Soldering iron

Basic electronics tools and equipment

You know that we need some electronics tools and equipment to work with electronics. In this post I will tell you about the tools and equipment that are mostly used in the electronics and that I personally use. Here is the list of tools and equipment that are very essential. Here I will be talking about the basic electronics tools and equipment. Additional component will be mentioned as we do projects. But these tools will be mandatory for all projects.

Soldering station

The first electronics tool that you should own to work with electronics is a decent soldering iron. Soldering iron and multimeter is the most basic electronics tools or equipment that you will need in electronics. If you have to stick with electronics for long time then I will suggest you to buy a soldering station with different soldering tips that you can change.

Before buying a soldering station consider its wattage and type (digital or analog).

  • wattage

Wattage gives us an idea about the power of a soldering iron. Higher the wattage means easier and quicker soldering tasks.

  • Type

Difference between digital and analog soldering station is that analog soldering station provides you a adjustable knob to adjust the temperature which is not accurate enough but it will do the simple soldering tasks very easily. On the other hand digital soldering iron gives you the facility to adjust the temperature digitally using buttons or something else. It also provides you a display to show the temperature.

Weller WLC100 soldering station

Weller WLC100

This is the most budget friendly soldering station that I will recommend buying. This soldering station features a 40 watts soldering iron and its controller is of analog type. That will do your all jobs easily. It has pencil tip which can heat up to 900°F. This soldering station features a temperature adjust knob. By turning it we can tune the output power of iron from 5 watts to 40 watts. It comes with cleaning sponge tray and an iron holder.

You can choose its upgraded version also which is Weller WLC200 (costs around ).

Important features of weller WLC100 soldering station

  • Power output – 40 watts
  • Heats up to 900°F
  • Includes a cleaning sponge tray and iron holder
  • Pencil soldering tip
  • ESD safe – No

Aoyue 469

Aoyue 469

This is also a simple but effective soldering station for beginner and even professional who cannot afford expensive soldering stations. This is a 60 watt soldering station and it is completely ESD (electrostatic discharge) safe. In this station you will get a temperature knob using which you can make it to output up to 60 watt. You can get a temperature range of 200°C to 480°C with this soldering station. This station comes with 50 different tip sizes that you can change.

It features two colors LED light to check temperature, a cleaning sponge tray and a solder spool holder. Another advantage of this station is that is offer light weight and portability to outdoor soldering.

Important features of Aoyue 469 soldering station.

  • Power output – 60 watts
  • Temperature range – 392°F to 897°F
  • Includes a cleaning sponge tray, soldering spool holder and iron holder
  • 50 different tip sizes available
  • ESD safe – Yes
  • Dual color LED to show temperature status

X-Tronic Model #3020

X-Tronic Model #3020

It is a low cost but-quality digital ESD safe soldering station. It is a 75 watt soldering station with temperature range of 200°C to 480°C.

Some Important features of X-Tronic Model #3020.

  • 75 watt power which is perfect to do any soldering tasks.
  • It features ergonomic grip to ensure better holding experience
  • Included a brass sponge to clean tip, soldering spool holder and an iron holder.
  • Temperature stability is very good; it is about ±2°C/3.6°F.
  • It goes into sleep mode after 10 minute of inactivity. This is very important safety feature in case you forgot to switch off the station. It also increases its efficiency.
  • It features a blue led display to show the temperature. You have an option to change the display reading between °C/°F.

Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital Soldering Station

Hakko FX888D-23BY

It is considered that Hakko provides most premium soldering station on Amazon. The main reason for this station is being liked by everyone is that it provides the necessary parts only instead of providing any obsolete parts. It comes with blue and yellow color combination. This is an ESD safe soldering station.  Power consumption of this station is 70 watt with temperature range of 120°F to 900°F. It features a digital LED display to show and set the temperature. It has an up and an enter button to set the temperature. We can adjust the three digit temperature value one by one using these key.

Set temperature on Hakko FX888D-23BY

Important features of Hakko FX888D-23BY soldering station.

  • Power output – 70 watts
  • Temperature range -120°F to 900°F
  • Includes a cleaning sponge tray, soldering brass sponge tip cleaner and iron holder
  • Different tip sizes available
  • ESD safe – Yes
  • Digital LED display to show temperature status
  • T18-D16 soldering tip

Multimeter

Transistor testing using multimeter

As said before that soldering iron and multimeter is the most basic electronics tools or equipment that you will need in electronics. It is used to measure the current and voltage of DC or AC supply. Often we have need to measure resistance or capacitance. So we need a good multimeter which can accurately measure current and voltage of DC or AC power supply, resistance, capacitance, frequency etc. Multimeter is not only useful in measuring these parameters but its application is wide. Without multimeter you can’t repair or create any circuit board.

What we should keep in mind before buying DMM (digital multimeter)

Here are the things you everyone should keep in the mind before buying a multimeter. After knowing these things you will be able to buy multimeters on your own.

There are two types of multimeter also. One is analog and other is digital multimeter. Analog multimeter is not that used nowadays because of its low accuracy level.

DMM Specifications

Specification of a DMM tells us the capabilities of a digital multimeter. Specification includes the DC or AC current or voltage measurement, resistance measurement etc.

  • Multimeter’s voltage rating should higher than we need to measure it in general. For example we generally need to measure to 120v -250v AC, so multimeter voltage rating should be greater than it.
  • It should provide True RMS.
  • It should also measure capacitance and diode.
  • Continuity function is also important for the testing wire.
  • DMM should measure the frequency of the AC voltages.
  • It’s accuracy should be at least ±0.5%.
  • DMM resolution should be high. Resolution of a multimeter shows that how small signal (signal strength) it can measure.
  • It should measure frequency of AC signals.
  • Temperature measurement is also a point to keep in consideration.

These are some basics property that a multimeter should have. There are some multimeter listed below who have all the specification listed above. You can take buy it if you feel so.

AstroAI Digital Multimeter

AstroAI Digital Multimeter

 It is a Versatile digital multimeter which accurately measures AC/DC Current, AC/DC Voltage, capacitance, frequency, duty cycle, resistance, diode, continuity and temperature.

Supports data hold, large LCD backlit screen, Auto Shut-off features make its design very thoughtful. Features include Auto-Ranging capability, and true RMS for measuring both AC current and voltage makes it very professional.

Double ceramic fuse is anti-burn and protects from overloading, and it will be more secure and reliable.

Important features of AstroAI digital multimeter

  • 6000 counts true RMS digital multimeter
  • Auto ranging feature
  • AC/DC Voltage and current
  • Resistance and capacitance measurement
  • Diode testing
  • Continuity function
  • hFE testing
  • Overload protection
  • Data Hold feature
  • Backlight display and low battery indicator

Extech EX430 True RMS multimeter

Extech EX430 True RMS multimeter

Accurately measures AC/DC Current, AC/DC Voltage, capacitance, frequency, resistance, diode, continuity and temperature.

Supports data hold, large LCD backlit screen, Auto Shut-off features make its design very thoughtful. Features include true RMS for measuring both AC current and voltage makes it professional multimeter.

Important features of Extech EX430 true RMS digital multimeter

  • CAT III leads
  • AC/DC Voltage and current
  • Resistance and capacitance measurement
  • Diode testing
  • Continuity function
  • Data Hold feature
  • Backlight display

Fluke 87V max true RMS digital multimeter

Fluke 87V max true RMS digital multimeter

It is a very tough multimeter to work in any extreme environment. Let’s say you have to do the measuring outdoor or your job is such that you have to work in extreme environment such as dust, water or any other bad weather. Then this multimeter is best for you, but that doesn’t mean that if you work indoor then you don’t need it. This is most rugged multimeter by Fluke that can withstand a 4 meter drop and keep on working. This multimeter is completely dust and waterproof, highly accurate and safe. Features test leads holder and stand on its back.

Some important specifications of Fluke 87V max multimeter –

  • IP67 protection rating
  • Two level backlight
  • Features analog bar graph
  • Relative reference feature
  • Max AC/DC voltage – 1000V
  • Temperature measuring range –  -200°C to 1090°C
  • Input alert
  • Max frequency – 200KHz
  • Max AC/DC current – 10 A
  •  Measures microamps

Oscilloscope

An oscilloscope

Oscilloscope is the third equipment in our electronics tools and equipment list. It visually (graphically) shows us the voltage or current trends in a circuit at any point. It plots any signal in real time and shows that how signal is changing over time. So very important tool to analyze the frequency response of any circuit and debug it. It is widely used for designing, manufacturing and repairing of electronics circuits.

What we should keep in mind before buying oscilloscope

There are some factor that we should keep in mind before buying an oscilloscope. Because this an expensive electronics equipment than any other basic tools in our list. So if you choose wrong one then you will regret most.

Oscilloscope type

There are two types of oscilloscope. Digital storage oscilloscope (DSO) and analog (cathode ray tube oscilloscope (CRT oscilloscope)). If you are going to buy your first oscilloscope then I will recommend to buy a digital storage oscilloscope (DSO) because it is easy to use and has more features compared to an analog oscilloscope.

Bandwidth

Bandwidth of an oscilloscope is the maximum frequency that an oscilloscope can measure up to. I will recommend the oscilloscope which has the bandwidth of 100MHz.

Sample Rate

Sample rate is defined by the number of samples taken of any signal in 1 second. If oscilloscope will have high sample rate then it will take more samples of a signal. More samples of a signal means the reconstructed (plotted) signal will look more more like the original signal. Today’s modern oscilloscope takes samples in gigahertz per second. Recommended samples rate is 1GSa/s.

Memory depth

It is also a very important aspect of digital storage oscilloscope to be considered. When oscilloscope samples any signal it stores the samples in the buffer memory. Let an oscilloscope having sample rate of 1GSa/s and it has the buffer memory to store only 1GSa then it can store the signal of maximum 1 second. So that means if we have more memory then we can store signal of longer time. This is useful to store the signal and zoom in and out through it.

Resolution and accuracy

Resolution of an oscilloscope is the minimum voltage change that it can detect. For example an 8-bit oscilloscope can detect 28 = 256 different voltage levels. If voltage range is ±1 volt then the step size (resolution) will be 2/256 = 0.0078125 that is around 8mV. So an oscilloscope with 8 bit resolution and maximum voltage range of ±1 will detect the voltage change of 8mV. In this case there will be error of 8mV. This is why a better resolution is needed to correctly plot the graph of signal. Recommended resolution of oscilloscope is 16 bit.

Some DSO are listed below that satisfies all the specification mentioned above. You can consider buying it.

Hantek DSO5102P

Hantek DSO5102P

This oscilloscope is for hobbyist and learners. It comes with 2 channel plus one external trigger, 100MHz bandwidth, 1GSa/s sampling rate. It is good choice for college student who is learning electronics. Let’s see the advance specifications.

Specifications of the Hantek DSO5102P

  • Bandwidth: 100MHz
  • Number of channel: 2
  • Memory depth: 40K
  • Sampling rate: 1GSa/s
  • 8 bit ADC*
  • Bandwidth Limit: 20MHz
  • Trigger Types: Edge, Video, Pulse, Slope, Over time, Alternative
  • Input impedance: 1MΩ
  • Trigger Source: CH1, CH2, EXT, EXT/5, AC Line
  • Trigger Modes: Auto triggering, Normal triggering, Single shot
  • Coupling Type: DC coupling, AC coupling, Noise Reject, HF Reject (high pass filter), LF Reject (low pass filter)
  • Math: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, FFT (fast Fourier transform )

Siglent SDS1202X-E

Siglent SDS1202X-E oscilloscope

Siglent SDS1202X-E uses the SPO (super phosphor oscilloscope) technology to achieve good accuracy and excellent speed. This oscilloscope is affordable to use and has good layout. It provides the bandwidth of 200MHz at low price which is awesome. Let’s see the specification of the Siglent SDS1202X-E.

  • 200MHz bandwidth
  • Sampling rate – 1GSa/s
  • Memory depth – 14Mb for 1 channel and 7Mb/channel (2 channel)
  • Number of channel – 2 + 1(external sync)
  • Vertical sensitivity – 500µV/Div.
  • Fast Fourier transform (FFT) handling 1 million points
  • 7 inch TFT LCD display
  • Weight- 2.5kg
  • Marth operation – Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, FFT, integration, differentiation, square root extraction
  • Edge, Slope, Pulse, Window, Runt, Interval, Time out, Pattern, Video synchronization
  • Interfaces- USB host, LAN, Trigger out, External trigger pass/fail

Siglent SDS1104X-E

Siglent SDS1104X-E is a little bit advanced version and costlier too of its previous variant that we saw. It has 4 channels but bandwidth is only 100MHz. You can control it using from a simple web page using USB WIFI adapter. It has some more added feature listed below.

Specification of Siglent SDS1104X-E

  • 100MHz bandwidth
  • 4 channels
  • 1GSa/s sampling rate
  • 2 A-to-D converters
  • 100,000 capture rate in normal mode and 400,000 capture rate in sequence mode
  • Memory depth: 14Mpts
  • Search/ navigate function
  • Web control
  • Optional WIFI dongle

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