Author Topic: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?  (Read 13587 times)

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Offline Ampere

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Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« on: June 10, 2015, 04:04:17 am »
I'm an EE student who has recently started to delve into the world of hobby electronics -- which I've learned more from in a few weeks than some of my classes have taught me. Especially thanks to the people like Dave who put helpful info online for us struggling beginners.

Anyway, I'm currently working on my first real electronics project. It's the whole package: design, simulate, have board printed, assemble, test, brag, etc. Partially for fun and partially as a mini simulation of the actual process. I'm currently knee-deep in the design stage, but I've just realized that I don't have the equipment to actually assemble the thing, and classes are out for summer so that removes the possibility of using the school's equipment. So I'm looking for equipment which is reasonably inexpensive but will last a long time if well taken care of.

First I need a soldering station. The ones at my school put my wimpy pencil-size, no-adjustment soldering iron to shame. I've heard nothing but good things about the Hakko Digital FX888D. Is there anything better at this price point? I also plan on using lead-free solder (I've gotten quite a bit of practice with traditional solder in my classes, don't worry) so will I need special soldering tips? Are tips universal or is there a way to tell which ones will fit?

Next I need a proper multimeter. The one I'm currently using is a 2000-count manual ranging Craftsman which doesn't even have a fuse on its 10A input (not that I measure 10A often, but still) and no capacitance measurement. I've watched Dave's $50 and $100 shootouts, but those videos are rather old and Dave puts a lot more focus on ruggedness than I do. My meter will hardly ever leave my desk and I focus more on accuracy, especially because my project is an audio mixer and I'll be trying to match my resistors the best I can. I looked at the spreadsheet (thanks to the folks who made it!) and I've managed to narrow it down. In the ~$100 area are the VA32A, VA38, DT-80000R and in the ~$150 area are the BM856, UT171A, DMM914, and VA58.

I'm a bit wary of the VA32A, VA38, VA58, and DT-80000R because they come from a Chinese manufacturer. Now, I've seen a few Chinese products which were actually good but, unfortunately, I can't find enough info about these meters online to know whether they're the good kind or not.

The BM857 and UT171A look pretty good, but they lack the temperature measurement. That sounds like something that would be pretty useful when analyzing thermal problems in circuits, but how big of a problem is it to not have it? The UT171A also has data logging capability. Does that have some sort of practical application or is it just something they add in to sell more meters? Then there's the DMM914. I've used a few Tekronix products and they all seem to be very high quality.

I'm currently leaning towards the BM857 because it's the only one I've seen recommended elsewhere. Does anyone have any experience with the BM857, DMM914 or any of the other meters I've listed?

Finally I'll need some sort of oscilloscope. I've often been told that it's best to simply buy a second-hand analog scope off of Craigslist because a good scope is very, very expensive when purchased new. Should I take this route? I've also heard of another solution. I've seen others use the sound card in their PC as an oscilloscope (after properly buffering the input, the schematics of which are available online). Does anyone have any experience with doing this? This would be ideal because my PC's sound card is pretty good and portability isn't really an issue for me.
 

Offline nickn4

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2015, 04:39:26 am »
Hey and welcome to the forums!

i have not read much about the post, just small parts and i noticed you are considering to buy a second hand scope..
well just this week i got my first scope ever. I bought a Hitatchi v422 second hand from Paul on these forums (username PA0PBZ), for real cheap! i would highly recommend try to get one, its not only useful but a lot of fun to learn about too! if you want to see the whole story yourself check out my post. https://www.eevblog.com/forum/buysellwanted/(wtb)-oscilloscope-for-beginner/

Further more check out this video from dave, i think it might be useful to you.


nick
~ A Mechatronic student and hobbyist
 

Offline Ampere

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2015, 05:08:01 am »
Hey and welcome to the forums!

i have not read much about the post, just small parts and i noticed you are considering to buy a second hand scope..
well just this week i got my first scope ever. I bought a Hitatchi v422 second hand from Paul on these forums (username PA0PBZ), for real cheap! i would highly recommend try to get one, its not only useful but a lot of fun to learn about too! if you want to see the whole story yourself check out my post. https://www.eevblog.com/forum/buysellwanted/(wtb)-oscilloscope-for-beginner/

Further more check out this video from dave, i think it might be useful to you.


nick

It sounds like our situations are similar! Hopefully I can find someone nearby who is willing to part with an oscilloscope. As you mentioned in your post, it's very difficult to find equipment that's in good shape being sold by a reputable dealer on sites like eBay. I worry that I might just be buying a metal box full of loose parts.

I'll be sure to check out that video. It looks like a good place to start.
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2015, 05:33:06 am »
Soldering irons that work correctly are a joy to use. Don't skimp on this. The Hakko won't let you down.

First of all, those VA series meters are rebrands of some models I have seen around. CATIII 1000V? Not very likely and a good indication that if they are willing to lie about that then what else is being lied about? I would not trust it.

The DT-8000R is a Digitek. I have reviewed the DT-2843R and for the bench it is OK. I have also seen other Digitek models that are just complete failures so I can't recommend the DT-8000R. Perhaps someone else can comment on that one.

The Uni-T UT171A is a nice overall meter but the continuity is a bit slow and the one I have seems to be out of specification and changes a bit with temperature. I am still investigating this.

The BM857s is a very good meter, but for the same price I would rather recommend the BM829s as it has temperature, dual display, and a few extras. It has less accuracy and counts but this is not important for many people and for most uses. There is also the BM257s.

You can also consider the UT139C. It costs around $50 and is all that most people would need in a multimeter. This way you can get two. This can be more useful than you think, such as when you wish to measure input and output at the same time, or voltage and current.

You might find that $50 multimeter and an LCR meter would be more useful. The DER EE DE-5000 can be had for around $100.

Some others: (cut and pasted from another thread)
http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/amprobe/multimeters/am-270.htm
Good safe meter with most features but horrible back light

http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/amprobe/multimeters/am-530.htm
another pretty good one

http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/bk-precision/multimeters/2709b.htm
Dave also liked this one

An oscilloscope is an almost need for what you want to do. Get anything you can that has 20MHz or better bandwidth. A good used analog will do you better than a cheap junk USB scope.
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2015, 10:31:12 am »
Soldering Station:

Given you live in the US, you won't be able to do better on a $100 budget than a Hakko FX888D. If you'd prefer a knob to control it, there's the Weller WES51. Do note that both are entry level stations. Between the two, Hakko has the edge on tips; they have thicker plating (= longer lifespan), as well as more shapes than Weller's ET series tips for the WES51.

Now if you're willing to increase your budget, you can get improved performance. Next step would be a Hakko FX-951 for example ($267 in the US; uses cartridge tips that include the heating element and thermal sensor), so a fair jump in funding required; bit over 3x the cost actually based on street prices for the FX888D. And you can go quite a bit higher for a single iron configuration. Brands to look at besides Hakko and Weller would be JBC, Ersa, OKi/Metcal, Pace, and Thermaltronics.

DMM:

LightAges offers some excellent advice IMHO.  :-+

Regarding the BM857, I actually own one. It's a fine meter, but do note it's an older model (value has diminished v. their newer offerings IMHO).

Pricing at the time of posting this (tme.eu):As you can see, for $20 more, you can get a BM867 instead, which uses a dual display (very nice IMHO). The BM829 also offers dual display and similar features with fewer counts (6000 counts will do most anything you'll encounter). BM869 does as well of course, but the additional features pushes the price up. BTW, the BM86x series is the updated version of the BM85x series (single display swapped for a dual, which required a different case).

In any case, you get a lot for your money with Brymen.  ;D

For under $50, the Uni-T UT139C is a nice meter (has input protection suitable for mains), which is cheap enough you can get multiples (think simultaneous measurements), or allow for an LCR, such as the DER DE-5000 as previously mentioned. A fully kitted out DE-5000 + UT139C can be had for ~$200 shipped.

Oscilloscope:

What's your budget, and what will you be doing?

I'm fond of CRO's, but a modern DSO is a lot more useful IMHO (screen captures for example). As per cost, you can get a DS1054Z in the US for $375 shipped (4 channels). Hack it, and you'll up it to 100MHz, double the memory, and enable all of the software features. Makes for one hell of a value.  :-+

PM sent.  ;)
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2015, 03:29:19 pm »
If the budget can handle it, get a UT139C and the DS1054Z.  This would serve you very well. If the budget can handle more then the DS1054Z plus the BM869s.
 

Offline Ampere

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2015, 05:07:55 pm »
Soldering irons that work correctly are a joy to use. Don't skimp on this. The Hakko won't let you down.

That's good to know.

Quote
First of all, those VA series meters are rebrands of some models I have seen around. CATIII 1000V? Not very likely and a good indication that if they are willing to lie about that then what else is being lied about? I would not trust it.

The DT-8000R is a Digitek. I have reviewed the DT-2843R and for the bench it is OK. I have also seen other Digitek models that are just complete failures so I can't recommend the DT-8000R. Perhaps someone else can comment on that one.

Alright. I think I'll skip those two. It's not worth using a meter that might fail no matter how good the listed specs are.

Quote
The Uni-T UT171A is a nice overall meter but the continuity is a bit slow and the one I have seems to be out of specification and changes a bit with temperature. I am still investigating this.

Slow continuity doesn't bother me, but the changing with temperature doesn't sound good.

Quote
The BM857s is a very good meter, but for the same price I would rather recommend the BM829s as it has temperature, dual display, and a few extras. It has less accuracy and counts but this is not important for many people and for most uses. There is also the BM257s.

The BM829 looks really good. According to the spreadsheet, it also allows for the display of two measurements unlike the BM857. It also says that it has a Low-Z mode. What is the practical application of such a feature? Just to detect very, very tiny voltages?

Quote
You can also consider the UT139C. It costs around $50 and is all that most people would need in a multimeter. This way you can get two. This can be more useful than you think, such as when you wish to measure input and output at the same time, or voltage and current.

I do have a few cheaper meters that can be used with the new one. I'm more worried that I don't have one single good meter for critical measurements.

Quote
You might find that $50 multimeter and an LCR meter would be more useful. The DER EE DE-5000 can be had for around $100.

You make a good point. I don't currently have an LCR meter of any kind and I haven't thought to do any research on one. I might take this route.

Quote
An oscilloscope is an almost need for what you want to do. Get anything you can that has 20MHz or better bandwidth. A good used analog will do you better than a cheap junk USB scope.

I'll keep that in mind. I found someone who might be willing to part with their analog scope, but I have no idea what shape it is in yet. Hopefully this goes well.

If the budget can handle it, get a UT139C and the DS1054Z.  This would serve you very well. If the budget can handle more then the DS1054Z plus the BM869s.

That's a bit outside my budget for the moment, but the DS1054Z does look like a really nice scope. Maybe I'll upgrade to that one in the future.
 

Offline Ampere

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2015, 05:52:09 pm »
Soldering Station:

Given you live in the US, you won't be able to do better on a $100 budget than a Hakko FX888D. If you'd prefer a knob to control it, there's the Weller WES51. Do note that both are entry level stations. Between the two, Hakko has the edge on tips; they have thicker plating (= longer lifespan), as well as more shapes than Weller's ET series tips for the WES51.

I like the physical knob on the Weller and it looks less like a toy than the Hakko! I'll definitely consider it.

Quote
Now if you're willing to increase your budget, you can get improved performance. Next step would be a Hakko FX-951 for example ($267 in the US; uses cartridge tips that include the heating element and thermal sensor), so a fair jump in funding required; bit over 3x the cost actually based on street prices for the FX888D. And you can go quite a bit higher for a single iron configuration. Brands to look at besides Hakko and Weller would be JBC, Ersa, OKi/Metcal, Pace, and Thermaltronics.

The FX-951 looks like a good piece of equipment, but I'm not sure that I would really use any of its extra features.

Quote
Regarding the BM857, I actually own one. It's a fine meter, but do note it's an older model (value has diminished v. their newer offerings IMHO).

As you can see, for $20 more, you can get a BM867 instead, which uses a dual display (very nice IMHO). The BM829 also offers dual display and similar features with fewer counts (6000 counts will do most anything you'll encounter). BM869 does as well of course, but the additional features pushes the price up. BTW, the BM86x series is the updated version of the BM85x series (single display swapped for a dual, which required a different case).

In any case, you get a lot for your money with Brymen.  ;D

I hadn't considered the BM867 because the spreadsheet showed it as a much higher price. But now I'll definitely add it to my list. It looks like a good meter and I've heard a lot of good things about Brymen.

Quote
For under $50, the Uni-T UT139C is a nice meter (has input protection suitable for mains), which is cheap enough you can get multiples (think simultaneous measurements), or allow for an LCR, such as the DER DE-5000 as previously mentioned. A fully kitted out DE-5000 + UT139C can be had for ~$200 shipped.

I'm definitely considering it. I'm not sure how useful an LCR meter would be for me. I've honestly never even used one before and the thought hadn't crossed my mind until it was suggested.

Quote
What's your budget, and what will you be doing?

My budget is as little money as possible haha. I'm mostly going to be using it for simple analog and digital circuits. Right now I'm working on an audio mixer so that would be its first use. I'm not really sure what I'm going to use it for beyond that which is why I was considering getting a used analog scope.

Quote
I'm fond of CRO's, but a modern DSO is a lot more useful IMHO (screen captures for example). As per cost, you can get a DS1054Z in the US for $375 shipped (4 channels). Hack it, and you'll up it to 100MHz, double the memory, and enable all of the software features. Makes for one hell of a value.  :-+

That does sound like a good deal, but well beyond my price range at the moment. Perhaps sometime in the future, though.
 

Offline JackP

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2015, 07:43:10 pm »
It'll be perfect for analogue work, but it won't be all that great for digital circuits. Maybe consider an eBay Saleae clone logic analyser for <£10?
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2015, 09:55:57 pm »
The FX-951 looks like a good piece of equipment, but I'm not sure that I would really use any of its extra features.
On the surface, they seem small and insignificant. In reality however, they're very noticeable. For example, the cartridge tip technology provides faster & improved performance, and the stand is connected to the station which gives you better setback features (helps increase tip life even further = saves you money).

Seriously, if you use a station of this quality or better, you're understanding of ^ will be measured in minutes.  >:D

I hadn't considered the BM867 because the spreadsheet showed it as a much higher price. But now I'll definitely add it to my list. It looks like a good meter and I've heard a lot of good things about Brymen.
I don't think you'd be disappointed. But if you can swing the BM869s, the extra features are worth the cost IMHO. If not, and you want those additional features, the BM829 would be the meter of choice (don't be afraid of 6000 counts, as it will do for most anything you encounter).

My budget is as little money as possible haha.    ...oscilloscope...
I get that.  :)

Although you may not technically *require* a scope for the basics, it sure helps a LOT. And given they're not horribly expensive these days to get started, it makes sense to go ahead and get one IMHO (not the cost of a decent used car anymore). So if the CRO you're looking at will do what you need and is at the right price, I say go for it.  ;)

You can always get an entry level DSO later, and hang onto the CRO.  ;)
 

Offline G0HZU

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2015, 11:10:28 pm »
Assuming you are still starting out as a EE student and will just be looking at simple audio stuff (at project level) my advice would be to stick with your existing 2000 count meter and try and make use of your PC soundcard as much as possible.

Spend some of the money you have on parts and a nice enclosure for your mixer. A decent soldering iron is really nice to use but are you sure you really need one at the moment? I used a cheapo Antex hobby iron for many years and didn't upgrade to a decent Weller iron for several years after I'd started full time work.

Work out how to match your resistors and measure capacitance and ESR using the soundcard from basic principles about impedance measurement (it will look better on your student report than just using a flashy new DMM even if the accuracy suffers a bit)

If you have any basic programming skills you could even write your own SW for the soundcard. eg spectrum analyser and voltmeter and test signal generator etc etc. But you can also get stuff like this as freeware.

A used analogue scope should be fairly cheap and may be useful for spotting things like RF instability. Otherwise, the PC soundcard will probably be OK for most of your audio related requirements.

Splashing out loads of cash on modern test gear won't make you a better engineer. But learning how to do the stuff I suggested above definitely will :)

 

Offline Rupunzell

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2015, 05:36:43 am »
Consider a Hexacon TOT-1002, find these on ebay for less than $50 (oldest ones are green, then black-brown, most recent are black blue. They are all basically the same inside including the iron.) in good working condition. Been using these DAILY for decades, they simply work, nothing fancy, no plastic base housing to crack, very repairable and currently supported. These Hexacon solder units were designed to a US military spec and they are built to those old durable, reliable, repairable standards.

Don't skimp on basic hand tools such as cutter, pliers and such. Look for good deals on Lindstrom, EREM, Excelta and other high quality hand tools specifically made for electronics work. Cheap hand tools often result in utter frustration and problems. In all, about $100 USD should get the entire tool and soldering set up.

There is literally a pile of vintage hewlett-packard, Fluke, Tektronix, Systron Donner, Fairchild, Keithley and many others from that era that is of extreme value on the used and swap market. There are full service manuals for them on the web or else where. Your engineering education can be FAR better served by learning how to fix many of these classic items of instrumentation and fixing-manitaning them can teach FAR more about electronics than most any EE class available. Formal education and classes is good for theory and building some examples, it is a whole different world to fully understand what went into these designs and how the technical problems were solved, regardless of the technology available to answer these technical challenges.

It is very possible for another $100, will get more great test gear than you care to own. More importantly, learning how to used them and applying these to solve measurement problems is a very, very good thing. This is not about fancy-dancy, latest-greatest, this is much about gaining a deep understanding of how this EE stuff works and how to get stuff done. As a rule, fancier & more features is not always better, it is actual functionality and how effective the item does what is expected that matters. Don't get caught up in the wiz-bang-auto-do-this or that, get directly to the core of what must be done. It is not about process, it is much about results.

One of the classic learning projects is building a bench-lab power supply. Doing this will result in a useful item of test gear and much can be learned in the process.


Bernice

 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2015, 08:56:42 am »
It is going to depend on your objectives, in other words what type of circuit you will be building/testing, and what you want to learn.

If space/size/transportability is an issue and you want to buy new, then the Digilent's Analog Dialog is hard to beat at the price. It contains a 2 channel 10MHz digitiser, scope, software to do spectrum and network analysis, an analogue arbitrary waveform generator, and a 100Mb/s digital pattern generator and logic analyser. That is sufficient for many types circuit, including audio, robotics, and debugging typical Arduino/RPi circuits. It is not fast enough to look at short digital signals nor  the analogue "signal integrity" of digital inputs and outputs - for that you need at least100MHz, reasonable probes, and an understanding of how poor probing will completely mislead you. At the right time, you will benefit from understanding how to use a scope+probes; see https://entertaininghacks.wordpress.com/library-2/scope-probe-reference-material/ for some pointers.

If you want a 100MHz scope then consider a working secondhand scope. Once you have more experience, you may find it fun and beneficial to repair scopes. Large bulky analogue 20MHz scopes should be virtually free.

Soldering iron. If you are only going to be soldering 0.1" through hole components, then get a cheap 25W iron. I am told there are many counterfeit Hakko irons around. If you are using SMD components, then you will need a fine-tip temperature control iron and some other equipment (see https://entertaininghacks.wordpress.com/category/homebrew-pcbs/ for what I've found necessary and sufficient). If you want to remove SMD devices, a hot air gun is very helpful. One valid choice is to get a cheap iron and then, when it fails, get another. By then you will have gained experience in what you need.

Always ask around to see what you can use in your institution's labs out of hours - you can probably access expensive equipment and gain experience that way.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
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Offline Ampere

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2015, 08:49:46 pm »
Splashing out loads of cash on modern test gear won't make you a better engineer. But learning how to do the stuff I suggested above definitely will :)

You make some very good points.

I'll probably just go with using my PC sound card as a scope. It also gives me more soldering practice because I'll need to assemble the interface.

I'm not so sure about the iron, though. The one I have doesn't even have an adjustment knob. It makes it difficult to work with the lead-free solder I plan to use.
 

Offline Ampere

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2015, 08:50:08 pm »
One of the classic learning projects is building a bench-lab power supply. Doing this will result in a useful item of test gear and much can be learned in the process.

That's a good idea. I might put my current project on hold for a while.

And I'll look into the iron you mentioned.
 

Offline Ampere

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2015, 08:56:14 pm »
Soldering iron. If you are only going to be soldering 0.1" through hole components, then get a cheap 25W iron. I am told there are many counterfeit Hakko irons around. If you are using SMD components, then you will need a fine-tip temperature control iron and some other equipment (see https://entertaininghacks.wordpress.com/category/homebrew-pcbs/ for what I've found necessary and sufficient). If you want to remove SMD devices, a hot air gun is very helpful. One valid choice is to get a cheap iron and then, when it fails, get another. By then you will have gained experience in what you need.

I plan to use SMD components for my project. My current iron probably is close to failing, actually. Will the Hakko, Weller, and Hexacon mentioned earlier in this thread do the job well enough? I've only ever done SMD using my school's soldering iron, but I'm not sure that it's any more advanced than those three.

Quote
Always ask around to see what you can use in your institution's labs out of hours - you can probably access expensive equipment and gain experience that way.

I'm sure that wouldn't be a problem, but classes are out for summer which is why I've started working on this project. If classes aren't in, the lab manager probably won't be there and I won't be able to get access to the labs.
 

Offline JackP

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2015, 09:15:52 pm »
The Weller and Hakko will definitely do the job. I'd bet the Hexacon would too. The things is, I can do smd with a 936 clone. Not because I'm particularly skilled, you just learn to live with your equipments shortcomings. Yeah, professionals could adapt to crappy equipment, but the whole point of being a professional is making a living, and you need your tools to speed you up for that. What I'm saying is, get what you can, but don't be too bothered that you don't have the greatest JBC or Metcal. As others have mentioned, great tools lend a great advantage, but a great engineer is needed to harness that great potential. Hope this helps.
 

Offline G0HZU

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2015, 09:57:39 pm »
Quote
I'm not so sure about the iron, though. The one I have doesn't even have an adjustment knob. It makes it difficult to work with the lead-free solder I plan to use.

Yes, if you are doing fine SMD work with lead free solder then it's going to be a lot easier with a better iron :)
 

Offline JackP

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2015, 10:03:13 pm »
I think he's planning to use lead-free solder, thus the upgrade. Yes, adjustable temp. for low thermal capacity irons is very much needed, especially for lead-free joints (although more so for THT)
 

Offline Ampere

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2015, 12:21:24 am »
As others have mentioned, great tools lend a great advantage, but a great engineer is needed to harness that great potential. Hope this helps.

Yes. I've started to rethink my purchases a bit. I realize now that I don't really need an amazing multimeter or oscilloscope or soldering station. Not until I have a better idea of what I need, anyway.

I'll get a good set of hand tools, a decent soldering station, a second-hand oscilloscope (or an interface to hook into my sound card), and a LOT of parts to start experimenting with. Everything else can wait until I really need it.

Thanks to everyone who posted in this thread. You've all been really helpful.
 

Offline nickn4

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2015, 04:09:31 am »
I wish you the best of luck, and don't forget to have fun!

nick
~ A Mechatronic student and hobbyist
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2015, 08:11:42 am »
As others have mentioned, great tools lend a great advantage, but a great engineer is needed to harness that great potential. Hope this helps.

Yes. I've started to rethink my purchases a bit. I realize now that I don't really need an amazing multimeter or oscilloscope or soldering station. Not until I have a better idea of what I need, anyway.

I'll get a good set of hand tools, a decent soldering station, a second-hand oscilloscope (or an interface to hook into my sound card), and a LOT of parts to start experimenting with. Everything else can wait until I really need it.

Thanks to everyone who posted in this thread. You've all been really helpful.

Good attitude.

Given than one of the better definitions of an engineer is "someone who can do for £5 what any fool can do for £10", you are going in the right direction.

When writing your CV and talking about it with an interviewer, it is always impressive if you can say:
  • I did it because I linke doing it, not merely because I had to do it to get the grades
  • I set a stretch achievable goal to find things out (the "achievable" part is important; any fool can make unachievable plans)
  • I made plans, and saw them throught to completion
  • with 20:20 hindsight I made mistakes; next time I wll do this instead of that
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline nickn4

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2015, 08:54:56 am »
but what does that mean? i dont understand.
 
Quote
"with 20:20 hindsight I made mistakes; next time I wll do this instead of that
"
~ A Mechatronic student and hobbyist
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2015, 09:00:32 am »
I plan to use SMD components for my project. My current iron probably is close to failing, actually. Will the Hakko, Weller, and Hexacon mentioned earlier in this thread do the job well enough?

Yes, certainly. Even the Hakko rip-off's will work:
http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__24790__Soldering_Station_with_Adjustable_Heat_Range_with_US_Plug.html
Just get the genuine Hakko tips.
That will be plenty good enough to get you started if you can't afford a genuine one.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Equipment for EE student/beginner hobbyist?
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2015, 09:03:40 am »
but what does that mean? i dont understand.
 
Quote
"with 20:20 hindsight I made mistakes; next time I wll do this instead of that
"
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=20:20+hindsight
I learned from my mistakes
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 


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