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Electronics parts and tools

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Aug 27, 2002
Puget Sound, WA, USA
I am looking at getting more into electronics. Right now I have a basic soldering iron, multimeter, and some other small things. What do I need for more involved electronics? I am mostly going to be doing basic circuits for my computer case and some other fairly basic things.
actually, you already have everything you need for even really advanced EE work. An iron- with tips small enough for PCB work- and a meter are your two most important tools! :D

The only other things to get are the electronic components themselves, and maybe a reference book. Ohh, and backup PCBs never hurt, so you can just toss your mistakes in the garbage instead of trying to rework them.

Same goes for desolder braid. And a solder sucker. And some good paste flux. And a variable power supply, 'helping hands'-type workstand, magnifying glass, spotlights, wire stripper, tip tinner/cleaner...ok I lied, there are lots and lots of things you will probably want on down the road :D

But an iron and a meter are the two main ones to have; that's all you need to start with.
Monster pretty much hit it on the head. As you get into more advanced work, you'll pick the other things up. I would recommend the "helping hands" type of workstation and reference book initially. These come in very handy when trying to solder/desolder on a pcb and trying to remember Resistor codings. My first two years of school for EE, our most used tools were the soldering iron, Digital Multimeter and the schematic symbols template. Of course we used the O-scope and function(wave) generators, but I don't think you want those.....yet.:D Another thing to pick up if you don't have one is a soldering iron stand. For some reason my wife gets :mad: when I leave my iron sitting on her kitchen table. I don't know many people that use them, but I've got a wire wrap tool as well.
I would also say a bread board so you don't have to solder the components to make a circuit and the components can be reused for another circuit. If your going to make stuff for you computer case I would look for A to D and led display drivers but a good book should go over these towards the end.
No one mentioned the most basic tools of all: the needle nose pliers and diagonal cutters. Also, a dremmel tool comes in handy.

first check my thread here

follow the link that stool gave me. most of the links there are outdated but some work. one that works is:

use the tool that they have there (see the picture below). Point at the symbols and it will tell you what it does. The row of buttons right under the screen is for "theory" - what you need I guess.

Good luck!
I forgot:

here is a book that seems good. Maybe one day I will buy it.

Go to amazon and search for:

Electronics Fundamentals: Circuits, Devices, and Applications (5th Edition)
Well, I just got aff allelectronics. I spent 70 bucks! It got a little crazy.

I got the stuff you guys mentioned, I am especially looking foreward to the breadboard, as it should be much better than soldering every circuit. I also got a whole bunch of components, as I am sick of driving to crapshack everytime I need something and paying insane prices.

I have one question, where is a good place to get a simple desktop Power supply? The only ones they had were at a minimum 140 bucks, and there is no way I can afford that.
from what I've seen $100 is pretty much the minimum for a decent bench PS. Try looking around at pawn shops, you might just get lucky!
You could always adapt a PSU to work, but you have to do all kinds of work to it. A bench PS has terminals already, an on/off switch, and usually has steadier power than a PSU. Like, a bench PS will not have a 3,3V line or any of the crap that PC PSUs do, it'll be just one voltage, probably adjustable and very very clean, with a pretty high load limit. A PS pushing 50 real amps into 12V is normal, and it can do it all day long.

But if you're going to be building things to go in your PC, a PSU will probably work just fine as the voltages match. They're still harder to work with, tho. Then again, they are a LOT cheaper. If all you need is some 12V to play with your fans, a PC PSU will work just fine.
Yea, I think I will just do that. I have seen a few tutorials on how to do that. I could always hook up a switch wiht a few resistors to change the voltages to other things if I need to. I will mostly be doing computer work anyway, so it should work fine.
Why not build you own PSU as you first project. All you need is center-taped transformer to give you +12 and -12 Vzc and another to give you +6Vac. A bridge rectifier will be needed to convert to DC and then 7812, 7912 and 7805 regulator chips to give you +-12V and +5V. A few caps, box and connectors later you have a PSU. Should only cost about $20-$30 to make.

You should finethe circuit in most books and even a variable PSU aswell.
If you haven't found these sites yet, here they are...


Both absolutely loaded with info cool projects, test equipment advice etc etc etc.

I got spoiled at University. Used to think we had crappy equipment in the lab there. But now I pine for being able to use the PSUs, 'scopes, singal injectors etc that they had. sigh.

Road Warrior