Hobbyist electronics lab
tag(s): electronics
created: 09 Feb 2020

My hobbyist electronics setup has grown significantly this year thanks to my growing interest in the field (partially attributable to Ben Eater and other video makers). Here's a post detailing the specifics.

Organizing Components

You can find tons of plastic cabinet assortments filled with components on eBay, DigiKey, and Mouser. Alternatively you can buy dirt cheap components and put them in a plastic cabinet yourself — sorting the resistors and other common components by their E-series values.

Soldering

For a soldering iron I chose the TS80 (successor to the TS100) and loaded it with custom firmware.[1] The TS80/TS100 irons are portable and pack a punch for their size.

Of course with soldering you'll need the various smaller accessories. I've heard many swear by DeoxIT for contact cleaning, but I could only find a WD-40 branded alternative at the time. 99.9% IPA is very handy to have.

Oscilloscopes

The first oscilloscope I received was a Hitachi V-252 (only 20 MHz) for $5. The seller, who inherited it, settled on $5 because it wouldn't turn on. Upon inspection I figured that the previous owner was troubleshooting because all of the internal connectors were unplugged. Sadly after reconnecting all of the connectors it still wouldn't sweep properly and I couldn't find any manuals or schematics for it online.

I decided to cough up the cash to get a modern digital oscilloscope after my previous purchase. Two sub-$400 scopes stuck out to me: the Siglent SDS-1202X-E and the Rigol DS1054Z; I chose the Siglent.

Power Supply

I decided on a cheap model for a variable power supply that is rebranded all over eBay.

Misc.

Label makers are great to have for organization. My Dymo LetraTag was only $20. The refills are a bit pricey, but nothing outrageous. You'll need solid-core hook up wire (preferably in spools — not precut) and a quality pair of wire strippers for tidy breadboard prototyping.

Future Purchases

  • Various other useful types of components to have around (power diodes, varistors, the list goes on)
  • A cheap hot air rework station
  • A bench multimeter (old is fine, new models are expensive); Fluke 8840A's resell for cheap on eBay
  • More handy ICs for toying around with digital circuits

Footnotes

  1. Custom firmware for TS80 and TS100 soldering irons.