Author Topic: Final bits suggestion for my lab?  (Read 10220 times)

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Offline kaptain_zero

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Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« on: May 20, 2012, 01:55:08 am »
OK. I've been piecing together a hobby lab.... and I think I have most of what I want/need, but it's the last few trinkets that are throwing me off a wee bit.

A list of what I have obtained so far:
2 Fluke 87V's (second one was really a *fluke*.... I thought an ebay item was going too cheap.... I bid and ended up winning it!)
1 Beckman DMM (Ol' reliable)
1 Extech 330
1 Hakko FX888 (I got tired of swapping hot tips on the 936 and needing to bandage my blisters)
1 Hakko 936
1 Victor VC3165 Frequency Counter
1 Hitachi V-1065A 100MHz Analog Oscilloscope (my pride and joy.... and it was donated to me!)
1 GQ-A305D 5A 30V Power supply
1 Cheapo Chinese hot air station
1 Heat Gun for heat shrink tubing
1 Panavice
2 Magnified bench lights... 1 small, 1 large
1 Hakko Soldering Thermometer (don't ask... it was cheap, OK?)
3 Chinese made screw driver sets (From DX and YES, I'm really happy with them, even if they were cheap)
1 Cheapo 100w Solder Pot from DX. I have a particular need for this one... it works fine with a step up transformer I already had. 110/220V
1 RF signal generator Elenco SG-9000
1 30"x72" DISSIPATIVE/CONDUCTIVE bench mat

Which leaves me looking for a DDS signal generator and a DSO scope + whatever else I've not thought of.

The signal generator I'm looking at is the Siglent SDG-1020 for around $360.00. I'm not sure if it's what I need... the Ebay descriptions leave something to be desired. I'm thinking a lesser unit would suffice, but sweep function and higher frequencies would probably come in handy down the road as I'm a ham and I'm looking at building some radio gear for myself. I've been out of amateur radio for over 10 years now, but when I was active, I was mainly operating on satellite frequencies in the 144MHz, 440MHz and 1.2GHz range... In the near future, I'm hoping that will include 2.4GHz and 5.x GHz while I still remain active in the "just above the AM band", another favorite of mine. I like the extremes of things, rather than the "fat easy middle stuff" that everyone else seems to be involved in.

DSO? I can see the advantages of it.... Frankly, Dave's "mixed domain" scope seems ideal, but so very far out of reach...... My Hitachi seems pretty capable, but storage appears to be important in order to "capture" stuff......  Owon has some features I like, such as a big screen and the ability to hook up to a REALLY BIG screen.... (my eye sight is not what it used to be...<sigh>) but that alone is not enough. If I have to squint to save some $$$ but get the data I need... then so be it.

So there you have it, Signal generator and DSO is what I *think* I need next (besides cleaning out the "shack" and building my new lab bench!) and what little else I need will probably follow logically on it's own.

Feel free to comment, suggest or for that matter, chastise. Kaptain Zero has always been the Champion of Lost Causes and futile endeavours.


Regards

Christian aka

Kaptain "What do I know?" Zero
 

Offline Ed.Kloonk

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2012, 01:57:54 am »
Didn't see a hammer on that list. I ain't havin' it!

 :)
 

Offline kaptain_zero

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2012, 01:58:40 am »
 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
 

Offline TerminalJack505

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2012, 02:04:06 am »
Stereo microscope?
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2012, 02:18:48 am »
Variac?
Isolating transformer?
Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2012, 02:46:16 am »
Well it's fairly obvious that a DSO should be next on your list.
You might not understand why you need it, but once you use it and have the ability to capture single shot waveforms, you won't look back.
I deem it to be an absolutely essential tool in modern electronics, and no lab is complete without one.

20+ years ago it was different...

Dave.
 

Offline Zad

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2012, 03:40:04 am »
Don't forget a convenient wall so you can show everyone how high you can reach.

Seriously dude, are you learning electronics or collecting test gear?

Offline kaptain_zero

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2012, 03:45:45 am »
Dave, that actually makes sense to me (frightening, I know......) This leaves the question of which one?

The Rigol has been much talked about, but it has aged somewhat... new firmware etc. and I believe that those are steps that have been taken to deal with the simple firmware hacks, but I honestly have not kept up with those threads, simply because I don't own one, and I only have so much free time for reading!

The recent mention of the Owon scopes, with their larger screens and optional output to a monitor have my attention, but as it's the capability of measurement that is most important, I wonder if Rigol is still where "It's at."?

I still see the need to be able inject quality signals into the circuits I intend to work on, so keeping some change aside for a more than basic signal generator would still seem advisable. And yet.... the scope I buy, should be the last scope I buy. Better to buy the right one first, rather than buy too cheap and cry... and then have to buy again. 

Please keep in mind, RF electronics is where I am heading, even if it's not where I'm at right now. 1.8MHz to 5.7GHz is the range I hope to dabble in, with the low side (1.8 to 50MHz) being my primary area of interest. Being a hobby... I could wander off in all sorts of directions, that's the fun of hobbies.... I don't have to make a living at it, and if I get bored, I go do something else. But... it's no fun if you have a bunch of gear that doesn't do what you need it to do. It's also no fun to eat mac and cheese because you spent all your money on test gear, and  you still can't afford that 10 pack of resistors to build your $3 project!  :o

I've spent a significant amount of money on what I have so far, and I don't regret it. The confidence I have/get from using quality tools, justifies the expense. I  cannot afford to overspend, but I really cannot afford to UNDERSPEND!

So.... if possible, could you (Dave) and or anyone else for that matter, give me a more concrete suggestion on which DSO(s) to consider? It's just so dang hard to decide what I need, when I don't have a baseline to go from.

Well it's fairly obvious that a DSO should be next on your list.
You might not understand why you need it, but once you use it and have the ability to capture single shot waveforms, you won't look back.
I deem it to be an absolutely essential tool in modern electronics, and no lab is complete without one.

20  years ago it was different...

Dave.

Christian
 

Online vk6zgo

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2012, 04:01:46 am »

Ask yourself,"How often do I really need to capture single shot waveforms,versus how often do I need to look at things in the frequency domain?"
If you need the latter more often,forget the DSO for now,--buy a Spectrum Analyser.
If you can afford it,some have tracking generators,which solves your Signal Generator problem.

OK,you can get quite nice DSOs for a lot less than the cheapest Spec An,but if you are concentrating on RF,you may not find much use for their capabilities.
Obviously the new "Mixed Domain" devices give you the best of both worlds,but at an enormous price.
 

Online vk6zgo

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2012, 04:04:43 am »
Well it's fairly obvious that a DSO should be next on your list.
You might not understand why you need it, but once you use it and have the ability to capture single shot waveforms, you won't look back.
I deem it to be an absolutely essential tool in modern electronics, and no lab is complete without one.

20+ years ago it was different...

Dave.

20+ years ago,DSOs were garbage!!
 

Offline kaptain_zero

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2012, 04:07:42 am »
Uhh.... that comment actually had some sting to it!  :-[

Yes, I AM prone to collecting tools, of all sorts. I have several acquisition disorders, with only the latest being electronics tools, but I am focused on getting back into electronics (for the 3rd time actually, as I never made my living from it... it's always been a hobby for me).

I am a "Jack of all trades" type person. I find it hard to remain faithful to any ONE area of interest. This is probably my greatest weakness, but it's also my greatest strength, and it never ceases to amaze me at how I can solve problems by using things I've learned in other areas, not actually related to what I'm doing at the moment. 

Still, you have reminded me to focus more clearly.... I have a great collection of tools.... time to start building, instead of looking at what I need to buy next....

Regards

Kaptain "Where's my woodworker's hat, I need to finish my benches" Zero


Don't forget a convenient wall so you can show everyone how high you can reach.

Seriously dude, are you learning electronics or collecting test gear?
 

Offline kaptain_zero

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2012, 04:21:17 am »
vk6zgo de ve4set,

I still have nightmares about the last spectrum analyser I used (22   years ago)... I think it weighed 80lbs. I almost got a hernia from moving that thing!  ;D
It was only good for up to 500MHz, but it worked, and helped set up our digital network gear at the time.

73

buy a Spectrum Analyser.
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2012, 05:09:08 am »
Collected any components, wire, a bread board (and/or perfboard) to build anything with?

I don't see any basic hand tools listed either, such as cutters, pliers, and as mentioned, a hammer. X-acto knife and good supply of spare blades is nice to have as well.
 

Offline kaptain_zero

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2012, 05:24:02 am »
Sorry, I should have included that I have a reasonably well stocked junk box and an adequate selection of hand tools in my list. I do need a new breadboard though.... but these sorts of things are inexpensive, and can be picked up at the local electronics shop when the need arises, and I drive by on my way home from work.... much to my wallets dismay.

Regards

Christian


PS.

Perhaps I should add that I used to operate a amateur radio Satellite Gateway station in the past, fully automated with no operator input required. This was before and during the appearance of the Internet in our fair town. Originally, the only access I had to the internet was through a radio based gateway we placed at the local University. It operated at a blistering 1200 baud... later upgraded to 9600 baud. Everything was text based at a command prompt. Telnet, finger, ftp, smtp and so forth. I would, by using an old unix dumb terminal, terminal node controller and a vhf fm radio,  access the internet to get satellite "keps" from Amsat that I could use with my Comodore 64 to track satellites in real time. I also recall being shown a marvelous piece of software called "Mosaic" which was something called a browser meant to display stuff graphically and used something they called the World Wide Web. Who would have thought that would catch on, eh?

Back to my gateway, as mentioned, it was fully automated with antennas that tracked low earth orbit satellites and I had to build my own tracking box (self contained computer as using a real computer, just for that, was too expensive at the time), analog to digital interfaces with opto electric isolators and the list goes on... Today it sounds so old fashioned, but back then it seemed like bleeding edge stuff to me. My station was responsible for handling all message traffic destined for Canadian hams using packet radio and I would upload outgoing messages to the satellite for the rest of the world. It was fun, mentally challenging and ultimately became irrelevant with the advent of email and the www becoming available to everyone. It was a lot of work and challenging at the time. I spent many an evening reading and learning electronics in order to build, modify or fix something in my station, but when the internet became common, it seemed pointless and expensive, so I dropped the whole thing and went on to other hobbies. Today, as I approach retirement, I've once again found an interest in electronics (very much thanks to Dave and his EEVblog) and I'm wondering where it will all go, but I suspect it will be ham radio related in my case. 

So there you have my ham/electronics background. I was actually trained as a agricultural mechanic/machinist, later working as a gunsmith, driving instructor, motorcycle, marine and finally auto mechanic before I left the trade to do something completely different, where I will remain until I reach retirement, and then I'll probably attempt to find something else to learn that I can do for fun/money. 
« Last Edit: May 20, 2012, 06:03:43 am by kaptain_zero »
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2012, 09:51:00 am »
Seriously dude, are you learning electronics or collecting test gear?

haha, i've heard of worse reasons.

And i've seen people get jobs just by showing off their home lab.

"This guy has an awesome electronics lab at home, he must be good. Hire him at once!"
Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2012, 11:08:32 am »
So.... if possible, could you (Dave) and or anyone else for that matter, give me a more concrete suggestion on which DSO(s) to consider? It's just so dang hard to decide what I need, when I don't have a baseline to go from.

What's your budget? that determines everything.
As I mentioned in another thread, the Rigol 2000 series is coming out soon, and it looks really nice on paper at around the $1K price point.

Dave.
 

Online vk6zgo

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2012, 11:54:40 am »
Seriously dude, are you learning electronics or collecting test gear?

haha, i've heard of worse reasons.

And i've seen people get jobs just by showing off their home lab.

"This guy has an awesome electronics lab at home, he must be good. Hire him at once!"

Or maybe:"This guy has an awesome electronics lab at home,if we hire him,we can use his stuff,& save money on buying our own!" ;D
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2012, 12:08:08 pm »
Or maybe:"This guy has an awesome electronics lab at home,if we hire him,we can use his stuff,& save money on buying our own!" ;D

Been there, done that!

Dave.
 

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2012, 01:47:41 pm »
Sorry, I should have included that I have a reasonably well stocked junk box and an adequate selection of hand tools in my list.
Fine and dandy but what about the really important stuff for creativity

Where is the
  • beer fridge
  • Capacino machine
  • surround sound
  • comfy chair
  • WhiteDoodle Board
  • Magazine Rack
  • Insprational posters
  • R/C battle copters
  • stash of cheese snacks
 

Offline kaptain_zero

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2012, 07:42:50 pm »
Important questions for sure!

1. I prefer to drink my beer before it gets cold.........

2. Life is too short to drink bad coffee, there's plenty of time to sleep AFTER I'm dead. No machine made coffee for me!

3. Stereo has that "Old World" charm for me, I crank up such tunes as "Fat man in the bathtub" by Little Feat!

4. Have picked out new chair, it awaits the rebuild of "my shack" in the basement.

5. Doodle board has been replaced by rolled up note paper conveniently located next to chair in library.

6. Magazine rack also located in library.... the one with the porcelain chair in it.

7. Inspirational posters were banned by the Rolling Pin Dept..... (What does she have against 7 of 9 anyway? Sheesh, women are such touchy creatures sometimes.......).

8. R/C battle copters..... Uhm.... After that misshap with an R/C quadcopter indoors, I've decided to take a more conventional approach to decorating. I've also noted that while chicks dig scars, which made my shaving with straight razors seem less worrysome, I discovered that repeating rows of scars from the previously mentioned quadcoptor does not appear to have the same effect on chicks.....<sigh>

9. Is there anyone alive who DOES NOT HAVE a stash of "Hawkins Cheezies"?!?!?!    :o http://tinyurl.com/7d8p8ts

Regards

Kaptain "That reminds me, gotta go get more Cheezies" Zero


Where is the
  • beer fridge
  • Capacino machine
  • surround sound
  • comfy chair
  • WhiteDoodle Board
  • Magazine Rack
  • Insprational posters
  • R/C battle copters
  • stash of cheese snacks
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2012, 07:55:19 pm »
1 don't drink beer
2 coffee.........
3 only got 2 ears
4 check, it works
5 pen and paper to hand
6 ebooks
7 8 in cupboard
9 I used to make those, had enough of them to last a lifetime. I prefer a nicely aged Camembert or Brie.

As to the equipment, just ordered a new digital scope, to complement my 5000 series. Too big to use comfortably on the table. Meters I lost count, latest is a sale item from RS, Iso Tech ICM A9 clamp meter - idiot proof, it only has one button ( must have been designed by Steve Jobs) on it.
 

Offline T4P

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2012, 08:47:17 pm »
As to the equipment, just ordered a new digital scope, to complement my 5000 series. Too big to use comfortably on the table. Meters I lost count, latest is a sale item from RS, Iso Tech ICM A9 clamp meter - idiot proof, it only has one button ( must have been designed by Steve Jobs) on it.
;D
 

Offline kaptain_zero

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2012, 10:38:03 pm »
I found the time to look up some information regarding the new Rigols, I think I'm going to sit on my hands and wait until they are out before deciding. That not only gives me time to finish the new bench, but I might even get some needed electronics projects done. 

It probably won't hurt to let the CC cool off a bit either....<sigh>.

Does anyone have a good suggestion for the distance between the bench surface to the underside of the first shelf? I tried 13" or 33cm, but for some reason, it didn't seem quite right.

Regards

Christian
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2012, 11:02:05 pm »
2 Fluke 87V's (second one was really a *fluke*.... I thought an ebay item was going too cheap.... I bid and ended up winning it!)

Do you mind sharing how much you got the second one for and how much shipping was to Canada?
 

Offline kaptain_zero

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2012, 01:12:21 am »

Do you mind sharing how much you got the second one for and how much shipping was to Canada?

Got it for $181.50 + $18.00 for shipping (all Canadian $ amounts) from Burnaby, BC.  Unit was brand new, but box and manual were not included in the sale. Seller included an old set of Fluke test cables with it (he'd sent the NEW Fluke ones with another meter he'd sold), but for $17 locally, I had a brand new set of Pomona test leads. Unit was new, the plastic protection was still on the LCD, and it, and the entire unit was new/clean and unblemmished.  As mentioned, I didn't expect to get it for my max bid of $185, but I did. I think I paid around 240 for my other one and it cost more like $30 for shipping from the US. It was in it's box, brand new, but sold by someone who buys up stock from stores that have closed.  Both meters read exactly the same.... The Beckman I have is usually no more than one least significant digit off, so I'm super happy with all of my meters. My Extech reads consistantly low in the voltage ranges, but it's within spec so I can't complain about it.

So no super cheap deals, but I think I got my Flukes at a good enough price.

Regards

Christian

Regards

Christian
 

Offline ciccio

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2012, 12:12:34 pm »
A Variac (with a digital display)
An insulation transformer.
A box with a mains socket with it's own dual pole (live + neutral) illuminated switch (wired to a different  RCD than the one powering the lights),
these things saved many times my prototype and maybe my life, preventing me to make mistakes.
Best regards
Ciccio

Strenua Nos Exercet Inertia
 

Offline Teneyes

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2012, 11:49:23 pm »
Quote
My Extech 330 reads consistently low in the voltage ranges, but it's within spec so I can't complain about it."
Hi Christian,
You may wish to contact  Extech for calibration procedures, I did and did a recalibration
See: Brian.McAuley@Extech.com
        www.Extech.com
        Phone: (781) 890-7440 X147
        Fax: (781) 890-2987

Len , from Beautiful BC, I did some time With Telesat Canada,

IiIiIiIiIi  --  curiosity killed the cat but, satisfaction brought it back
 

Offline xquercus

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2012, 11:55:09 pm »
Quote
Well it's fairly obvious that a DSO should be next on your list.
I'm not so sure I agree.  The OP's interest seems to be RF and there is an entire community of amateur radio designer and builders who stick to the analog world entirely.  If this is where the OP's interests lie, I'm not sure why single shot would be do useful.  He already has an analog scope.  I've just recently begun to explore the digital building blocks of radio and have really only used the single shot capability of my DSO as a poor man's logic analyzer to debug interfaces between my microcontroller and connected DDS and related devices.  Perhaps I'm under-utilizing my scope?

My advice to kaptain_zero is to keep on building.  Eventually the next piece of gear for your shack will present itself out of necessity.

de W7WWA

 

Offline Teneyes

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Re: Final bits suggestion for my lab?
« Reply #28 on: May 22, 2012, 12:18:10 am »
My work in communications SSB, VHF, UHF mainly used a FM/AM Communications Service Monitor / Analyzer, See:
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p272.m570.l1313&_nkw=ifr+communications&_sacat=0
IiIiIiIiIi  --  curiosity killed the cat but, satisfaction brought it back
 


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