One of my favorite activities is building things, especially if electronics are involved. For us a a lab, the ability to build small devices (or at least prototypes) helps us save money and greatly enables our science. How to get started? First, you need a properly equipped workstation, which can be a challenge when you get started. In this post, I will show you what I have for a total of less than $1000. I will follow up with more posts about basic skills and approaches to get you started.
DISCLAIMERS: (1) If you do not know what you are doing, things are potentially dangerous. Applies to everything in life, including tinkering with electronics! (2) I wanted to make your life easy and show you what I use. I have no commercial interest or affiliations with any of these companies. However, Amazon pays me a small fee if you buy any of the products through any of these links.
Let's break the equipment down into few main categories:
Equipment for Testing and Measuring
Equipment for Building
Now that we have spent the majority of our budget on the test equipment, we will use the remainder (ca $250) on tools to build circuits.
Magnifier with LED Light: Electronic components get smaller every year (and/or my eyesight worse). I highly recommend a magnifier with an LED light. Avoid the cheaper ones with a bulb that contains mercury!
Smoke Absorber: Finally, when you solder (please use lead-free solder!) without a smoke absorber you are inhaling fumes that may or may not give you Alzheimer's disease but my approach to environmental toxins is always to play it safe. Thus: