Maker Pro
Maker Pro

Test Equipment Importance

SherlockOhms

Apr 22, 2012
9
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
9
As I aspire to create a decent Electronics lab (or workstation), I wonder how important test equipment is. I have a multimeter and a non-contact voltage tester which are two things I see as a necessity. How Important are things like oscilloscopes? signal generators? I would likely end up doing mostly SMT and basic electrical projects. What are things like oscilloscopes and signal generators mainly used for? And once again are they important for a basic electronics lab? Thanks everybody.
 

jackorocko

Apr 4, 2010
1,284
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
1,284
As I aspire to create a decent Electronics lab (or workstation), I wonder how important test equipment is. I have a multimeter and a non-contact voltage tester which are two things I see as a necessity. How Important are things like oscilloscopes? signal generators? I would likely end up doing mostly SMT and basic electrical projects. What are things like oscilloscopes and signal generators mainly used for? And once again are they important for a basic electronics lab? Thanks everybody.

You are really asking an open ended question.

But is an oscilloscope and signal generator necessary? It is if you want to view wave forms and generate wave forms to test circuits. In fact it is almost essential. Really depends on your level of experience and your plans for the future. The most likely answer to you is, if you don't know what they are used for then you probably don't need to buy them yet.
 

SherlockOhms

Apr 22, 2012
9
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
9
You are really asking an open ended question.

But is an oscilloscope and signal generator necessary? It is if you want to view wave forms and generate wave forms to test circuits. In fact it is almost essential. Really depends on your level of experience and your plans for the future. The most likely answer to you is, if you don't know what they are used for then you probably don't need to buy them yet.

Ya I mean I know what they are and how they work and I think I know what I'm doing (lol), however (compared to the people on this site) I seem decently inexperienced. I agree that it is an open ended question definitely. Do you see teenagers (like me) using this? or is it more professional? Very helpful by the way, Thanks.
 

GonzoEngineer

Dec 2, 2011
321
Joined
Dec 2, 2011
Messages
321
You need an oscilloscope......after that, you will know what else you need!:D

I made my first oscilloscope back in 1964, out of an old black and white TV.
 

shrtrnd

Jan 15, 2010
3,876
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
3,876
I just bought the gear as I found I needed it over time. You may start with equipment you
think you'll need, but you WILL learn over time what you know you'll need.
Along with the o'scope GonzoEngineer recommended. I'd recommend a GOOD Quality
Digital Multimeter. Fluke has been turning out a lot of excellent hand-helds for around $100. You can buy a bench model for more money, but I found I was using my multi-meter
as often off the bench as on it, and it's nice to have the portability with a DMM.
 

alfa88

Dec 1, 2010
349
Joined
Dec 1, 2010
Messages
349
Instructables has a TV O-scope tutorial. I wouldn't expect too much from it but it's something and cheap. Search on Fully Functional Television Oscilloscope
 

SherlockOhms

Apr 22, 2012
9
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
9
I just bought the gear as I found I needed it over time. You may start with equipment you
think you'll need, but you WILL learn over time what you know you'll need.
Along with the o'scope GonzoEngineer recommended. I'd recommend a GOOD Quality
Digital Multimeter. Fluke has been turning out a lot of excellent hand-helds for around $100. You can buy a bench model for more money, but I found I was using my multi-meter
as often off the bench as on it, and it's nice to have the portability with a DMM.

The Multi-meter I have was bought at a flea market at MIT, got a pretty good deal on it...It's an AEMC meter, do you know if they are any good? Because I really have not heard much about them. (this response was intended for you, i replied to the wrong person lol)
 
Last edited:

alfa88

Dec 1, 2010
349
Joined
Dec 1, 2010
Messages
349
Probably better than my Harbor Freight Cheepo-meter
 

davenn

Moderator
Sep 5, 2009
14,277
Joined
Sep 5, 2009
Messages
14,277
what you need is also based on what sort of gear/projects you are likely to work on
lets say you are mainly going to work on digital and audio

then look at ...

1) decent multimeter;
2) 25 or 50MHz bandwidth oscilloscope; (100MHz or greater if the digital get is going to be reasonably hi speed
3) Signal generator/function generator up to ~ 1 or 2 MHz would be great (up to 100kHz or so, good)
4) a Logic probe can be quite handy for quick inspections of digital circuits
5) a decent variable temperature (temp controlled ) soldering iron with fine and larger tips
6) a variable Volts and Amps PSU with current limiting voltage range --well -- ~ 1V to 30V and up to 5A would be good for most projects

no, the equip doesnt make you skilled, but being skilled in using test gear makes fault finding so much easier instead of floundering around in the dark

cheers
Dave
 

GreenGiant

Feb 9, 2012
842
Joined
Feb 9, 2012
Messages
842
what you need is also based on what sort of gear/projects you are likely to work on
lets say you are mainly going to work on digital and audio

then look at ...

1) decent multimeter;
2) 25 or 50MHz bandwidth oscilloscope; (100MHz or greater if the digital get is going to be reasonably hi speed
3) Signal generator/function generator up to ~ 1 or 2 MHz would be great (up to 100kHz or so, good)
4) a Logic probe can be quite handy for quick inspections of digital circuits
5) a decent variable temperature (temp controlled ) soldering iron with fine and larger tips
6) a variable Volts and Amps PSU with current limiting voltage range --well -- ~ 1V to 30V and up to 5A would be good for most projects

no, the equip doesnt make you skilled, but being skilled in using test gear makes fault finding so much easier instead of floundering around in the dark

cheers
Dave


Good list, any recommends on specific models?

I want to build my work station as well

Alex
 

alfa88

Dec 1, 2010
349
Joined
Dec 1, 2010
Messages
349
Right now I'm in the process of rebuilding my power supply. It wont be quite as lofty as Dave's suggestion but it will be close. I'm sure there'll be some back and forth on this forum as I get the design ironed out. Parts are on order so stay tuned.
I use a Weller WTCPT soldering iron. It uses different tips to regulate the temperature and the tips can range from very fine to large.
 

davenn

Moderator
Sep 5, 2009
14,277
Joined
Sep 5, 2009
Messages
14,277
Good list, any recommends on specific models?
I want to build my work station as well

Alex

hey Alex..

probably a bit difficult depending on what is available in you country
some one in an earlier thread mentioned Fluke multimeters, yes they often cost a littke more but its worth it. My fluke is now ~25 yrs old. I have had other cheaper meters in various work places over the yrs that varied anything fropm 1 to 5 yrs before failure.
I have 2 variable PSU's in my home workshop... they may be available over seas, maybe under different names?
a Manson NP-9613 it has a single variable output 0 - 30V varib Volta and Amps (3amp max). An LCD meter each for V and A. It also has 2 fixed outputs a 12V and a 5V both at 500mA max.
The other newer one is a Powertech MP3087 its got 2 separate variable V and A outputs rated at 5 Amps. you can use them as separate supplies or bridge them and use them as + and - rails that will track with voltage adjustments. Each separate supply has its own big green LCD that shows V, A and current limit warning.

either supply is available for under AU/US$350 from a walk in store, probably even cheaper on eBay.

There's a huge range of variable temp soldering irons, as alfa88 said Weller have always been respectable. Hakko make a range of units. I have one Hakko at one and another one that is a generic one with a local resellers brand name on it

O'scopes .... dang the sky's the limit but for the hobbiest your first scope or 2 is likely to be 2nd hand. A large portion of my testgear is 2nd hand. My scope is an old (from the '70's) Tektronix 465B, its a twin channel, 100MHz - will see out to just on 200Mhz.
its getting a "bit long in the tooth" but still works well with the occassional minor repair. Mainly blown electrolytic caps.
if you have ~$800 to spend then you can buy a new digital scope with LCD screen --- out of range for most beginners ;)

look around ham radio club sales days etc all sorts of good test goodies to pick up at affordable prices :)

cheers
Dave
 

Rleo6965

Jan 22, 2012
585
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
585
You may want to add following item on your list.

1. Soldapult desoldering tool
2. Desk lamp w/ Magnifying Glass to see those small cracks on pcb or components that causes intermittent problem.
 

davenn

Moderator
Sep 5, 2009
14,277
Joined
Sep 5, 2009
Messages
14,277
You may want to add following item on your list.

2. Desk lamp w/ Magnifying Glass to see those small cracks on pcb or components that causes intermittent problem.

yes definately on that one for all us oldies with failing eyesight hahaha
I couldnt work without my illuminated desk lamp

Dave
 
Top