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Core Equipment 2016-11-26

Issue: Draft 09 of 2016_12_25


This article gives a list of equipment and materiel needed to get started in electronics. The essential equipment needn't be expensive.

Also see articles:
'Core Components' @ http://www.electro-tech-online.com/articles/core-components.782/
'Reasonably Priced Solder Station' @ http://www.electro-tech-online.com/articles/reasonably-priced-solder-station.775/

At its most elementary, all you need is a board of some kind, a table, and a mains supply. You also need a suitable room, which must be reasonably warm and, most importantly, must be dry.

But to progress on to more advanced projects, you really need a dedicated table or, better still, workbench, in a room reserved for electronics.

And if you will be making chassis and cabinets, you need a workshop: part of a garage would be ideal, provided it is dry and at a temperature above about 10 Deg C.

An oscilloscope (scope) is in a special category, and the decision to buy an oscilloscope very much depends on your objectives and your budget. There is only one reason why an oscilloscope is not in the 'Essential' list: cost. Scopes are much cheaper than they used to be, but they are still relatively expensive.

No other instrument will give you a feel for electronics like a real time oscilloscope. It is the closest that most people will ever get to seeing what the electrons are actually doing and, when your first circuits don't work, an oscilloscope is the quickest way to locate the problem. Just leaning how to set up the trigger, adjust the X gain, and the Y time-base will give you great experience.

There are basically three broad categories of oscilloscopes: real-time, storage, and digital. (to be expanded)

(1) soldering iron suitable for fine work
(2) precision wire cutters
(3) precision fine nose pliers
(4) multimeter with good ranges- Fluke model 15A+ or model 17A+ (15A+ with temperature measurement). Ensure protective case and test leads are included. But see more advanced multimeter below in 'Luxury' section as cost is not much more.
(5) bench power supply adjustable: 0V to 30V, 0A to 10A linear (this power supply may seem excessive, but in the long term you will realise it is a wise investment):
(6) bench lamp
(7) loup x20 magnification (eye glass)
(8) hand pliers

(1) Solder, fine, rosin cored (the traditional lead/tin solder is easyer to use).
(1) Soderwick (fluxed braid for removing solder)
(2) flux

(1) electronics reference book/epub . The Art of Electronics
(2) sketchpad lined. (A4 size)
(3) paper notebook (A4 size)

(1) workbench/table
(2) PC, with internet
(3) oscilloscope (see section above)
(4) small vice around 3.5 inch wide jaw, with 'soft' jaws
(5) screwdriver set, flat and posidrive
(6) screwdriver set jeweler's, flat and posidrive
(8) spanner set small metric
(9) allen key set, metric and imperial
(10) junior hacksaw + good make blades
(11) files: large, medium and keyhole
(12) twist drill set ( 1mm to 5mm)
(13) hand drill brace
(14) scalpel
(15) calculator, scientific, hand-held
(16) mains plug & socket IEC
(17) ruler, metal, 6", 12", 18" (dirt cheap)
(18) set square, 6" (get good quality or waste of time)
(19) center punch
(20) solder sucker

(1) bolts, nuts and washers: 1.5mm to 5mm
(2) heatsink compound
(3) insulating washers: 1mm to 5mm
(4) epoxy glue
(5) super glue
(6) contact adhesive
(7) fibre-glass matt and resin
(8) PinkGrip: filler adhesive
(9) wet and dry emry paper: fine to coarse
(10) light oil
(11) engine oil
(12) grease lithium
(13) grease silicone
(14) Loctite thread locker
(15) varnish, clear polyurethane, yacht
(16) cord, lacing
(17) tape, Gaffer
(18) tape, insulating
(19) tape, aluminum
(20) tape, transformer yellow
(21) tape, self amalgamating
(22) tape, Kapton, high temperature
(23) sleeving rubber
(24) sleeving, heat shrink

(1) ECAD software [Some versions of EAGLE are free for home use]
(2) simulation software [LTSPICE is free]
(3) signal generator [not expensive]
(4) digital multimeter, high end: Extech EX540 (Digitech QM1574 is the same)

(1) pillar drill, small (not expensive)
(2) metal bender
(3) bench, metalworking
(4) vice large, engineers
(5) lathe, small, metal working
(6) welder TIG AC (for welding aluminum)
(7) gas blowtorch
(8) heat gun
(9) hand electric drill, variable speed
(10) tin snips
(11) solder station
(12) microscope optical [expensive] or electro-optical (camera and display) [reasonable cost]
(13) Dremel miniature shaper
(14) guillotine, metal

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