Picking multimeter, soldering iron and solder.

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by RyanD, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. RyanD

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 14, 2010
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    I'm in the market for a multimeter, soldering iron and some solder to get me started [again] on electronics. I've found these on Amazon(I like amazon for the reviews and free shipping if it comes from then). How do these look, what type of soldering tip and solder should I look for if I'm doing general digital electronics?

    Iron:http://www.amazon.com/Weller-WES51-...f=sr_1_22?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1263600225&sr=1-22

    Solder: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002KRAB0/ref=pd_luc_sim_01_01

    Meter:http://www.amazon.com/TekPower-TP40...ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1263599871&sr=1-4
     
  2. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    If you have the dough, go, go, go.

    Very good solder station. (I paid $7 for my 45w iron, stand, and sponge)
    The Weller is better. And a brand name at that.
    Solder, for digital electronics, you want a rosin core. I use 2 types. a 99.3% Tin and .7% copper mix. And a 96% Tin 4% Silver. both rosin core. The solder you highlighted is a leaded solder. Lead is toxic stuff. However, leaded solder melts at a low temperature and is easy to work with, but with the weller station, you have plenty of power to use lead-free solders. I would stay away from lead. ALSO, see if you can pick-up a fume scrubber. This will pull the bad fumes away from you and filter the air. I have seen them under $50 on amazon.

    And for meters, you can get meters from $5 that do quite a bit. However the one you chose is a auto-ranging type. These are typically slower in showing measurements because they have to check the signal first to that choose which range to select then display the results. For digital work, you may want something faster.... If you are still so new to electronics that you would have no idea what the markings on a meter meant, start with the auto-ranging. The RS-232 option could also be promising.
     
  3. k7elp60

    Senior Member

    Nov 4, 2008
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    69
    I think they look good. I have a WES51 soldering station and various different tips, my range from a conical needle point to a chisel point approximately 4MM wide. I use it on SMD, to point to point joints.
     
  4. RyanD

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 14, 2010
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  5. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    It isnt sensitive enough for logic stuff. It has a minimum of 200ma. You want something that can read much lower. at least 1ma

    This one has all the options as the previous and more. It has a diode check mode and a transistor tester / identifier. It will tell you if you diodes are good your transistors are good and tell you if they are NPN or PNP.

    It also has a very fast read time and 2% accurate (most resistors are only 5%)

    For under $7.

    http://www.amazon.com/Palm-Size-Handheld-Digital-Multimeter-DT830B/dp/B00066ZZO4/ref=pd_sbs_auto_4

    I have one in my glove box and one in my lab.

    heres a review that i agree with:
    - A light, portable multimeter. Fits in your pocket, or your toolbox. Very handy. Uses 9V battery. Even has decent-ish test leads.
    - Compared to an analog multimeter, this device is superior. 1 mega-ohm input impedance. Even tests transistors. In resistance mode, can be used for testing continuity (although it doesn't beep). Keep your brain engaged when using it, and it will last a good long time and give you the answers you need and not explode.
    - 2% accuracy (mind you, this is only considered valid for a year) gives you fairly close results.
    - For most basic digital/embedded work, this meter is more than adequate. Is the line high/1? Is the line low/0? Is the line in-between? For questions like that, this meter does the trick.

    In short, it does work and can be used to solve a lot of hobbyist/DIY problems when circuit troubleshooting. For me, at least (budding embedded hobbyist), it answers 90% of all my questions that I typically need when working on circuits, usually continuity. While I've wanted to get another (far nicer) multimeter, I find this does what I need so I keep putting off getting a better one until it dies.

    There's more to this than meets the eye. Don't rule it out just because it's cheap. You may find that it's all you actually need in a multimeter.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  6. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    Remember you want one for electronics not electric.

    Get the $7 meter. Learn with it. If you blow up a $50 meter, that sucks.
    If you blow up a $7 meter, thats lunch.

    It will do what you want. Once you learn what you need in a meter, you can make a more informed purchase.
     
  7. radiohead

    Active Member

    May 28, 2009
    474
    31
    Soldering Irons. For electronics, use a soldering IRON, not a soldering GUN. Soldering guns are typically used for heavy duty jobs like plumbing and may destroy ESD sensitive devices you are trying to solder. For general electronics work, you shouldn't need a soldering iron more than 40 watts. I have a plug-in 25 Watt Weller and it works just fine. I also have a weller soldering station that I use extensively as well on my bench at home. You might want to spring for a butane powered Weller. They're great for mobile applications where you may not have access to electricity. Soldering iron tips: for typical applications, a fine chisel point will do.

    The name of the game is heat transfer. Soldering is simply a low temperature weld. Keep your iron tip clean, it should be a shiny silver color without any of those burned spots of rosin. To clean your tip, use a metal Brillo pad because the surface contact area is minimal and your iron tip will maintain its temperature. A wet sponge will work, but will lower the temperature of your tip.

    Solder. 60/40 Tin/Lead alloy rosin core is just fine for general electronics work. Do not use acid core solder for electronics work. Acid core solder is typically used for plumbing and radiator repair. Silver solder requires a slightly higher temp to melt, but has better conductivity. Pick a thin gauge solder. A one pound spool should last you about a year, depending upon how much you solder. You might want to spring a couple bucks for some (paste) flux, too. Flux cleans the metal of oxides that naturally occur on metals at high temperatures. Try tinning a wire without flux and then try with flux and you will notice the difference. Flux will also reduce the likelihood of cold solder joints.

    Check out the link below for some soldering pointers from the people with the highest standards in the industry.
    http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/codeq/doctree/NS87393.pdf

    Multimeters. That has been covered extensively by Retched.
     
  8. RyanD

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 14, 2010
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  9. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    That is a 2-pound spool. But still on the high side. $14 a pound.

    You will save money buying from dedicated electronics places. I get alot of my stuff from elexp.com Go to their site and request a catalog. They also have an on-line version but it is difficult to start with.

    here is a link to the solder I use:
    http://www.elexp.com/sdr_0700.htm

    I use 060702. It is $11 a pound. last me about a year.

    Here is a 30watt iron I have 060512:
    http://www.elexp.com/sdr_0502.htm

    here is a kit for $19 Includes solder, soldering iron, solder stand and sponge, diagonal cutter, plus two solder project kits
    http://www.elexp.com/kit_star.htm

    I live in Maryland and they deliver to me in about 2 days.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
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