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Furnishing the Electronics Bench - Right Tools

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks' started by W9GB, Jun 13, 2021.

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  1. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Electronic Repair Bench
    Once you have selected a good workbench with a sample piece of carpet, an ESD mat (when required); Comfortable chair, and Good lighting, it is time to assemble the Right Tools

    Using the Right Tools
    The right tools certainly make your work easier to do. Here are some things that I think are particularly good values.
    • Soldering Station. Select a Temperature Controlled model. The temperature should be adjusted to the Solder formulation (Lead-free, 2% silver, 63/37, or 60/40). The Solder Tip should be sized for the Solder joint. The 3/32” screwdriver (chisel) profile is good for vacuum tube gear with its tube sockets, terminals strips and point to point wiring.
    • Magnifying Light or Jeweler Loupe
    • VTVM, VOM, or DVM
    • Needle Nose pliers, in a few sizes (6” and smaller, like jewelers size)
    • Diagonal wire cutter and a wire stripper (Klein 11057 and 11055)
    • Assortment of screwdrivers (Blade, Phillips, Torx, etc) and Allen / Bristol wrenches
    • Rosin-core Solder. START with a variety Kester Pocket Pak®.
    • IF you eventually buy a 1 pound reel of solder, the Hakko 611 is a good choice
    • If not part of your Soldering Station, a Tip Cleaner like the Hakko 599B is useful.
    As you perform more Repairs, Kit Builds, or DIY projects on a wider variety of Equipment (SMT, Antennas, Microphones, traditional Electrical appliances, Mechanical assemblies, Metal / Plastic work, your Skills and Tools will need to expand.

    Soldering - Necessary Bench Skill for Success
    IF you have good tools, and are properly instructed, soldering can be easy. However, I have seen enough BAD work (Production & DIY Repairs) to conclude that Many bother to master the skill (and Bad techs propagate their BAD Skills to Novices).
    Soldering Tutorial on You Tube (Video)
    PU2OZT, KB6HPD, N2HUN and 3 others like this.
  2. W7TCT

    W7TCT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    An excellent list.

    May I also suggest a "helping hands" holder with clips such as this one from Harbor Freight?

    Then, as you said, "tools will need to expand."
    PU2OZT and N2HUN like this.
  3. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have accumulated lots of tools but always had test gear available at work for repairing and aligning.
    Now all I have at home is a HF receiver to hear the signals but no calibrated generators for measuring sensitivity and IF levels.
    Do have a couple of small Digital multimeters for voltage, current and one measures audio freqs !
    Sure limits me and I have no budget for 5 figure $$ test generator/monitors ! !
    N2HUN likes this.
  4. W9JEF

    W9JEF Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Considering the toxicity of rosin fumes, a well-ventilated work area would seem to be a prime requisite.

    PU2OZT and KD8WU like this.
  5. W9JEF

    W9JEF Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Radio Shack wants $39.99 for this. I use a block of 4 by 4 redwood, and drill holes where needed. Especially handy for the plug-in coils for my link-coupled antenna tuner. Holes positioned to accommodate the spacing of the banana jacks.

    PU2OZT and N2EY like this.
  6. KD8WU

    KD8WU Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I picked up an HP-8648c (9 KHz to 3.2 GHz, goes down to like -130 dBm or about 20 pV) for like $650ish. Think I paid about the same have it calibrated.

    Also, I have found that a CAT FREE ZONE is an absolute must! (We have three, plus a Chiweenie dog.)
    K8JD and W9JEF like this.
  7. KC3TEC

    KC3TEC Ham Member QRZ Page

    in the shack i have a fume extractor fan that is piped into a drier vent ( the kind that has a flap door on it so its closed when the fan is off) through the wall near my solder station it works quite well
    W9JEF and AD5HR like this.
  8. WF7A

    WF7A Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not only use a good desk lamp but multiple lamps--shadows can hide all kinds of flaws and faults.
    WA9FZB likes this.
  9. N2HUN

    N2HUN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Set of non-metallic alignment tools, these are inexpensive.
    Mouth - I use it to hold solder when a third hand is needed. :)
  10. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Cat on radio bench is a must, he tests my bug and tuning dial when he visits.

    $650 is more than I paid for any one of my radios in the 60 years on the air (except fot the latest one {IC7300}) :eek:
    PU2OZT likes this.
  11. K9YLI

    K9YLI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Qtips. pipe cleaners. shish-k bob sticks for probing .tool for pushing out contacts in multi-contact plugs, spring hooks or crochet hooks for re hooking dial cord springs etc. pink eraser to clean contacts ,blue 600 grit auto sand paper , lots of 'jumper cables of many wire sizes' , hemo-stats ,
    PU2OZT likes this.
  12. W9JEF

    W9JEF Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    In a relatively small home such as ours, a single room serves multiple purposes. (I sleep in the hamshack, where the electronic diagnosis bench is, also.) Soldering is done in the bathroom, where there's a ventilation fan (while seated on the “throne”).

  13. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Don't forget the cleaning supplies.

    Good soldering starts with clean components.
    Beware, Everclear is flammable !.

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