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Old 17th October 2006, 02:41 PM   #1
sts9fan is offline sts9fan  United States
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Default Test equipment suggestions

So I am new to this hobby and need some test equipment. Can you guys reccomend some "must haves" such as bench PS and types of multimeters that I should look at for ~$500

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Old 17th October 2006, 05:21 PM   #2
I_Forgot is offline I_Forgot  United States
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Shop the surplus market for whatever you get, except for a DMM. Buy that new, and don't go cheap. It will be your main tool for years to come.

Look for a surplus scope, maybe 50 -100 MHz BW and get some decent probes or adequate BW to go with it. Check the Tektronix web site for some app notes about selecting probes. Expect to pay $100 for the scope and $100 for a pair of probes.

Get a good 50-60W temp controlled soldering station- Hakko, Weller, etc. with interchangeable iron tips. DON'T get one of those crappy $10 soldering irons from Radio Shack.

Get good needle nose pliers and wire cutters. Good means the hinges will last and not get sloppy, and the blades will remain aligned and sharp for years. Quality tools usually cost about $20 each or more.

Get a few small screw drivers, + and - type, though for electronics + is most common. Don't get cheesy Chinese imports, get good German imports and pay $5-10 for each. You only need a couple sizes.

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Old 17th October 2006, 05:47 PM   #3
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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buy a cheap but accurate DMM to get you going.
You will find a need for multiple meters as you progress, so it's never wasted.
Get 200mV to 600mV ranges for both DC and AC.
Resistance from 200r to 2M

Add gain check and frequency and oscillator and Bench DMM and oscilloscope and two channel lab supply (with quad meters V & A) as they become available at affordable prices.
The list never ends so don't be tempted to buy expensive unless you discover you REALLY NEED it.
regards Andrew T.
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Old 17th October 2006, 06:01 PM   #4
FastEddy is offline FastEddy  United States
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If you have a computer with a USB port, you can get it all, volt meter, et al, plus an oscilloscope / spectrum analyser ... http://www.pc-oscilloscopes.com/3000.htm ... is but one example. There are many cheaper, but quite useful models from about US$150 and up.

(If you go full out on a PC 'scope, then you can settle for cheaper digital multimeters [DMM], available from many surplus houses for US$20 and up.)

I_Forgot 's ideas are great = I have several surplus Korean War 'scopes plus a 50MHz. HP type about 20 years old. (Old tube 'scopes also give you a ready source for tube pre-amp building ... :>) I also have four or five very cheap DMMs and love 'em, although there is no substitute for a good DMM or a high quality VTVM.

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Old 20th October 2006, 10:25 AM   #5
ghg is offline ghg  Austria
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Try to get a Fluke 8060A at Ebay, e.g. #260041274978 ( not my ad !!! ), these go for USD 80,-- usually, a must for starters, imo.


Gary G.
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Old 22nd October 2006, 03:20 AM   #6
Apex Jr is offline Apex Jr  United States
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Test equipment suggestions
Default VARIAC

I would also add a variac to your quest for test equipment
a valuable asset to bring up the voltage slowly...
I would buy a Superior Electric and NOT any of the Chinese
cheep ones out there...

Steve @ Apex Jr.
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