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Electronic Equiptment List - Better Kit ($100)
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Electronic Equiptment List - Better Kit ($100)

by ljeung on Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:50 pm

Hello Ladyada.net,

I haven't done electronics work in a while, so I'm seeking advice on putting together an electronics tool kit. I will be doing a lot of electronics work soon, so the Better Kit ($100) listed on your Electronic Equiptment List - Kits webpage at http://www.ladyada.net/library/equipt/kits.html seems to fit me. The webpage mentions that many of the tools listed on that page are available at RadioShack and other DIY/hobbyist shops, so I was wondering if you can tell me if the items in the second column are equivalent to ones that you recommend:

Recommended Tool: 40W adjustable tempurature controlled iron
Alternative Tool: Soldering Work Station with Dual-Powered Iron
Link: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index ... Id=2062750
Manufacturer: RadioShack

Recommended Tool: Third hand
Alternative Tool: RadioShack® Helping Hands with Magnifier
Link: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index ... Id=3928375
Manufacturer: RadioShack
Alternative Tool: VTHH Helping Hands / Velleman
Link: http://www.frys.com/product/5276537
Manufacturer: Velleman

Recommended Tool: 60/40 Lead Solder, rosin core .031” 1/2 lb
Alternative Tool: Rosin Core Solder (8.0 oz.)
Link: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index ... Id=2062715
Manufacturer: RadioShack
Alternative Tool: 60/40 Rosin Core Solder, 0.032" Diameter, 1/2 lb Spool
Link: http://www.frys.com/product/4811320
Manufacturer: Qualitek

Recommended Tool: Solder sucker / Desolder pump
Alternative Tool: Vacuum Desoldering Tool
Link: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index ... Id=2062745
Manufacturer: RadioShack
Alternative Tool: Hakko HJ2000 Solder Sucker Pump
Link: http://www.frys.com/product/250477
Manufacturer: Hakko

Recommended Tool: Shear cutters
Alternative Tool: RadioShack® 4.5" Mini-Diagonal Cutters
Link: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index ... Id=3932529
Manufacturer: RadioShack
Alternative Tool: Xcelite 1178M 5 5/8" Heavy Duty Shearcutters
Link: http://www.frys.com/product/4575117
Manufacturer: Coopertools

Recommended Tool: Basic Multimeter
Alternative Tool: 3310 Hands-Free™ DMM (10 MegOhm)
Link: http://equus.com/Product/Detail/17AFBC2 ... 51A2428223
Manufacturer: Equus
Alternative Tool: DIGITAL MULTIMETER by A&D MEDICAL
Link: http://www.frys.com/product/5427439
Manufacturer: A&D MEDICAL

Recommended Tool: Wire Cutters/Strippers 20-30AWG
Alternative Tool: RadioShack® Gauged Wire Stripper/Cutter
Link: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index ... Id=3932543
Manufacturer: RadioShack
Alternative Tool: Datashark 70057 P-Stripper, 30-20AWG Wire Stripper and Cutter
Link: http://www.frys.com/product/5734022
Manufacturer: Datashark

Thanks,
L
ljeung
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:41 pm

Re: Electronic Equiptment List - Better Kit ($100)

by adafruit_support_bill on Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:35 am

The RadioShack soldering iron you list can be switched between 20 & 40 watts. It has no temperature control like the Weller that Lady Ada lists.

A good temperature controlled iron will save you a lot of frustration. Weller's are also well built units that will last a long time. I don't know about the build quality of the RS unit. If you can't find a good temperature controlled iron locally, there are lot's of them on-line.

The other alternate tools you list are fine.

adafruit_support_bill
 
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Re: Electronic Equiptment List - Better Kit ($100)

by ljeung on Thu Jun 24, 2010 5:39 pm

Hello arduwino,

Thanks for your advice. 29 out of 40 reviewers at the RS soldering iron webpage said the quality of that iron is poor.

Since the Weller already has a coiled holder and sponge, the holder and sponge of the RS third hand is redundant. I guess these extra features along with the larger size of the RS unit are what make the RS unit so much more expensive than the VTHH one. I also just noticed that the VTHH one looks like the one that Lady Ada recommends. Are they one and the same?

Both alternative brands of solder have diameters of 0.032" vs. the diameter of 0.031" of the brands that Lady Ada recommends. So that is fine?

Is Hakko a good brand name?

The RS cutter is a mini-diagonal cutter. What is the difference between a mini-diagonal (or for that matter, a diagonal) cutter and a shear cutter?

The range of the RS wire cutters and strippers differs from that of the unit recommended by Lady Ada. So that is okay?

L
ljeung
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:41 pm

Re: Electronic Equiptment List - Better Kit ($100)

by adafruit_support_bill on Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:58 pm

I am sure that you would be happy with a Weller iron. I have heard good things about Hakko also.

The Velleman 3rd hand is also a good tool. I don't know what brand Lady Ada uses, but I have found that Velleman in general makes good products.

The difference between 0.031" and 0.032" is one one-thousandth of an inch. I doubt that the manufacturing tolerances are that close. Kester is an excellent brand. I don't think you can go wrong with that.

The difference between the diagonal and the shear cutters is in how the pivot is made. In use there is not a huge difference between them. I have used both the RS and Xcelite. Both work well.

On the wire strippers, 20-30 AWG is a more appropriate range for this kind of work.

adafruit_support_bill
 
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Re: Electronic Equiptment List - Better Kit ($100)

by ljeung on Thu Jun 24, 2010 8:21 pm

Thanks again for your advice, arduwino. I really appreciate it. I have a better idea of what to put in my kit.

L
ljeung
 
Posts: 41
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Re: Electronic Equiptment List - Better Kit ($100)

by adshea on Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:05 pm

Hakko's a great brand. As far as soldering irons go if you can afford it you want Metcal/OKI, Hakko, or Weller (no particular order).

adshea
 
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Re: Electronic Equiptment List - Better Kit ($100)

by ljeung on Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:39 pm

Thanks for the advice, AdShea.

L
ljeung
 
Posts: 41
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Re: Electronic Equiptment List - Better Kit ($100)

by flapjackboy on Sat Jun 26, 2010 8:11 pm

OK, not a big fan of multis with captive leads as you're stuck with what the meter comes with. Also, the meter you selected looks like it has no continuity check function, something even a $10 cheapie like that should have.

get this one instead. Yes, it's still got captive leads, but it's got a better range of functions for not a huge amount more.

Also, before you make a decision, go into your local store and ask if you can try out a selection of meters. See what the response time is, whether the continuity test function is latched or not and how fast it latches, how clear and readable the display is.

Read online reviews as well, especially the ones by Dave Jones on eevblog.

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Location: Norwich, UK

Re: Electronic Equiptment List - Better Kit ($100)

by ljeung on Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:52 pm

Thanks for your advice, flapjackboy. I found out that the Equus multimeter does have a continuity test. I couldn't find out much about the A&D Medical one - the A&D Medical website doesn't even include multimeters as products.

L
ljeung
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:41 pm

Re: Electronic Equiptment List - Better Kit ($100)

by flapjackboy on Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:45 pm

I personally wouldn't go for the Equus one either as their meters seem to be geared towards automotive diagnostics, rather than general electronics work. It's probably not going to be super accurate as it doesn't need to be for the uses it's going to be put to. It's also not auto-ranging and doesn't have a microamps range.

If you can stretch to the $30 price tag of the Equus, go for this one.

It's auto-ranging, has a continuity test, data hold and it can handle microamps. It also has seperate inputs for amps and microamps which is preferable.

But again, don't make a decision unless you can try out a few meters at a store and see which ones you prefer. Your multi and your soldering iron are going to be your 2 most used pieces of kit and skimping on the price of them too much is really a false economy.

flapjackboy
 
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Location: Norwich, UK

Re: Electronic Equiptment List - Better Kit ($100)

by ljeung on Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:49 pm

Thanks again for your advice.

L
ljeung
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:41 pm

Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.