Steve Litt on 21 May 2019 00:29:03 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Electronics gear

On Mon, 20 May 2019 12:17:06 -0400
Paul Walker <> wrote:

> A little off topic but I have a feeling this is the place to ask. I'm
> trying to get a small / starter electronics bench put together and am
> looking for some gear:
> * Temp. controlled soldering iron

I just bought this a few weeks ago, and it's doing well soldering
rather big things with no-lead solder:

They have a model that cools maybe 100 degrees when you put the iron in
its collar, and one that doesn't. I got the one that does. I like it.

If you're using leaded solder to solder normal electronics (not heat
syncs), this should be better priced and sufficient:

I gave up on Weller because I called Weller (not a reseller) to ask
about a replacement point for my circa 1995 Weller station, and the
person at the other end had never heard of my solder station and was
unable to look it up.

> * Multimeter

Pretty much anything with visibility and at least 10Mohm to 20Mohm
input resistance. Extra points for beep on contact. I paid $175 for
mine, in 1982, and it's still working. In every respect except
durability, a better multimeter can be had, today, for $25.00.

> * Power supply

If you mean some sort of variac to slowly power up 120 volt amplifiers
and the like, I use one or more parallel series lightbulbs. 1982-1985 I
operated Steve's Stereo Repair,  and take it from me,series lightbulbs
are a whole lot better than a variac for current limiting amplifiers.
Naturally, you wouldn't use either with computer equipment.

> * Signal generator

Ebay has some.

> * Solder / flux / wire / solder-sucker / etc

For personal electronics you aren't going to sell, 60/40 leaded solder
is easiest to use. If you're repairing other peoples' equipment, there
might be laws against leaded, or you might decide to go non-leaded as a
service to the customer. Ebay for solder. I like those big blue solder
suckers with the spring and plunger: They used to be ten bucks: I dont
know about now.

> * parts

Getting REAL hard to find a good parts dealer. Best of breed MCM merged
with that lamo Newark and the result is mediocrity. All Electronics in
Van Nuys California is good for what it has, but they have no
semiconductors. And of course, radio shack has closed, so if one 2SC945
transistor is holding up your project, you can't dash down to Radio
shack and buy this 50 cent part for 2 bucks. Instead, you pay a dime
for it, plus 4 bucks shipping, and get it a few days later. Ugh!

Depending on what kinds of stuff you're going to do, it might serve you
well to get a decade capacitance box. For that matter, a decade
resistor box might be handy too. Rotating knobs is much easier than
trial and error.

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