Jump to content
Electronics-Lab.com Community

Rookie Student: A Question of Tools

Seth H

Recommended Posts

Hello everyone, and thanks for reading.  Google took me by the hand and suggested I take a seat here, make myself comfortable and expose my small brain to the wealth of experience that makes up this community.

So here I go with my first question! (Please note that I did attempt a forum search, but could find nothing conclusive.)

I've just signed up for a series of courses to expand my knowledge of electronics (which have always fascinated me), and with that package deal comes a small selection of basic electronic tools: a digital multimeter, a basic breadboard, a basic soldering iron with associated components, a few odds-and-ends to make simple things with (test leads, transistors, resistors and such)...

Anyway, I am fairly certain that these tools will be low quality (despite the marketing text) or limited in abilities.  Being a tool-lover and hobbiest auto mechanic, I know quality is a force multiplier.  My funds, however, are very limited (especially since my other hobby, computers, just ate a ton of money with new motherboards, PSUs and so on).

Having said all that, here is the meat of my rambling: I want an affordable, flexible and somewhat expansive set of tools, a starter package if you will.  I know that's probably a pipe dream to combine affordability with quality, but keep in mind this is a starter kit!  I've seen only one set, but I have no idea if it would be a good one or not: ( clicky ).  It's a 125 piece set.  I thought it might be a solid start for a hobbiest like myself who is looking to spend some serious time taking things apart and *cough* improving them, as well as building *more coughing* Impressive Inventions to Scare the Cat.

Opinions and advice on tools are very welcome.  The already-posted questions and answers here have given me a wealth of information on electronics theory and practice, so I'm good there for now.

Thank you again!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Alun

Velleman are a good make as far as kits go but I haven't used any of their tools before so if the quality of the quality of their kits is anything to go by you've made a fine choice.

One thing I would recommend though is a decent temperature controlled soldering iron because I've never had any luck with those cheap and nasty non-regulated irons as the tip seems to oxidize very quickly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, the tools arrived today -- they were well packaged and arrived undamaged.  I was impressed with the included case and the selection of tools.  I haven't used any of them yet, but I'll keep you all posted on how they hold up with all my abuse.  The only thing I had an issue with was the soldering iron holder -- the wingnut and screw that are provided to secure the metallic sheath (or whatever the holding heat cylinder is called) seemed poorly threaded; gentle pressure moves the wingnut.  Easy to fix, though.

My camera decided to die on me earlier, so the pictures will be delayed a few days.

Codyhtml, I think you're right -- playing around with computers, especially once people build their own and start wondering about how things work under the hood, seems to move them towards the black art of electronics... I know we aren't the only ones!

Any recommendations on a soldering iron?  The included one is a 20 watt unit, not temp regulated (or at least I don't think so, the packaging doesn't mention anything but the wattage).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest SM2GXN

Hi Set H and all the others!

Hope you'll find much pleasure with your new tools it seems to me like a good buy.
I agree that weller is a good choise but you do run into situations were you find advantage in variable temperature as Ed and Alun said. Some tips don't like continuous high temperatures. I seldom go more than 400deg C, if you leave your soldering station at maximum, say >450deg the tip will oxidize.
Don't forget ERSA, that's a good choice too and usually less expensive.
I got two Weller and two ERSA and the difference is that I have never switched any heath element in a period of more than 15 years on my ERSA but that I can't say about the Weller.
They are both excelent soldering stations so any of them is a good buy.
There are lots of cheap soldering stations, I would

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...