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Recomendations for equipment.

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by MattyMatt, Sep 24, 2011.

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  1. MattyMatt


    Mar 24, 2011
    Hey there all,

    I have been really busy lately, but I wanted to sit down one evening and get some ideas from all of you out there. I may be moving within the next 6 months or so, not far, but I will be picking up a roommate, who is as much of a geek as I am (this could get interesting!!). He's also more of an electronics buff than myself, and has some of the schooling and experience to boot!

    Since we have been talking about getting a place, I have pictured many little projects and nifty things coming out of the workshop area with my own and his combined talents. So I have been thinking about outfitting the "shop" area with some new tools, some of which I will be buying for myself, and others we will be buying for the both of us. The best part of this is that he has been a long time friend of mine, and he doesn't really have any equipment right now, which may sound strange, but he does most of his little projects after he has punched out at work, which means, my mind is open, and so is his.

    At any rate what I want to do is outfit the area with some basic and possibly some more advanced tools. I'll separate the list out a bit by stuff that I need to replace, and stuff that I'd like. My goal here is to really prioritize the list a bit, I don't have a ton of cash, but I'd like to get some nicer stuff so I don't have to replace it too often.

    Stuff to replace:

    - Portable soldering pencil (mine is a Radioshack model, it does okay, but not great). This I would be using for taking for other people's houses.

    - Workbench. right now I am using a counter top that was removed from the counter, and is on top of a couple of old speakerboxes. I want something wide enough to house 2 work spaces.

    - Tool and equipment storage. Right now, I am using a lot of little things around here, I have everything from rubbermaid 3 drawer free standing units, to wire shelf, to separated boxes, I have a few ideas, but this does kind of depend on my space, but I would like to figure out something nice here, any ideas would be welcome :).

    Stuff to purchase:
    (#n?) = my priority, please scrutinize if necessary

    (#1?) - Soldering station(s) - I have been looking at a couple of options, we both do some smd rework and I would really like a hot air station, but I also need a soldering station as well. I have seen some nice combo units out there for less than $200 but I'm a little out of my league here, and could use some advise. I would not mind 2 stations for pencils/irons, as long as the temp was adjustable, and a seperate hot air station... like i said, any suggestions :).

    (#2?) - Bench power supply - I have found quite a few out there, I need one for both DC and AC (I guess a variac for the ac?). There is a nice kit DC power supply that also has adjustable current, and I think its under $150. Microprocessor controlled... etc. I do want some honest opinions here, because some of the little projects I have in mind, do need some fairly accurate and VERY regulated supplies.

    (#3?) - Some means to test capacitors... I know there are a few methods of doing this, but I would like to know some of the best ways, I know the ESR Meters are not cheap, and I'm okay with that, but if there is a better way, let me know. I have a lot of caps right now that I have no idea the value (numbers worn off) or if they are good.

    Any further recommendations would be great.
    I currently have:

    - Tektronix 475A Oscilloscope (which thanks to this forum I have repaired and will be getting calibrated sometime in the near future :) ). I will be purchasing some decent probes for sometime soon as well.

    - An older Analog meter (radioshack one, that is probably 20 years old, and still works VERY well)
    - A relativity new DMM (another radioshack special, but has worked well for me)
    - 2 soldering pencils (portable radioshack models)
    - Helping hands (freakin amazing tool)
    - 2 protoboards (larger ones, pretty nice), and some jumper wire (may need more)
    - TONS of solder
    - More screwdrivers and other basic dis-assembly tools than you can shake a stick at (seriously..!)
    - Anti-static mat, wrist straps, some specialty tools , etc.
    - Without digging around a bit, that's pretty much it.

    Like I said any suggestions would be more than welcome, and if anyone thinks I should re-prioritize, let me know, and throw some reasons out there :).

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