparator.
    RS has a cheap xmtr/rcvr pair for non-modulated tinkering. Were you
    looking at "IR remote" apps where there's a 40KHz carrier?
    IN914 / 1N4148 and a few Schottky 1N5817, perhaps.
    If you have a choice, also look at the Atmel AVR line. Nicer instruction
    set and architecture. (hint: count the working registers available in
    each design)
  3. Oscilloscope
    Bench Supply

    Good ventilation
    Good lighting

    Soon or late the money to pay the State's mounting bills will have to
    be found, and there is only one place to look for it. That is in the
    pockets of persons who earn the communal income by doing some sort of
    useful work. Politicians never earn it, and neither do the uplifters.
    It must always come, in the last analysis, from men who go to work in
    the morning and labor hard all day.
    - H. L. Mencken
  4. Paul_Morphy

    Paul_Morphy Guest

    I'd go along with all of this, and I have the same soldering station. I
    think one device you're going to want fairly soon is an oscilloscope. Most
    of my work is with rf stuff, but I use my scope more than any other
    instrument. There are plenty of good, used scopes around. Get the best you
    can afford.

    Good lighting is important, too. If you're in the U.S., Northern Tool sells
    an illuminated magnifier that uses a floor stand for about $70.00, much less
    than the Luxo model.

  5. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Personally, I'd buy/build an adjustable supply - for some reason,
    I just don't trust a PC supply for the bench.
    100, 470, 1K, 2K2, 4K7, 10K, 22K, 47K, 100K, 220K, 470K, 1M, and
    whenever you need a different value for a project, order a bunch of
    them. Or you could go all-out and get one of those $100.00 assortments.
    A billion .1 uF for bypass, some 1uF tantalum for board-wide bypass,
    some 10, 220, 1000 alum. elec. and same as resistors (buy as needed +
    2N3904 NPN 2N3906 PNP (or any general-purpose: 2222/2907, 4401/4403)
    power transistors as needed
    556 dual timer, LM324 quad opamp, maybe some TIL082/TIL084
    1N4007, 1N914/1N4148
    A decent desk lamp - maybe even one of those ones with the fluo
    ring and big lens if the budget can take it,
    and most important of all -

    A comfortable chair, the right height, and the workbench the right
    height. You don't want to get a crick in your back hunched over some
    little circuit.

    Have fun, and welcome to the zoo!

  6. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Actually, I've got a $9.00 RS iron. It eats tips, of course, but
    they're 39 cents for a two-pack, so you can file it to your heart's
    content. Also, while in RS, see if they still have that "tiptinner"
    stuff - the one I have is in a little tub about 1" dia. and about
    3/8" tall (2.5 x 1 cm). And see if you can find a proper sponge for
    wiping the tip. Also 63/37 eutectic flux-core solder.

    Hang out at construction sites when they're installing the telephone
    trunk and snag a remnant - it's a lifetime supply of #24 solid wire,
    ideal for protoboards. And it's color-coded twisted pairs. Or if you
    want to get high-falutin', get some bare #24 wire and teflon tubing.

    And you can probably get some #12 or #14 household wire, just 'cuz. ;-)

    X-acto knife and blades.

    A Decent Wire Stripper.

    So, it looks like you'll be able to set up shop as soon as your
    inheritance comes in! ;-)

  7. Paladiamors

    Paladiamors Guest

    I appreciate all the wonderful advice from you guys. Thanks a lot for
    pointing me in the right direction and getting me started. I've just done
    some tinkering here and there at school so, I thought it would be fun to do
    something at home.

    I'll be getting on to setting up a little lab at home shortly~

  8. <snip great advice, especially the lighted magnifier>

    One thing nobody mentioned is a handy bookshelf to keep
    parts manuals, other tech books, and parts bins in. Might as
    well get a six-footer as you'll want one later.

    Also look for a decent document holder (one of those
    stick on the side of the monitor/scope dinguses) and maybe a
    cookbook-style bookholder that will let you read without
    using a hand to keep your place.

    Which reminds me; you never have enough hands. Find or
    make a "third hand" to hold stuff in place while soldering.
    I'm thinking about bolting one directly to my lighted magnifier.

    In my experience, your biggest problem with a home lab
    will be convincing your Significant Other that it'll look
    good in your home office. (Don't forget an air purifier to
    dissipate the flux fumes.) ;>)

    Mark L. Fergerson
  9. Mr Humblebum

    Mr Humblebum Guest

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