Author Topic: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?  (Read 18355 times)

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Offline AnyNameWillDo

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Link to my second thread about components: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/beginners/purchasing-parts-and-basic-components-for-a-new-lab/

I'm in the US. I could use some advice for how to modify my purchase list. I'll share what I have researched so far.

My budget for my overall lab I'll say is $1000. Honestly I'm probably willing to spend more than that, but that's the number I'll work with for the moment. If I need to go over that for something special, I'm down.

Right now I am mostly looking on Amazon but if there are cheaper-but-just-as-good alternatives elsewhere, I'm all ears. One condition I want to uphold is good-quality stuff. I don't want to waste money on flimsy crap or knockoffs or specs that aren't genuine. I'd still like to buy the real deal, but simply pay the least that I can.

The reason I am making this thread is because I'm already starting to creep up on my budget and I feel like I am probably overspending, but I can't tell.

I'm a buy-once-buy-for-life type of person, so while some things may be overkill for me now, I'd rather grow into them rather than end up spending more money in the long run buying replacements and upgrades. I'd rather just buy nicer things up front that will last me a long time and cover the vast majority of possible use cases.

What should I change? What should I add?

**Multimeter:**

EEVblog Brymen BM235 Multimeter: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01JZ1ADCO/

**Oscilloscope:**

Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscopes - Bandwidth: 50 Mhz, Channels: 4: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012938E76/

**Variable Power Supply**

Really unsure about this one. I assume something that is capable of both AC and DC output?

**Wall Wart**

ELEGOO AC 100V-240V Converter Adapter DC 9V 1A Power Supply US Plug 5.5mm x 2.5mm 1000mA Power Adapter Wall Charger Adapter for Arduino UNO MEGA with UL FCC CE certificate: https://www.amazon.com/ELEGOO-100V-240V-Converter-Adapter-certificate/dp/B074BRR5YN

No idea about this one, PSU research is a lot tougher than the rest it seems

**Wire Crimper/Stripper:**

IRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire Stripper/Cutter/Crimper, 7", 2078317: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000JNLUN4/

**Helping Hand:**

QuadHands Helping Hands Third Hand Soldering Tool and Vise: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GIKVP5K/

**Pliers:**

Stanley 84-114 3 Piece Basic 6-Inch Slip Joint, 6-Inch Long Nose, and 6-Inch Diagonal Plier Set: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006HVU4W/

**Soldering Station:**

Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital Soldering Station FX-888D FX-888 (blue & yellow): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ANZRT4M/

(I considered a TS-100 here but I couldn't figure out what tips, station, tip cleaner, to get... Hakko has it all in one package so I went with that)

**Flux Pen**

SRA Soldering Products PEN_RMA SRA #99-20 Rosin RMA Soldering Flux Pen - Refillable: https://www.amazon.com/SRA-Soldering-Products-PEN_RMA-99-20/dp/B008OC3VMU/

**Thin Solder:**

DMiotech 50g 0.3mm Rosin Core Solder Tin Lead Wire 63/37 for Electrical Soldering: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CJCY7OM/

**Medium-ish Solder?:**

Kester 24-6337-0010 44 Rosin Core Solder 63/37 .020 1 lb. SPOOL: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00068IJWC/

**Solder Wick:**

Chemtronics Desoldering Braid, Chem-Wik, Rosin, 10-50L 0.10", 50ft.: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0019V5MAC/

**Desoldering Pump:**

Edsyn Deluxe Soldapullt, Heavy Duty, High Vacuum, ESD: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006GOKVKI/

**Flush Cutters:**

CHP-170 Micro Cutter: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FZPDG1K/

**Breadboards:**

1pcs Quality mini bread board / breadboard 8.5CM x 5.5CM 400 holes: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1pcs-Quality-mini-bread-board-breadboard-8-5CM-x-5-5CM-400-holes/32803112223.html

I can't tell if that's better or

Elegoo EL-CP-003 3pcs MB-102 Breadboard 830 Point Solderless Prototype PCB Board Kit for Arduino Proto Shield Distribution Connecting Blocks: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01EV6LJ7G/

**LEDs:**

Elfeland 500pcs x 5mm Light Emitting Diode LED Lamp Assorted Kit 7 Colors White Red Blue Green Yellow Orange Purple/UV Super Bright & Long Working Time: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071GQMLBX/

**Diodes:**

McIgIcM rectifier diode assorted kit,100pcs 1N4148 1N4007 1N5819 1N5399 1N5408 1N5822 FR107 FR207 electronic components package,diode assortment: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M7S2ROI/

**Capacitors:**

Elenco Electronics CAPK-150DEL 150 Capacitor Component Kit In Plastic Case: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005I5M67W/

**Resistors:**

64 values 1280pcs 1 ohm - 10M ohm 1/4W Metal Film Resistors  Assortment Kit: https://www.ebay.com/itm/64-values-1280pcs-1-ohm-10M-ohm-1-4W-Metal-Film-Resistors-Assortment-Kit/261374861457

This comes with 20 resistors of each ranging from 1 ohm to 10M ohm: https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/79UAAOSwySlZ-uUL/s-l500.jpg

**Transistors:**

Hilitchi 24-Values 2N2222-S9018/BC327-BC558 NPN PNP Power General Purpose Transistors Assortment Kit - Pack of 840: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06Y4M6SXV/ref=ox_sc_act_title_7?smid=AYI27JSX7SHMW&psc=1

I assume this has everything I need for the foreseeable future but maybe there is a better kit?

**Male to Male Breadboard Jumper Wires**

High Quality 65pcs Male To Male Breadboard Wires Jumper Cable Bread Board Wires: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/High-Quality-65pcs-Male-To-Male-Breadboard-Wires-Jumper-Cable-Bread-Board-Wires/32800860317.html

Probably missing several other obvious things...
« Last Edit: July 26, 2018, 10:15:48 pm by AnyNameWillDo »
 

Offline HB9EVI

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2018, 07:21:16 pm »
A variable 60Hz AC supply you'll likely not need very often; normally you work with a DC supply and variable frequency AC signal generator

as a starter project, you can build your own variable DC supply with an LM317, or if you want with current limiting with the venerable LM723, which actually still has a very good noise figure compared to the LM317
 

Offline AnyNameWillDo

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2018, 07:24:20 pm »
as a starter project, you can build your own variable DC supply with an LM317, or if you want with current limiting with the venerable LM723, which actually still has a very good noise figure compared to the LM317

I had always heard though that this was less suitable as a beginner project since I'd have to mess around with mains? Or is that not true?
 

Online TK

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2018, 07:28:24 pm »
You can get a fixed 12V / 15V wall power supply to power the variable LM317 DC supply you will build, no need to mess with mains. Or you can get one of the pre-assembled ones like the DROK Numerical Control Voltage Regulator DC 5-32V to 0-30V 5A Buck Converter.  They come assembled with nice LED displays.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2018, 07:31:08 pm by TK »
 

Offline tkamiya

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2018, 07:36:09 pm »
That's awfully a lot of things for a $1000 dollars.  I'm afraid you are choosing things without knowing much about most of them.  (sorry, I'm being honest here)  To get into electronics, all you need at beginning is a good soldering iron, and a multi-meter, perhaps along with basic tools you can buy anywhere.  Everything else, you can buy and add when you have a need.

I bet you won't need a scope for quite some time.  De-soldering, I won't even mess with solder wick or pump.  I can make do with soldering iron and a swift hand move.  Once you really need one, I'd suggest buying something good, like Hakko for $250 or so.  TO ME, anything else is just problem.  I went through many choices and until I found Hakko, I didn't know how EASY it was.

You really don't n need A/C power supply.  Initially, you won't be needing anything but say, 5V and 12V DC.  You can make, buy used, etc.  If you are coming near Orlando, Florida, I'll give you one.  (honest!)

50Mhz scope, you will probably regret.  I'd buy nothing short of 100Mhz and if buying today, I'll probably go for more like 200Mhz, 4 channels.  It's not the frequency of what you are measuring that matters.  It really has to do with highest frequency COMPONNT of a given signal. 

I'm not sure why wallwart is in here....  a decent power supply (above) will do just fine.  After 30some years, I still don't have a helping hand.  I can hold two pliers in one hand and soldering iron on the other just fine.  Advantage for being an Asian, perhaps?  (Chopstick reference)

I'm really afraid you are planning too far ahead.  Your needs will grow but depending on direction you take, what you'll need will be different.  Quality required will be different.  AND....  your taste will be different.  I'm more into starting with basics and go from there.

I'm sorry, I really don't mean to offend by any of what I said.






 

Online TK

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2018, 07:42:05 pm »
Some sort of signal generator might be very useful... I am sure someone will recommend the Analog Discovery 2 (DSO, signal generator, logic analyzer, patter generator, bode plot, etc).  It is a nice instrument, but if you like to have knobs and a standalone unit, then the AD2 is not for you.  Analog Devices sells the ADALM-2000 which seems to have better specs than AD2, but I have not used, tested or compared it to the AD2.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2018, 07:45:23 pm by TK »
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2018, 08:57:06 pm »
**Variable Power Supply**

Really unsure about this one. I assume something that is capable of both AC and DC output?

I haven't really kept up on what's available in lab power supplies, as I have an old Power Designs which works well and we have a pile of HPs at work.

But whatever you get, make sure it has a built-in ammeter. It's always good to know how much current your circuit draws, and if it's within your expectations. Too little drawn, maybe something is disconnected or open. Too much drawn (or the thing crowbars) and you've got a short somewhere.

 

Offline tooki

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2018, 12:03:31 am »
Hey!

Some comments, from someone who's fundamentally also a buy-for-lifer. I think yours is fundamentally a sound list to start with. (If I don't say anything, assume I agree with either your suggestion, or the comments by someone before me.) Unless specified otherwise, when I say to look for another product, I mean look on Amazon.

- DMM: I haven't used that model but it looks great. Also grab a few cheapies (like the Aneng models that have been discussed here at length recently) so you can take several measurements at once. It's really common to need 2-3 meters at once, but they don't need to be expensive since they're not gonna be used on mains AC. (Have one meter that's safe for mains AC, which the EEVblog meter fulfills.)

- Oscilloscope: Good choice. I assume you know to, um, unlock its full potential. (I have that one.)

- PSU: Forget AC, you don't need it to get started. What you do want is a DC lab power supply with current limiting. If you're not in a hurry, see if you can find an HP/Agilent one used. (I have a Korad KA3005P, which isn't bad, but also an Agilent U8001A that I picked up used. Loud but really nice.) Having a settable current limit will save you from frying circuits.

- Wall wart: Only if you have a specific need. Don't buy it "just in case".

- Wire stripper: Look for the Hakko wire strippers. They're cheaper, and verifiably awesome. For electronics (as opposed to electrical) use, I suggest (and own) the CSP-30-1 model. Forget crimping for now.

- Holding hands: look at the options from Panavise and/or Hobby Creek. Not high priority IMHO. I've got some, but rarely use them.

- Pliers: Forget those and get smaller ones specifically for electronics. If you're looking to buy for life, forget stanley and buy Knipex. You want to have one round-nose (I have the Knipex 34 32 130 ESD) and flat-jaw (35 12 115 ESD), so you can bend round and square bends in component legs. Ordinary pliers with serrated jaws cause damage to many electronic components. Granted, the Knipex are really, really expensive in USA (like double what Amazon Germany charges). Maybe someone can suggest a quality brand that's more affordable in USA.

- Soldering station: look at the Pace ADS200 that's been a huge topic of discussion on the forums. It's double the cost the FX888, but it's also much, much nicer, and more future-proof.

- Flux pen: it's a matter of taste, but I prefer to use flux paste (I have MG Chemicals 8341-10ML), since it helps hold SMD components in place. I have that flux pen, too, but if I don't want paste, I prefer to apply liquid flux using a brush pen (Bonkote; real ones are not cheap, if it's under about $20 bucks it's a guaranteed fake).

- Fine solder: you don't need anything this fine.

- Medium-ish solder: either the .020 you've listed, or the .031 (Kester 24-6337-0027) which is appreciably cheaper and is my go-to standard size. I only very, very, VERY rarely use anything finer. (.020 might be too thin for everyday use, but you can always unreel some and twist a double strand of it to double it up — but you've paid a mighty premium for the privilege.)

- Solder wick: go for MG Chemicals wick instead. Not only is it cheaper, it's superior IMHO. (Somewhere on the forums I posted a comparison of a bunch of brands. The MG is woven of far finer wire, which I find much easier to work with.)

- Breadboards: 1. you can't have enough breadboards. I mean, like… buy a dozen. (Depending on what you do, you might be like me who's better off with more small breadboards, vs a few larger ones.) 2. If you want to buy for life, forget chinesium ones. Buy 3M breadboards which, as I found out, are actually made by a company called Assembly Specialist, who sell them on their own website for 1/3 the cost (!) of the 3M via any reputable distributor. They still cost a lot more than the chinese cheapies, but they're reliable. I still am using mostly chinese cheapies and they're a pain in the ass. Save your ass, buy the good stuff.

- Breadboard wires: 1. Buy the bent solid wire ones from Assembly Specialist. The cheap ones are crap, they're too soft 2. Those 65-wire kits are great. But trust me, one kit isn't enough. You will want at least 4 sets. Also buy various "40pcs dupont" ribbons in various lengths, in M-M, M-F, and F-F. They're invaluable.

- LEDs: look on ebay, you can find better kits with more colors and/or lower price. Or go on Aliexpress and buy LEDs from molesmell (how the fuck they came up with that name I can't fathom) and CHE LEAD. They carry fun colors like pink and cyan/"ice blue" at good prices.


What stands out to me as missing in your list:
- Tweezers. Fine tweezers are ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL for today's minuscule components. (SMD is unavoidable!) My main tweezers are these from Wiha, but again, a German product that's overpriced in USA, so maybe someone can suggest a cheaper alternative. To be honest, the 6-for-$10 tweezers from eBay aren't bad. (Just don't go for drugstore tweezers, they're too short for comfortable electronics use.)

- banana cables. You'll want a generous assortment of banana to: banana, micrograbber, alligator. (And to breadboard pins, like the jumpers. But you'll have to make these yourself, they're astoundingly expensive to buy premade.) I make a lot of these myself using banana plugs from Pomona, Hirschmann, and Stäubli, using silicone test lead wire from Pomona, Cal-Test, and Mueller, purchased from Digi-Key. But you could certainly use less expensive parts.

- hookup wire. You can get nice wire assortments on ebay/ali/amazon. They come in boxes of 5 or 6 reels in a cardboard dispenser box, for each wire type (solid, stranded, stranded silicone) and size you can get them in 2 different sets containing a different 5 or 6 colors (e.g. "A" might contain red, yellow, black, blue, green, while "B" might have orange, purple, brown, gray, and white). Sets like this. Illustration only, didn't look at prices.
For sure, you want some 22 or 24ga solid core and 24ga stranded wire. Old ethernet cables can be a great source for these if you're on a budget: the cable that goes in walls is solid, while the patch cords are stranded.

- protoboards. go look on ebay, you can get awesome FR-4 boards for peanuts. Tip: look at various package sizes. Sometimes, it's actually cheaper to get a package of 20 than a pack of 10! (You want the ones that are green with plated through-holes.)

- Headers: get some assortments of male and female headers to put on your boards. I find them invaluable for connecting to/from prototypes and breadboards using the aforementioned "Dupont" jumpers. You'll use way more male than female headers. (Accordingly, get lots of M-F jumpers to connect protoboards to breadboards, and F-F to connect protoboards to protoboards.)

- cleanup supplies: commercial flux remover or high-% isopropyl alcohol, kimwipes, and acid brushes.

- Little component tester, the kind that has a ZIF socket into which you place a transistor or capacitor or whatever, and it not only tells you what it is, but measures it and identifies the pinout. They're under $20 and incredibly handy. There's a shockingly long thread about these things somewhere on here.

- Antistatic work mat. Get one that's rubber (not PVC) so that it won't melt when your soldering iron touches it.

- Chinese Arduino clones. Get a bunch of Arduino Uno boards for a buck or two a pop. They're great for experimenting. Consider spending an extra $25 on a sensor/accessory kit that has a bunch of parts to play with.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2018, 12:10:47 am by tooki »
 
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Online rstofer

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2018, 09:21:28 pm »
You have a great list but you don't need everything at once.  You won't need the scope right away unless you are planning to jump right to microcontrollers (Arduino?).  You will also need it when you get to transistor amplifiers.  Where you won't need it is learning about basic DC circuits, at least not until you get to capacitor charging circuits.

I would argue for 4 channels and at east 100 MHz and, at the moment, there are two candidates that are similarly priced.  The Rigol DS1054Z, which I have, and the Siglent SDS 1104X-E, which I don't.  The 200 MHz 4 channel variant, the SDS 1204X-E, is expensive and will chew up most of your budget.

Really good DMMs (Fluke 289) cost a LOT of money.  The EEVblog Brymen is a really good meter as is the new 121GW.  They are fairly expensive but not outrageous.  As long as you stay away from mains, the Aneng 8008 is a really nice little meter.  I use mine all the time in preference to the Brymen, 121GW and Fluke 189.  It's just so darn handy!

I would get one fairly expensive DMM (Brymen?) and a couple of the cheap meters (Aneng 8008?) because one meter just isn't enough.  You need a minimum of two but they don't both need to be expensive.  I think Dave did a review of the 8008 and it is really accurate!  One of the meters should have a credible CAT rating if you ever plan to use it on mains.  I would expect the Brymen and 121GW to be credible.  I wouldn't count on the Aneng.  OTOH, I started messing with mains LONG before CAT ratings were even invented, long before DMMs were invented (for the civilian market) and long before the current ranges were fused.  I'm still here...

It can damage your budget but I'm going to recommend a quality lab supply.  I like the Rigol DP832 - it's a 3 output PS with plenty of current capability.  If you are planning to buy a supply, get a decent unit.  Get one where you can SEE what the current limit is set at.  Or, don't get one at all!  I got along with batteries, wall warts and open frame power supplies for decades.  I bought the DP832  a year or so back just because it seemed like a great idea.  It was...

Eventually, you will want a decent Arbitrary Waveform Generator.  I'm going to recommend dual channels up to some modest frequency knowing full well that only the sine wave goes that high.  A quality AWG is going to cost a lot.  I bought the Siglent SDG2082.  I'm not a fan of the Touchy-Feely Chinese brand signal generators, or whatever they are called.

I WILL bring up the Analog Discovery 2.  It has enormous capability for the price.  Dual channel scope, dual channel AWG, 16 channel digital IO/logic analyzer plus an assortment of software gadgets to control it.  Yes, it really is fun to get the Bode' plot of filters and amplifiers directly.  You can download the software and play around with the Demo device.

In fact, I could build a pretty good bench with the DP832 Power Supply, Analog Discovery 2 and a couple of DMMs (Brymen and Aneng?).
 

Offline HB9EVI

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2018, 09:55:36 pm »
maybe some more remarks:

I think a scope is quite a must today, already in early days of electronics; AC is almost everywhere; you have it with mcus, you meet it, when you want to build audio amps, even if it's just a single transistor amp - you want to see, how the amplified signal looks. I fully agree with the conclusion of the thread so far to not go under 100MHz bandwidth, what is achieveable with the DS1054Z.

Also I agree with a cheapie multimeter as long as you keep away from mains - of course not those crappy ones for 4 bucks, but one in the range of 30 to 50. But get proper leads and probes to it; those ones coming with the meters are a total pain; I personally like the Hirschmann leads and probes.

Don't buy the cheapest tools like screwdrivers, pliers, tweezers. Since they're often used aside from the bench as well, it really makes sense to buy quality - I would recommend the same for the solder iron. I've seen already some of those cheapies; they cannot convince - either the handle gets too hot, the tips are poor quality or impossible to replace, ESD is problem or whatever. It's no pleasure to work with that.

I have to admit to not have a good opinion about those common breadboards. The quality is almost always so-so to non-existing. You want to plug a DIP in it and it goes loose all the time, so the circuit doesn't work, all the time you have to verify the packages still properly connect - AND - for everything except DC they are almost unusable because of the big stray capacitances everywhere. they might work still for some analog AF signals, but absolutely no chance even for low frequency logic levels or RF signals. People still use them, but they wonder, why their cirucits don't work, or work erratically - they're a pain in the butt.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2018, 09:58:08 pm by HB9EVI »
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2018, 10:12:00 pm »
**Multimeter:**

EEVblog Brymen BM235 Multimeter: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01JZ1ADCO/
As suggested by others, you'll want one decent meter (mains safe), and another couple of inexpensive DMM's so you can make simultaneous measurements. 6000 counts is all you'll typically need, so don't get hung up on that.

**Oscilloscope:**

Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscopes - Bandwidth: 50 Mhz, Channels: 4: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012938E76/
If you can wait, then do so as something better may be introduced to the market at that time. As per BW, you're wasting your time going with less than 100MHz.

In the specific case of the DS1054Z, it can be unlocked to 100MHz, so it can actually fulfill this requirement.

**Variable Power Supply**

Really unsure about this one. I assume something that is capable of both AC and DC output?
You rarely need AC, and you'll know what you need when you get there.

As per DC, you'll want one with both constant current & constant voltage capability (CC & CV respectively). CC mode will save you from smoking parts at a frightening rate. And as you're in the US, I'd recommend getting a good quality used multi-output linear supply off eBay.

A GW Instek GPC-3020 would be one such example that won't cost a small fortune.

**Pliers:**

Stanley 84-114 3 Piece Basic 6-Inch Slip Joint, 6-Inch Long Nose, and 6-Inch Diagonal Plier Set:
You can do a lot better than this. Check out Xcelite and see if it's to your liking.

Another option would order from Schmitz in Germany (they make some of the best stuff out there, and is rebranded heavily).

**Soldering Station:**

Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital Soldering Station FX-888D FX-888 (blue & yellow)
Another vote for the Pace ADS200 instead.

**Flux Pen**

SRA Soldering Products PEN_RMA SRA #99-20 Rosin RMA Soldering Flux Pen - Refillable:
I'd recommend using MG Chemicals' 835, and dispense it however you like (brush pen, needle bottle, nail polish bottle w/ brush in the cap, ...).

Much more cost effective.

**Thin Solder:**

DMiotech 50g 0.3mm Rosin Core Solder Tin Lead Wire 63/37 for Electrical Soldering
Skip this. Get a single roll of Kester in say .025" (nice balance for both PTH and SMD). .032" would be the largest diameter I'd go with. Do note the smaller the wire diameter, the more expensive it is (takes additional work to produce).

**Desoldering Pump:**
I'd suggest an Engineer SS-02 instead.
 
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Offline AnyNameWillDo

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2018, 10:20:39 pm »
Thanks for the replies everyone but I feel like tearing my hair out at this point, lol.

There are simply too many options and I'm spending hours and hours and hours and hours and *hours* on every little thing and I feel like I'm just spinning my wheels.
 

Offline rhb

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2018, 11:45:04 pm »
Hunt down a free DMM coupon and go to Harbor Freight.  Buy a soldering iron, needle nose pliers, side cutters and get the free DMM.  PM me and I'll send you a coupon in the mail.  Calibrate your DMM using a package of four new 9 V batteries.

Build an adjustable linear DC supply.  Then design a current limiter for it and add that to the circuit. Or choose a device which already provides current limiting.  Do both using the same raw DC supply.  Make sure you start with a metal case large enough that everything will fit easily.  Use the DMM to set the voltage and current limits and to determine dial settings.. 

Long before I had a scope I built a 5 V supply and repaired a $1 yard sale 12 V supply by replacing the regulator.  My first scope was a 5 MHz recurrent sweep Heathkit IO-18 bought at a yard sale for $75 around 1980.  You can get a good transformer for your linear supply by picking up an older junk stereo radio-phonograph combination unit.

As you encounter the need for better tools buy them,  but not before you know what you need and why.  Before I got the scope I repaired audio gear fished out of the trash and sold it to make some money in grad school.  All I had was a VOM, pliers, dykes and soldering iron.

Start by building your own test gear.  Read "Max Wien, Mr. Hewlett and a Rainy Sunday Afternoon" by Jim Williams.  Build a 0.001% THD audio oscillator.  Write a C program to generate a WAV file that sweeps from 20 Hz to 20 KHz.  Play that through your PC sound card and record it with the sound card.  Calibrate your sound card inputs and outputs using Octave,  Then measure the THD of your audio oscillator.  You'll now have several things:

an analog audio sine wave oscillator
an audio digital signal generator
an audio distortion analyzer
an audio spectrum analyzer

You will also have learned the Fourier transform and basic digital signal processing.

Or pick some other piece of test gear to build.  Build Conrad Hoffman's "Mini Metrology Lab".  Pick something you think you understand well and build that.  You'll learn a lot in the process.  You'll also have more test gear.

Electronics is all in your head.  Test equipment makes things easier, but they are not a substitute for knowledge and understanding. 

Mains powered equipment is not dangerous if it is unplugged.  If you have to probe something which is powered up, be mindful of what parts of the circuit have 125 V at all times.  Don't mess with it if you are tired or have had a drink.
 

Offline Discotech

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2018, 11:58:16 pm »




They're a little old but I found them both incredibly useful for getting together some basics for what I need, everything else I've just been buying as I need it, it's frustrating having to wait but it's better than spending loads of money on things I might never use
 

Offline AnyNameWillDo

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2018, 12:10:53 am »
Have seen both vids -- unfortunately it led to more questions than answers for me, especially since the video is on the older side.

I think what frustrates me is that those vids lack a lot of context / explanation for why certain things are picked. "Get a variety of flush cutters!" does not really tell me what I should be looking for in a good flush cutter, what the tradeoffs are, etc.

Focusing on kits and saying "build your own power supply" is not super helpful when half the replies online say it is absolutely not a beginner's project. Other comments involving oscilloscopes are outdated and also don't provide much context for how many channels we might want or why, Mhz, etc.

The solder he recommends is similar to the solder I mentioned earlier -- but everyone here has said it is way too thin, for example.  |O

Newer solder irons like the TS-100 have come out, and I've seen that video too, but yet again, more questions than answers.

(Could go on and on -- I had issues like this with almost every single recommendation he made in that video)

Picking parts for a lab is a total nightmare as a beginner, lol. The learning curve is incredibly steep. "Just buy a few x/y/z!" doesn't tell me specifically what to get because there are often so many variants or other considerations to take into account.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2018, 12:17:18 am by AnyNameWillDo »
 

Offline Discotech

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2018, 12:35:51 am »
Picking parts for a lab is a total nightmare as a beginner, lol. The learning curve is incredibly steep. "Just buy a few x/y/z!" doesn't tell me specifically what to get because there are often so many variants or other considerations to take into account.

It's honestly not, most labs will have multiple scopes, power supplies, dmms, tools etc

It's simply a case of starting off with a few basics and growing your equipment as you grow your skills

Do you know what you're going to use your scope for ? No ? Then you don't need one yet, if you do then you should know roughly what qualities in a scope you need, for instance if you're using scope for audio electronics you're better off with analog over digital due to different things you'll want to be measuring for (distortion in amplifier crossover for instance) that a DSO will be really lacking in showing you over an analog scope

Flush cutters ? They're £3 here for a decent pair, if they break after a year just buy another pair or have spares, you're over thinking things on flush cutters just get one with good reviews and use it until it breaks then buy another because you can't expect mechanical tools to last forever certainly not ones that cut stuff which will dull over time even if they cost £1000 and are made of kryptonite.

Engineer make some relatively cheap but terrific ESD safe tools, their range isn't as large as the likes of Knipex but they're just as good and a lot cheaper

TS100 is a good iron, there's plenty information if you google, there's even a guide on the cheaper/fake irons on this forum you can look at

Building your own supply is from what I've been told a great first project, obviously if you don't understand electronics and are still learning how to light an LED without it burning out then it's not a first project but if you're wanting a lab, then you should really have some good grasps of electronics and be capable to at least follow the instructions on the many guides for building a supply, or just buy one with 1 or 2 outputs, nothing fancy just something OVP and OCP with a reasonable range of Vage & Aage to get you started

You're finding it a nightmare because you're trying to get too much too soon, just focus on the bare essentials and expand as you tinker and find a need for X tool/equipment

Using google for reviews on stuff is useful too, most of the questions you have will likely have been answered in the past and if you can't find an answer either ask or just learn by trial and error
 

Online rstofer

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2018, 12:41:33 am »
Thanks for the replies everyone but I feel like tearing my hair out at this point, lol.

There are simply too many options and I'm spending hours and hours and hours and hours and *hours* on every little thing and I feel like I'm just spinning my wheels.

It's known as analysis paralysis!  It's pretty common.
If you ask 5 engineers for an opinion, you will have 10 results.  That's just the way it goes.

None of the answers are wrong.  I take exception to the GW power supply.  Analog meters scaled in Furlongs Per Fortnight are not appropriate when I need 1.8V or 3.3V.  Furthermore, I want to know exactly where the current limit is set and I don't want to set it by shorting the output and adjusting the dial until the meter reads something.  For decades I got along without a lab quality PS, just to show how unimportant they really are, but when I decided to buy one, I wanted a real PS with all the modern features.  Yes, it cost a boatload of money.  Dave has reviewed power supplies.  Maybe something will turn up in his videos.

Start simple and leave out all the high dollar stuff.  Get a couple of multimeters and all the hand tools.  That Hakko soldering station will be just fine.  I bought one for my grandson.

https://www.amazon.com/Bundle-Soldering-Station-CHP170-cutter/dp/B00AWUFVY8

There are some better prototype boards but they are pricey
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0040Z4QN8

Just buy the simple stuff and get started.  See where the hobby takes you!  At this point, you need projects and parts more than you need test equipment.  As you move along, you will discover what you really need and then you can do a bit more specific research and make a decision.

Waiting for a new scope to come on the market is foolish.  It takes at least 2 years before they work out the firmware issues and by then there is another new scope.  Which will take at least 2 years to get the firmware debugged.  And then there will be another new scope...  Better to drive a stake in the ground and buy something that is already known to work.  Ask for known bugs over in the Test Equipment forum.
 

Offline AnyNameWillDo

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2018, 12:51:03 am »
Start simple and leave out all the high dollar stuff.  Get a couple of multimeters and all the hand tools.

But that's just the thing -- if I start with one set of gear and then upgrade things repeatedly over time, I'm spending more money in the long run, compared to if I just bought the right gear right off the bat. I'm trying to minimize overall/long-run cost, because I know once I get past these beginner hurdles this will be a hobby I'll spend a lot of time on.

It's also unclear to me what "all the hand tools" includes or what would be considered sufficient.

(Definitely right with the paralysis -- I went through this same analysis paralysis problem when I was building my home gym but I eventually got it settled and have been using the same equipment for years now because I bought good/quality parts and not cheap things that will need replacement, so it's a strategy that's worked for me even though it's infuriating while in the thick of it)
« Last Edit: July 22, 2018, 12:54:35 am by AnyNameWillDo »
 

Online rstofer

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2018, 01:16:43 am »
When you get conflicting opinions, it's hard to say which is correct.  Truth is, all are correct and that just further complicates things.  Most of us will tell you what we do/use/buy.  We can't come to terms with what we don't do/use/buy.

Hand tools:  xcelite but I'm not hung up on them.  You should expect to pay something like what xcelite costs and the $2 Harbor Freight variety probably won't work well. These will probably last a lifetime.  There are other good brands.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dindustrial&field-keywords=xcelite

One diagonal cutter, one flush cutter, one needle nose, one long nose, various driver sets, etc.

Search DigiKey for other manufacturers.  None of them will be junk, DigiKey doesn't sell junk:

https://www.digikey.com/products/en/tools/wire-cutters/234?k=flush%20cutter
https://www.digikey.com/products/en/tools/screw-and-nut-drivers-sets/249?k=hex%20driver%20set

Flush cutters are used to cut leads very close to the surface of a PCB.  Diagonal cutters are more general purpose and won't cut very close to the surface.  Buy the hex drivers and screwdrivers when you need them.


Solder: 0.025" Multicore 0.7 mm  I solder a lot of small SMD devices and I simply don't want large diameter solder.  I also buy solder paste and solder flux in syringes

https://www.amazon.com/Multicore-Ersin-Solder-0-7Mm-Diameter/dp/B0001P0GLW
https://www.amazon.com/MG-Chemicals-8341-10ML-Clean-Syringe/dp/B00425FUW2
https://www.amazon.com/Clean-Leaded-Solder-Paste-Grams/dp/B017RSZFQQ
https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/multicore/386824/82-104-ND/2498902

I do NOT mess around with Lead Free so others may choose different products.

As to solder diameter, this decision is unimportant because you can always buy another roll of solder with a larger diameter.  It's perfectly OK to have two or more rolls of solder.  Some people might have 3 rolls.  I just have the one...  And I buy it in much larger rolls and I think my current roll is about 15 years old.  It'll run out some day.

I have 3 different widths of SolderWick and all of them serve a different purpose.

It is unreasonable to expect people to defend YOUR list when they are using something different.  Your choices may be better but they won't know because they are using THEIR choices.

Don't overthink things.  Get the simple stuff, get started and see where you go.

And, no, I can't defend my choices above against anybody else's opinion.  Their view is just as valid as mine.
 
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Offline Relayer

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2018, 01:27:22 am »
Hello AnyNameWillDo,
You're definitely going to need parts draws, as there's nothing worse than trying to find a particular
value of a component, and in some cases, the working voltage. Get a Dymo labeler as well.
Sort by colour. i.e. Yellow for all resistors, white for transistos and MOSFETS etc.
Transistors are essential, from the small signal type to the brute power ones.
Try sticking to one type of transistor, i.e. 2NXXX USA types, European BC, BD etc, or
the Japanese ones, 2SXXXXX.
No point in buying inductors, unless you're into making SMPS or RF work. Just buy to demand.
You'll need electrolytic capacitors, ranging from 1uF to 4700uF with voltages ranging from 16V to 160V.
Anything higher than 4700uF or 163V should be purchased on demand.
A good stock of disc ceramic caps, as well as the MKT or Polyester types. Ceramics from 1pF to 100nF.
MKT or Polys from 1nF to 1.5uF.
Trimpots from 100Ω to 1MΩ, not the SMD types unless you're going to be doing heaps of SMD designs.
Potentiometers, mainly buy on demand, but if doing audio projects, then you'll need a stock of them, not
only linear types, but also logarithmic. And perhaps the dual types as well, but only on demand.
A decent multi-meter.
A capacitance or LCR meter would be good.
An ESR meter
A Digital Frequency Counter
A DC Lab power supply. Say 0 to 50V @ 5A
An isolation transformer, especially if trouble-shooting SMPS.
A good LED type bench magnifier.
An ESD mat with wrist strap.
But most important of all: A Fozgene Rectifier

Regards,
Relayer
 

Offline rhb

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2018, 01:35:37 am »

Focusing on kits and saying "build your own power supply" is not super helpful when half the replies online say it is absolutely not a beginner's project. Other comments involving oscilloscopes are outdated and also don't provide much context for how many channels we might want or why, Mhz, etc.


Well, I'm 65, maybe things have changed, but building a power supply was a standard beginners project when my Dad was a teenager in 1935 and still was when I was in my 20's.  And in my Dad's day the power supply was 200+ volts.  Anything you built used tubes and needed several hundred volts. So before you could build *anything* you had to build a HV PS. 

Yes, you *do* need to learn how to work with mains voltages.  That's a great place to start.  I've read many tales of woe in this forum because someone had not learned that and then blew up their DSO or other instrument.

It's sort of like learning to cross the street.  "Don't cross the street by yourself." is good advice for a 5 year old, but pretty ridiculous for someone 10 or more years older.

For SMD work I bought a roll of 0.35 mm 60/40 solder.  I've got multiple spools of varying sizes.  You choose the size of the solder to match the size of the connection you are making.  The thermal mass of the solder to be applied to the joint and the joint should be roughly equal.

And for God's sake, don't start fretting over building up a stock of parts.  That will *really* make you crazy!
 
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Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2018, 01:57:42 am »
I haven't really kept up on what's available in lab power supplies, as I have an old Power Designs which works well and we have a pile of HPs at work.

But whatever you get, make sure it has a built-in ammeter. It's always good to know how much current your circuit draws, and if it's within your expectations. Too little drawn, maybe something is disconnected or open. Too much drawn (or the thing crowbars) and you've got a short somewhere.
If you have a decent budget having a current limiting power supply is a must. I would consider this a decent budget. The ability to set and read back the current should and will save many circuits and projects. Rather than releasing the smoke you can quickly detect something has gone awry and correct the situation before any harm has been done.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2018, 02:10:09 am »
Thanks for the replies everyone but I feel like tearing my hair out at this point, lol.

There are simply too many options and I'm spending hours and hours and hours and hours and *hours* on every little thing and I feel like I'm just spinning my wheels.
That's why you need to avoid buying everything at once. You don't know what you need, so start with a solid basic set and use it to learn more. As you knowledge increases, the need for specific tools becomes more prominent. This process allows you to do your research spread out over a longer period of time.

That being said, I think your initial list was very decent. A Hakko FX888D, a Brymen BM235S or BM257S and something like a single or dual channel Korad power supply. Add a breadboard and you're all set. If you want to get a little more fancy you could add a DS1054Z.
 

Offline AnyNameWillDo

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2018, 02:30:22 am »
Well, I'm 65, maybe things have changed, but building a power supply was a standard beginners project when my Dad was a teenager in 1935 and still was when I was in my 20's.  And in my Dad's day the power supply was 200+ volts.  Anything you built used tubes and needed several hundred volts. So before you could build *anything* you had to build a HV PS. 

I'm getting off-topic here but reading this made me tear up, lol. My father passed when I was young, and he was into electronics, but we never had a chance to share the hobby together.

Yes, you *do* need to learn how to work with mains voltages.  That's a great place to start.  I've read many tales of woe in this forum because someone had not learned that and then blew up their DSO or other instrument.

Alright, I'll definitely keep this in mind. Sounds like a fun project, either way. :P

That being said, I think your initial list was very decent. A Hakko FX888D, a Brymen BM235S or BM257S and something like a single or dual channel Korad power supply. Add a breadboard and you're all set. If you want to get a little more fancy you could add a DS1054Z.

Would it be overkill to get the DP832, assuming it's unlikely I'll ever need to buy another power supply?
« Last Edit: July 22, 2018, 02:32:23 am by AnyNameWillDo »
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: My purchase list for my new lab -- budget $1000+, thoughts?
« Reply #24 on: July 22, 2018, 02:49:19 am »
I'm getting off-topic here but reading this made me tear up, lol. My father passed when I was young, and he was into electronics, but we never had a chance to share the hobby together.

Alright, I'll definitely keep this in mind. Sounds like a fun project, either way. :P

Would it be overkill to get the DP832, assuming it's unlikely I'll ever need to buy another power supply?
I feel your mistake is thinking you can buy things that will eliminate the need to buy other things of the same category forever. Perfect devices don't exist and no device will fill every need or purpose. You just need to get a solid basic set and go from there, adding parts tools and devices appropriate to your projects as you go along.
 
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