Hey, I'm trying to get back into Electronics after having a chat with my old Electronics teacher today, and was wondering if there were any brands or models that people recommended?

I have absolutely no supplies currently, and want to make myself a wish list.

For the soldering iron, variable heat and coil for holding the soldering iron are a must, and it'd be nice to have a little tray for a sponge. I'd need a decent multimeter for troubleshooting/testing. I can get components and breadboards for soldering in bulk easily, so those I'm not too worried about. I'm unsure of where to get the breadboards you don't solder on though, along with where to get flux, and solder. I'm also not sure if I'll really need an oscilloscope.

That's all I can think of at the moment, so if anyone has anything else on mind that they think I will need, I'd greatly appreciate it.
RSR Electronics, Digikey, Sparkfun, Mouser, and Jameco are all good options. Sparkfun is the most expensive of the four, but also the only one that takes Paypal. Here's the soldering iron that I use:

http://www.elexp.com/sdr_wlc1.htm
Any suggestions on multimeters?
MufinMcFlufin wrote:
Any suggestions on multimeters?
I have a Fluke 79 multimeter that I've been very happy with that I got for Christmas one year. It's probably almost a decade old at this point, and has served me very well.
MufinMcFlufin wrote:
Any suggestions on multimeters?


http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/AMPROBE/37XR-A/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMtNaRJxj63fb8zjbksnPpSEhdWgXeFFhB0%3d

Pretty much any multimeter made by Fluke or Amprobe (Meterman) is top-notch.
hey, thanks for the information! i'm going to be buying this stuff as well as soon as i have the money saved, but never would have thought to ask here about what to get because i'm an idiot.
shmibs wrote:
hey, thanks for the information! i'm going to be buying this stuff as well as soon as i have the money saved, but never would have thought to ask here about what to get because i'm an idiot.
You're clearly not an idiot, because you're here in the first place. Wink I hope you'll be sure to ask us for more specifics once you have the money saved so we can guide you in components and tools specific to what you need.
Aren't there already a couple of lists posted as well?
I do all my electronics work with a cheap fixed-temperature Antex iron, a generic "made-in-China" multimeter and no oscilloscope. If you're chiefly working with digital electronics and with through-hole parts then you don't really need very expensive equipment (as nice as it is). A logic analyser would be more useful than an oscilloscope for digital electronics, in any case, and if you're working with relatively low frequency AC signals your sound card can be used by a piece of software as an oscilloscope.
Ah yes, the Sound Card Oscilloscope is a nice, cheap-and-dirty tool for debugging low-frequency digital and analog signals.
Well, I talked to my dad about it, and since my birthday is coming up, he decided to get me all the electronics supplies I needed, as long as they all came at a reasonable cost. I got pretty much the same exact soldering iron that you mentioned Kerm, a nice portable multimeter with backlight, by a company I've never heard of: Sona. I got two solderless breadboards for $7 a piece, which I felt was a good deal.

I still have a couple more things to get, including my own spool of solder, so I don't have to ask my older brother, a solder-sucker, and flux remover, but I don't think I'll need that for at least a little while.

Is there anything anyone else can think of that I would need?
You shouldn't need flux remover if you use no-clean flux.

A "helping hand" assembly aid is nice to have. A logic probe (and/or pulser) is very handy for digital electronics.
an industrial strength TIG welder? Razz

congrats on the birthday score! it sounds to me like you wont need anything else for a while.

also: why does a multimeter need a backlight? are you going to be playing with electricity in the dark?
shmibs wrote:
an industrial strength TIG welder? Razz

congrats on the birthday score! it sounds to me like you wont need anything else for a while.

also: why does a multimeter need a backlight? are you going to be playing with electricity in the dark?
You never know. Smile What if the thing you're multimetering is a breaker box on which the breakers tripped? Smile Multimeters are generally rated for household voltages and currents and far beyond, so it's not an unrealistic scenario. However, I hope Mufinator isn't planning anything like that.
benryves wrote:
You shouldn't need flux remover if you use no-clean flux.

A "helping hand" assembly aid is nice to have. A logic probe (and/or pulser) is very handy for digital electronics.

Hmm...never heard of it. I remember we used to use solder that had the flux in it. Do you know if there's no-clean flux core solder?
KermMartian wrote:
shmibs wrote:
an industrial strength TIG welder? :P

congrats on the birthday score! it sounds to me like you wont need anything else for a while.

also: why does a multimeter need a backlight? are you going to be playing with electricity in the dark?
You never know. :) What if the thing you're multimetering is a breaker box on which the breakers tripped? :) Multimeters are generally rated for household voltages and currents and far beyond, so it's not an unrealistic scenario. However, I hope Mufinator isn't planning anything like that.
pfft, I'm always planning on devious stuff like that.

Disabling security syst-I mean, umm, working all day and all night on my circuits. :)

P.S. As it turns out, I unknowingly got the same model of Soldering Iron that you said you have KermM.
If you just use rosin-core solder, you should be all set. Why would you want to clean up the flux? I hope you enjoy your soldering iron; I've been quiet happy with it. Make sure you take good care of it, like keeping the sponge moist and using it to clean the tip off as often as possible. Smile
KermM, my teacher always mentioned that if you left Flux on the circuit, it would get sticky, letting dust and the such get stuck to the circuit, or something like that. I just remember that whenever we made a circuit, he had us clean all the leftover flux off.

Speaking of cleaning the tip, is it just me, or have you heard of a tinning block? Neither my dad (who works in IT) nor my brother (who builds computers) have heard of tinning their soldering iron, much less using a tinning block to help them tin their iron.
No-clean flux doesn't leave a sticky residue and as such doesn't require cleaning (hence the name).

I've heard of a tinning block, but never used one (or indeed tip cleaner compound). A damp sponge and a bit of solder to keep the tip tinned works well enough for me.
I just melt a bit of solder onto my tip, clean it, and repeat. At this point my tip is more or less permanently tinned; it doesn't really seem to take any effort to maintain.
benryves, what I'm getting at is that we would use rosin-core solder that apparently would leave a sticky residue, and hence would require cleaning.

KermM, we would use a tinning block to be sure that we get solder on all sides of the iron, and to be sure that the solder wouldn't fall off. In hindsight, it sounds like the equivalent of training wheels for soldering. Also, sometimes the iron wouldn't tin well, and it would go from a chrome-like color to brown, so we'd have to use a metal brush to clean it off, try again, and hope it worked better. To be honest, I still don't know why it would do that and why re-tinning the iron would sometimes work.
  
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