Top tools for electronics projects

So I was thinking the other day how my dad knows, without fail, what I’ll need sooner or a later for electronics work. For birthdays and Xmas since I got my pi, his present has been some form of tool rather than component (usually from aldi).
At first this annoyed me because I wanted an arduino for Xmas, but then I started using them and realised he’s a mind reader/genius.
But not everyone who starts playing with embedded projects has my dad, so here’s some tools you’ll probably need somewhere down the line. As always please shout me if there’s anything you have to add:

1. A breadboard. These are those plasticy holey board things you see on projects: basically a prototyping object without anything being permanent. These come in big and small sizes and are just generally awesome.

2. A soldering iron. Not sure I need to quantify this one. Somewhere along the line you’ll need to solder, once your breadboard prototype is ready or if there’s a kit you’ve just bought. Learning to solder isn’t hard and there’s plenty of tutorials around. It’s also really fun and addictive #demfumes

3. A solder sucker. For when your soldering has gone awry.

4. A third hand tool or table vice. Personally I have the latter, courtesy of my dad last Xmas. This is a must as usually electronics hacking is a personal thing unless you work exclusively at a hackspace, and you usually need to solder one thing to another which means 3 objects to balance. I prefer my vice because its very sturdy and really easily adjustable. It also doubles as my lanyard holder:

image

5. Automatic wire strippers. I used to do wire stripping in the one term of electronics we had at school, and owch did that hurt my fingertips. Automated ones are soooo much better.

6. A multimeter, to test all your outputs and input voltages etc are correct.

7. Tweezers, particularly for surface mount soldering. I use mine sooo much these days.

8. A magnifying glass. I dun goofed one time and soldered a header the wrong way up. Magnifying glass was really useful for figuring out which pins needed more desoldering.

I think that’s everything. If you have any to add please comment or tweet me!

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