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Pieces Parts and tools....What's on your bench?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Fish4Fun, Oct 5, 2013.

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  1. Fish4Fun

    Fish4Fun So long, and Thanks for all the Fish!

    Aug 27, 2013
    This is a sort of rambling attempt to glean information by sharing information. It started off as a post about diodes, but I just couldn't stop, LOL, so here is a laundry list of what is on/around my bench and out in my shop as well. If you have something in your DIY inventory that I haven't mentioned and you think it is a good addition, mention it, I prolly need some and just didn't know it. Please feel free to expound as much as you like; I find it interesting to know how other people do things, and what they do it with.

    My electronics bench has lots of "organizers" filled with various parts. One area where I am decidedly "thin" is diodes. Don't get me wrong, I have dozens of little bins with diodes and rectifiers that I have purchased over the years for various specific purposes, but each of these bins represents hours of searching Digi-Key and other sources for "the right diode", and none of them ever seem to appear in other people's schematics. Obviously someone else uses them or there are firms out there making diodes in the hope I will come along and purchase them, lol.

    So, if <you> were going to pick 10 diodes to keep on hand (SMD or Through-Hole) which 10 would <you> pick? I do understand that different diodes are best suited for different applications, and I am NOT looking for one diode for all purposes, but there has to be some diodes that stand out as "more common" than others. For instance, I honestly frequently place whatever is handy across a relay without much regard to specifications other than voltage, but there should be a general choice that covers all 5Vdc to 24Vdc relays without me thinking too much. Obviously if I am building an SMPS and it's efficiency hinges on my diode choice, I shouldn't just grab something from the shelf and hope it is a good fit, but sooooo many times the diode is NOT critical, but is necessary, those are the diodes I want to keep on hand.

    The same argument/thoughts pertain to mosfets. For instance I keep IRLZ24s through 44's on hand for simple 5V switching. I keep some IRF540s on hand for higher voltages, and I have a slew of other mosfets/IGBTs I have on hand because I worked on a project that required the particular speed/RDSon/voltage combination, but outside of the IRLZs and IRF540s none of my other choices ever seem to appear in other people's schematics. If there are any thoughts on generally popular mosfets/IGBTs please share them.

    ICs. I have a fairly robust assortment of basic logic ICs, voltage regulators and OP amps. I have read about the various logic families till my eyes bled, and yet in general when I am bread-boarding up a new thought, I don't discriminate between HC, F, ATC etc, and I have yet to run into a circumstance where this causes a problem, (not saying it will never happen, only that it hasn't yet.) Great example, the xxx4051/2/3 families of bilateral switches/mux's have voltage ranges from 5V to +/-36V with various impedance's and switching speeds and are really handy for a wide variety of situations, 90% of the time they all function interchangeably, but which family would you keep on hand if you could only pick one? Obviously if the circuit demands a particular specification outside of 5V/100Mhz then care must be taken to choose the right part, but 99.9% of what I build is 5V and much less than 100Mhz, heck 100% of what I have built to date is less than 40Mhz.

    Before the internet I use to read the Digi-Key and Jameco catalogs religiously, paying careful attention to the Mosfets/µControllers/FPGAs/Memory. I would try to dream up circuits that might require the ever growing capabilities of each...then came the internet. As my financial situation improved I began actually ordering some pieces parts to build various circuits...some worked out, many of course didn't, but each attempt was a great learning experience. FPGAs are a fascination to me, but I have never gotten any further than loading a demo synthesis onto a dev board, but I haven't given up yet, and they keep getting bigger/faster :) For the past 15 years I have been playing with AVRs, but every time I finally run out of room, they come out with a bigger one! (I am pretty sure they are making them just for me ;-) )

    I ordered some 8x32k SRAM and 9x32k SRAM chips the other day, (25 for $4.99 & 8 for $1.99 respectively). I am not sure what I am going to do with them, but I have always wanted to play with SRAM and I figured for < $10 delivered they would provide weeks of amusement! (yes, I am easily amused).

    OP amps. Is there really any sense keeping something other than the 741 /158 families of op amps on hand? I have others that I have purchased for low noise/speed for specific projects, but most of the time one or the other family will "work". Same with comparators.

    Opto Isolators. After we are all done comparing the various specs, speed vs current being the two common differentiators how many bins do we dedicate to them. I keep 6N135s on hand and some MOC3021s for Triac triggers and I have various others that really just kind of sit in bins waiting for the next time I am trying to make something work that shouldn't. Am I missing something great?

    Capacitors, wow do I have some capacitors. Some dark side of me hordes capacitors. Just the other day I ordered 20 x Panasonic ECE2DA331DL 330uF 200V capacitors just cause they were cheap as dirt. I spent more than a few hours trying to come up with a project that deserved them, but I haven't yet, lol. I cruse ebay and "closeout houses" for deals on capacitors, I got some really neat 1F 5.5Vdc super caps a year or so ago for next to nothing....still waiting for the right project for them, hehe. Bypass/decoupling caps I have by the thousands. I bought some really neat low ESR 10,000µF 63V caps a while back that I use all the time in prototyping power switching circuits cause they squelch almost any transient you throw at them, but actually need them in a circuit? Not yet, lol.

    Connectors....really, it doesn't seem to matter what you have on hand, it never seems to be the thing you need. I have 3mm & 3.5mm 2/3 conductor jacks & plugs by the bag. I have male/female IDC connectors from 6 to 40, I have 6P4C/6P6C, RJ45, DB9, DB15 & DB25 male/female/PCB/right angle. I have ATX20/24 PCB sockets and of course the requisite 2 & 3 pin screw terminals. I have straight & right angle pins and sockets. But the one thing I have never sourced is the commonly used 2, 3 & 4 pin PCB connectors used by PC fans. Every time I try to find this very simple connector I end up in a tail-spin and wake up broke sticky and confused.

    Bread there anything any cooler? I have lots of bread boards, big ones, little ones and some in between. Sometimes I order a new bread board just because I can't stand letting one sit empty and I know if there were an empty one I would populate it with some idea I have had floating around my brain. Sometimes I will let a bread board project sit unfinished so long that I finally pull everything off of it and run it through the dishwasher to get the crud off of it!

    Switches...limit switches, reed switches, relays, toggle switches, momentary switches, key many switches is enough? Like capacitors, I collect switches. I have a big box full of industrial switches someone gave me. I sometimes go through them trying to imagine a giant panel where each one would have an important function......I might even attach a picture just cause they are that fun!


    (The small round silver thing on the right is a quarter!)

    Tools....My wife frequently accuses me of being a child with a credit card. I am a sucker for a new tool, that's the truth. I currently have an Instek GDS-1062A and a LeCroy Wave Jet 314A. I have had half a dozen other scopes/DSOs over the years, and I can't imagine prototyping without one. I have a VC8045 bench meter (and an older Fluke bench DMM), more than a few portable DMMs, a dedicated L/C meter (a GREAT purchase that I would strongly recommend for < $20!). A soldering/de-soldering station (another tool I strongly endorse). Various crimpers for their associate connectors. All of the obligatory strippers/cutters and pliers. On the list of really cool tools rarely mentioned in reference with an electronics work bench, I have a CNC router that I frequently use to make prototype PCBs. In addition to my electric/electronic tools I have welders (3-->Arc/MIG/TIG), two plasma cutters, oxy torch, a couple small lathes, a small mill, metal cutting band saw, a 25 ton hydraulic press, a 5 ton arbor press, a 12in shear, 4 drill presses, 3 table saws, 2 miter saws, 2 chop saws, a radial arm saw, several routers, circular saws, jig saws, sawzalls, drills, drivers, air compressors, vacuum pumps, impact tools, grinders and a large collection of hand tools. There are still a few tools out there that I want, but it is a pretty short list!

    I hope that others will chime in with things on their bench//in their bins and even a list of your other tools not associate with electronics!

  2. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    In terms of what I have, rather than what I think is most useful :)

    These are the diodes I have the most of:

    1N4001, BAV70WT1, BAS16-215, BAW56T1, BAS21, BAV102, BAV23C, MMBD1501A, RL1N4004N1, BAV99, MBRM120LT1, BAS28, 1N4004.

    I purchased all of these when they were available at fire sale prices, the most expensive costing me 2c each including freight (most are well under 1c). I calculate I'll be ahead in dollar terms if I use an average of around 10 of each of these diodes. However, the saving in time of being able to go and grab one, and not have to wait is worth even more.
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