Author Topic: I want to make a luggable lab, are there any examples to draw inspiration from?  (Read 1211 times)

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Offline Artlav

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I tend to hop between places often, and not being able to just continue working can be unpleasant, thus i was contemplating making something the size of a suitcase that would contain most of the stuff needed. In my case it's usually either breadboard and module-level development, or populating and debugging an SMD-heavy PCB.

So, i need to fit a stock of components, a soldering station with supplies, a scope, a PSU, a tablet with datasheets and a basic set of instruments like multimeter, logic analyzer, programmers, etc into something that can be picked up as a unit with moderate discomfort and placed into a car trunk. It should also be usable in place, so a literal suitcase of stuff that needs unpacking to use is not what i'm looking for.

I doubt i'm the only one to make something like that, so the question is - do you know where to find projects like that to look at and draw inspiration from?

I seem to remember some talk on this forum involving a suitcase lab, having to strip down a scope and hating the idea of TSA messing with it, but can't quite find it.
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Offline JoeO

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Chris Gammell dabbled with this idea a few years ago.  I don't know what the outcome was.

I am pretty sure he talked about it on the Amp Hour podcast.

That is as much as I know.
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Offline JohnMc

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I remember seeing a Technician rolling case that would be a good start for this. Was about waist high top lid or drawer was set up for a laptop. Was made by one of the big hard case companies I think.
Could probably also make something out of all the portable modular tool/parts cases that are all the rage lately.
You could set both up to just need power and a small work surface. 


Offline mtdoc

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Chris Gammell dabbled with this idea a few years ago.  I don't know what the outcome was.

I am pretty sure he talked about it on the Amp Hour podcast.

And in the end I believe he went with an Analog Discovery - which is what I’d recommend. 

As long as you can get by with a 30 MHz scope bandwidth, an Analog Discovery (with BNC adapter), small laptop, DMM, a small portable power supply like the Tekpower TP3016M and you’re set. There should be plenty of fairly compact soldering iron options such as the venerable Hakko 888. The new Milwalkee M12 cordless iron could be a good super portable option.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 03:49:32 am by mtdoc »

Offline Ampera

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"I want to make a luggable lab"

Quick! Breaking Bad!

Yes I know it was more portable and not luggable, but close enough right?
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Offline rhb

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Search the HackaDay sites.

You might find a custom case made from from 1/4" plywood and piano hinge more flexible.  It really depends on how fancy you want to get and how big or small you want it to be.  You might want to try something that fits in a small case, but which you remove and unfold to use.

Offline CopperCone

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probobly a small rack mount thing and a delivery truck

Offline Cyberdragon

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What's your budget? You can get handheld scopes with built-in meters and possibly even logic analyzers. For an iron go for butane or rechargeable.
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Offline ez24

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Samsonite briefcases from the 80s make good cases.  You can use the lid area for instruments and the lower area for work area. 

For the PS, maybe a few adjustable bucks driven by a laptop supply ( this can sit on the floor).  You could set up a 3.3, 5, 9, 12 and variable PS and a couple extra 5 V supplies. 

A cheap DSO such as the DSO-112, 150 or 138 can fit in the lid and will be at eye level.

There should be room for some simple DIY  FGs such as a 555 based or XR2206. 

All can be hooked up using cheap but accurate panel meters.  An Aneng 8008 is small but useful and will fit in the lid.  3M Dual Lock can hold everything together.  If you use pegboard in the lid then the wiring can be hidden behind it.

All this can be carried by one hand.  Using another Samsonite briefcase, the needed "supplies" can be carried in the other hand.  No wheels or straps needed.

In other words, this is what I did.

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Offline NiHaoMike

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My first thought would be to basically build a laptop out of a Odroid XU4 (cheap and powerful) and have a bunch of compartments for tools and parts of small projects.
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Offline rstofer

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Spend more time at the Digilent site looking at the features of the Analog Discovery 2.  Dual channel 30 MHz scope, dual channel arbitrary waveform generator, dual adjustable power supplies, 16 channel digital IO that can be used as a logic analyzer, and so on.

Add in a laptop and you're good to go.

Power bricks might work well if your projects can run on the limitations of USB current (or use a powered hub which you should use anyway).

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