Electronics Lab

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This page gives tips for the electronics lab in your hackerspace. If you wish to edit, add only relevant stuff.

If you wish to build up an electronics lab in your hackerspace, you need to spend about 200-300 USD for the most relevant tools and components.

Stuff you need[edit]

Measurement tools[edit]

  1. One or more Multimeters (can be relatively cheap ones, like http://www.dealextreme.com/p/xl830l-digital-multimeter-10018 )


  1. One or more soldering stations. A single soldering iron also works if you don't have too much money, but price difference isn't really that big if you just need something "which you can use to solder". These soldering irons aren't very good, but they work. If you want better tools, google for soldering stations of ERSA or Weller (both are very good brands, starting at 150 USD).
    1. Soldering iron: http://www.dealextreme.com/p/external-heating-80w-electric-soldering-iron-ac-220v-66137 13 USD
    2. Soldering Station: http://www.dealextreme.com/p/best-938-mini-soldering-station-set-1-18-w-ac-220-v-55930 18 USD
  1. A basic stock of electronic parts (see below)
  2. Tin solder (like http://www.dealextreme.com/p/0-6mm-solder-wire-200g-4643 )
  3. desoldering wick (like http://www.dealextreme.com/p/goot-wick-soldering-remover-2mm-x-1-5m-6238 )
  4. Large "Soldapult" type sucker (http://www.mpja.com/prodinfo.asp?number=17220+TL) None of the other solder suckers compare, many don't work at all. This one single type (black antistatic or "ordinary" blue) DOES work, and very very well.


  1. Lab power supply with adjustable voltage (and adjustable current, optional)


  1. Screwdrivers (it's recommended that you have one screwdriver with bits, like http://www.dealextreme.com/p/31-in-1-precision-screwdrivers-toolkit-7949 and a few screwdrivers with fixed tips in various sizes, like http://www.dealextreme.com/p/handy-precise-screwdrivers-set-kit-6-piece-set-54654 )
  2. Several tongs (flat, rippled)
  3. wire strippers

Stuff you don't need, but want[edit]

  1. For connecting male breakout pins, http://dx.com/p/30cm-breadboard-wires-for-electronic-diy-40-cable-pack-80207?item=39 (peel off whatever you need from the ribbon)
  2. If you are using solderless breadboards, you can save yourself alot of nerves using http://www.dealextreme.com/p/breadboard-jumper-wires-for-electronic-diy-70-cable-pack-80208
  3. In general BENT jumpers are far better breadboard practice, the board is neat and connections won't pull out when moved around: http://dx.com/p/breadboard-jumper-cable-wires-for-for-arduino-350-cable-pack-147067?item=84
  4. Small prototype PCBs - you can get a 20x pack Double-Side Prototype PCB Board, 5x7 4x6 3x7 2x8CM for about 9 USD on eBay

Measurement Tools[edit]

  1. An oscilloscope. If possible, get an analog one or a medium-priced digital one. Avoid computer-based scopes, most of them aren't very useful unless you pay much $ (due to the A/D quality). For "general work", 20MHz used to be 'standard', but 50MHz is now a reasonable minimum. Note some of the clever, flashy color "pocket" oscilloscopes only have up to ~200KHz input bandwidth which precludes them from most general use. Even if you were working on troubleshooting an audio amp which doesn't have >>20KHz in the design, you'd be unable to see higher-freq noise or ringing problems with that sort of scope.

The best deal around is the 50MHz Rigol digital scope at ~$350. There's also a hack to turn it into the ~$500 100MHz version, if you dare hack your investment.

Other stuff[edit]

  1. Heat shrink tube (like http://www.dealextreme.com/p/1m-black-heat-shrink-tubing-five-size-pack-6-7-8-9-10mm-23452 )
  2. Several tweezers
  3. Stereo/trinoc microscope, Amscope is a GREAT deal: http://www.amscope.com/Stereo-Trinocular-4.html Model SM-4TZ is a really good choice there. Not only can you see the results of your soldering or etching far better, you can work under a stereo scope very easily, and the "trinoc" means you can divert the left lens to a still or video camera for teaching or documenting a project (cameras and mounts sold separately, or hack together what you need)

Basic Stock of Electronic Parts[edit]

  1. 22ga solid-core multicolor hook-up wire spool kit for protoboards. There are 5 colors made, get all 5 to preserve sanity while wiring up breadboard
  2. 30ga Kynar-insulated wrap wire (good for modifying PCB connections or repairing traces, this is the only type of wire which solders successfully to fine-pitch IC packages)
  3. Stranded "Zip wire"- the standard red-and-black wire pair that's stuck together but can be unzipped apart. Gauges 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20 are very commonly needed.
  4. Wires
  5. at least E6 Resistors ( http://www.technobotsonline.com/e6-carbon-film-resistor-pack-310-resistors.html ). If you can get them cheap, buy them in packs of 100.
  6. Prototyping boards (breadboards or stripboards)

Gaining Electronic Parts[edit]

Other notes[edit]

  • You could damage your parts, your hackerspace, yourself and even other people. Think twice!
  • You might wish to read the article about "How to organize your electronic parts"