Necessary tools for a new hobbyist?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by USNtron75, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. USNtron75

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 14, 2010
    I was wondering if you someone would be able to advise me on what tools would be considered necessary for someone just looking to learn the fundamentals. I just repaired my girlfriend's curling iron power cord, and feel like "thumping" my chest! Ha..ha..ha..


    Tron (*An inside joke of which only U.S. Navy veterans will get!) Ha..ha..ha..
  2. EarlAnderson


    Nov 13, 2011
    okay if your really into electronics and you wanna begin building complex circuits instead of fixing your girlfriends curling iron power cord, you need to first learn the basics. i am talking about the different types of electronic components, what they do, and how they work. Your also gonna need some testing equipment such as a multimeter. hope this will help you, and good luck
  3. praondevou

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jul 9, 2011
    The very essentail tool you need as a beginner in electronics is a multimeter.
    If you plan to do some more repair work, buy one that costs more than $4 - $10 on ebay. However for occasional use these cheap multimeters should do it.

    There are probably hundreds of different models/manufacturers outthere so it's hard to recommend one.

    It should measure voltage, current, resistance (probably all do that), it should have a diode tester, and if possible measure capacitance and frequency.
  4. K7GUH


    Jan 28, 2011
    There is an excellent list in the ARRL Handbook. It probably contains more items than you will actually need, but it's a good reference to start with. I'd post it here, but the material is copyrighted.
  5. samin


    Oct 14, 2011
    The first thing to do is to build of kit of essential tools. Purchase simple electronic hobby kit for starters, and choose a project that will work on its own without needing to be connected to another piece of equipment. Work with a mains powered project only when you have more experience.

    Choose a good quality kit and collect some basic tools like:

    * Soldering iron and solder
    * Wire cutters
    * Wire strippers
    * Screwdrivers
    * Test equipment : multimeter

    Good luck :)
  6. elec_mech

    Senior Member

    Nov 12, 2008
    Hi USNtron75,

    We could provide you with many, many recommendations, but it really depends on what you want to do.

    Are interested in learning about electrical, e.g., dominantly AC power and devices in your home and fixing them, or electronics, e.g., building circuits from scratch?

    What is it you want to learn or be able to do specificially? This will help us narrow our recommendations to a manageable level.
  7. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    The meter was an excellent suggestion. Electrical tape, full set of screw drivers, needle nose pliers, several sizes, side cutters, a good pocket knife for stripping wires.

    This is a start, as other people have suggested if you want to do more you will need more. Look at volume 6 of the AAC book on top of this page, it has several other suggestions for the various experiments that have been published in this volume.
  8. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    beer :)
    Sometimes shots of Tequilla or any other strong liquor help too when you are really frustrated
  9. Adjuster

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2010
    Something to hold small pieces steady is also useful, for instance a small clamp or vice for things like connectors requiring soldering. Similarly something for holding circuit boards, if you plan to do such work. Nothing is so frustrating as trying to solder a moving target: a good recipe for melted parts and burnt fingers.

    A magnifier may also be helpful, especially if your near vision is anything less than excellent - this should be self-supporting, as you will want at least three hands free to do your work. :p Personally, I like the kind which is built into a work light. You can also get them to be worn like eyeglasses, or made into a sort of visor: possibly nowadays with LED lights. For closer inspection, watchmakers' loupes can be handy. Stronger magnifiers (microscopes) may be needed if you ever get into surface-mount territory.

    Finally, if you plan to solder a lot, you might want to consider fume extraction, at least in the form of a fan to divert the fumes from going straight into your face. If like me you have asthma or other breathing problems, this will be more important.
  10. TheLaw


    Sep 2, 2010
    -Two Multimeters (A good one and a cheap one)
    -GOOD Soldering iron (Trust me: Get a good American one)
    -Helping hands/Panavise (To hold your project while working on it)
    -Power Supply (Preferably adjustable voltage and current. ~1-15V)
    -Oscilloscope (Later on...But an old analog scope for relatively cheap)
    -Assortment of tweezers, screwdrivers, wire cutters
    -Desoldering iron (Cheap Radioshack one works quite well)
    -Fan to move solder fumes
  11. RiJoRI

    Well-Known Member

    Aug 15, 2007
    While this is not necessary, it has helped me a lot: the soft wax casing from Gouda cheese. (There may be other cheeses, but I haven't tried 'em!) I stuck the wax in a 35mm film can, and when I need to work with Philip's head screws, I stick a little wax on the tip of the screwdriver. The wax holds the screw on the driver, so you don't spend all your time looking for the runaway screw.