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Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by jamus, Feb 10, 2013.

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  1. jamus

    jamus

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    Feb 10, 2013
    Hello. I am a second year EE student with an interest in circuit repair, however I have not had the opportunity to venture into that area as of yet. This summer I would like to begin. I know just enough to be dangerous :D.

    Right now I have about $581 CAD to spend on equipment.
    Here is a list I have made of what I think I will need to be able play around and hopefully learn something in the process.

    Big purchases:
    -An oscilloscope
    -A function generator
    -A DC source
    -A good temperature controlled soldering station

    Small purchases:
    -Alligator clip wires
    -a 'second hand' or whatever that clip stand thing is called
    -Perf board
    -One of those white plastic boards for prototyping
    - 63/37 flux core solder, or 60/40 whatever I can get
    -extra iron tips, chisel, conical
    -flux

    I know that buying tools is a bad idea before you know what you wish to accomplish, but I think that these are some pretty basic things that I will need in the future.

    Is there anything missing from my list that I should get?
    Do I need a bigger budget?
    Are there any specific pieces of equipment you would recommend?
    What is your advice on the oscilloscope? Would buying a old Techtronics be a good idea? Or should I go digital? Sampling rate?
    Advice on the big purchases?
     
  2. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,482
    2,830
    Jan 21, 2010
    I'd ignore the function generator.

    For a power supply on a budget, modify a PC power supply. Be careful, it won't give you current limiting!

    If you don't know what you want, get a cheap second-hand oscilloscope. By the time you know what you want, you may find you need to spend larger $$$ than your current budget. But a cheap analogue second-hand scope will punch well above its weight. You may need to buy probes if the old meter doesn't come with them.

    A good multimeter is essential.

    Temp controlled iron is a great investment
     
  3. duke37

    duke37

    5,364
    769
    Jan 9, 2011
    Long nosed pliers
    Side cutters
    Solder sucker
    Desoldering braid
    Heat shrink sleeving
    A bunch of leads with a croc clip at each end

    Analog multimeter
    Digital multimeter

    My opinion on the meters is to buy cheap and then when you blow them up, as you may well do, buy some good ones. I gave my brother a rather nice meter and the first thing he did with it was to measure the resistance of the mains. He is much more careful now he is using one he paid for.
     
  4. Raven Luni

    Raven Luni

    798
    8
    Oct 15, 2011
    Oscilloscopes these days tend to have built in function generators.

    If youre referring to a breadboard for prototyping you can never have enough of those - amazing how quickly you run out of room
     
  5. jamus

    jamus

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    Feb 10, 2013
    Some really great suggestions here. I have a cheap multimeter already, but I suppose I should pick up something a little nicer. Is there any particular advantage to using an analogue meter?

    I have used the pc power supplies before in class. They had +-5v rails, +-12v rails, and ground. Useful in a lot of cases, but not all. It would be nice to have a dial to turn to whatever I wished. If I can get a used piece of equipment for cheap I will.

    Solder sucker is a definite yes. I will probably get one of those blue ones with the plunger trigger. I have never liked the rubber bulb type.

    Heat shink tubing, croc leads, desoldering braid, all things to add to my list.
     
  6. jamus

    jamus

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    0
    Feb 10, 2013
    When I look at auctions for oscilloscopes, I see a lot of them being sold 'as is' with no test leads. Very cheap prices/shipping. If the seller mostly lists items not related to electronics, do you think it would be worth the risk to pick one of these up for 30 or 40 bucks?
     
  7. duke37

    duke37

    5,364
    769
    Jan 9, 2011
    If you are tuning a radio and looking for a maximum, then an analog meter is much better than flickering digits.

    I forgot to add a big hammer for when you get frustrated!
     
  8. jamus

    jamus

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    Feb 10, 2013
    Here are a couple of oscilloscopes I have found close by. I think the second one is probably the best bet. Does it look good to you guys?

    http://newbrunswick.kijiji.ca/c-buy...ktronix-RM503-Oscilloscope-W0QQAdIdZ455393451
    http://novascotia.kijiji.ca/c-buy-and-sell-electronics-Oscilloscope-W0QQAdIdZ453193878
    http://novascotia.kijiji.ca/c-buy-a...ektronix-2236-Oscilloscope-W0QQAdIdZ454815801

    It goes to 15Mhz, so it is probably priced about right for what it is. What applications require 100Mhz? RF would be one I suppose, but I don't think I will be into that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
  9. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,482
    2,830
    Jan 21, 2010
    I'd probably look at the second one. Whilst I would be tempted by the first (due to the community support for repair and troubleshooting the scope itself) I think It's a single channel unit and I've not checked its bandwidth (just did... 450kHz -- pretty poor).

    The bandwidth will be used for higher frequency signals, yes. But it will also allow the rising and falling edges of digital signals to be seen more accurately.

    I probably wouldn't want to pay $60 for the second one, but I'm not sure you want to spend almost your entire budget on the last one either.
     
  10. jamus

    jamus

    5
    0
    Feb 10, 2013
    After looking into the first one, it has point to point wiring and tubes on the inside. I will try to talk the second guy down a bit on the price. If I can't, I may go for something like this off of ebay:

    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/TEKTRONIX-TE...00806?pt=BI_Oscilloscopes&hash=item43b6190106

    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Philips-PM-3...31457?pt=BI_Oscilloscopes&hash=item2ec60ffa21


    Either way, I don't see any of this equipment ever depreciating in value (unless it breaks). It would be very easy to find someone at my university to take it off my hands.

    I still wonder however, whether there is a digital scope that I could buy new that would deliver better results. I suspect that most of them are out of my range though. Even the cheapest Rigol is over $300.
     
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