ARTICLES

Equipping your workbench for beginner electronics (Arduino)

Are you learning Arduino or how to solder electronics?  I have compiled a list of items that I have personally found useful when I received an Arduino Uno kit for Christmas and started learning how to make things with it.

 

Lighting

You’ll want a couple of bright lights to help you see all the small components.  If you don’t already have a desk light handy I found these two lights to be useful and inexpensive.  Plus the architect lamp reminds me of the Pixar lamp.

ArchitectLamp
Boston Harbor Architect Swing Arm Desk Lamp, 26-Inches, Black
3-level Dimmable Touch Switch Folding LED Desk Lamp
3-level Dimmable Touch Switch Folding LED Desk Lamp

Desk

If you don’t already have a desk I recommend a wooden one as it will generate less static electricity.  I bought a cheap folding plastic table from Costco but ended up having to buy an anti-static mat.  I bought this wooden desk later on for my laptop but it would work well for electronics work.

desk

Winsome Wood Computer Desk, Honey

Anti Static Mat

In case you do have a plastic table, chair, or carpeted floor you might want the extra protection of an Anti Static Mat and a grounding probe to attach it to.

antiStaticMat
Anti Static Mat Kit with a Wrist Strap and a Grounding Cord
groundProbe
Rio RV2735 Rid-Volt Titanium Grounding Probe

Microcontroller

An Arduino Uno, one of the most popular prototyping and learning platforms.  You can get the microcontroller by itself or part of a kit.  The kit comes with an instruction manual, and some sensors, resistors, wires, servos, motors, etc to get started.

arduinoUno
Arduino Uno
Arduino Starter Kit

Power Supply

The Arduino doesn’t come with an external power adapter.  This one works well.

powersupply

Etekcity GD-001 12V Power Adapter

Expansion

I never used the expansion board but i did find the mini bread board useful.

expansionBoard

Arduino ProtoShield prototype expansion board including mini bread board

Extra Wires

You can never have enough wires, these will come in handy.

alligatorClips
Elenco TL-6 Alligator Lead Set, 10-Piece, 14 inches
wires
Phantom YoYo 40P dupont cable 200mm male to female

Tools

I’ve used both of these a ton.  The magnifying glass wasn’t that great so I took it off, but the helping hands did help out.

tweezers
13cm Length Black Anti-magnetic Straight Curved Tweezers 2 Pcs
helpingHands
SE MZ101B Helping Hand with Magnifying Glass

Soldering

This soldering station allows you to set the temperature and heats up fast.

solderingIron
Weller WESD51 Digital Soldering Station
solder
Alpha Fry AT-31604 60-40 Rosin Core Solder (4 Ounces)

Learn to Solder Kit

Don’t know how to solder yet, no problem.  This kit comes with an inexpensive soldering iron for you to use if you don’t want to spring for the more expensive soldering station above.  Watch a couple of youTube videos and pick up one of these kits to practice on.  You can always reuse the components later on.

LearnKit

Elenco AmeriKit Learn to Solder Kit

Desoldering

Now that you’ve soldered stuff together, you might find yourself needing to desolder them.  I had trouble getting the wick to work well but had better luck with the gun.

wick
Aven 17542 Desoldering Wick, 2.5mm Width, 5′ Length
soldapullt
Edsyn Deluxe Soldapullt, DS017LS, Static-Safe

Sensors and Modules

I used the starter kit above with the PIR sensor and the RTC module below to build a motion activated digital clock.

PIR_Sensor
HC-SR501 Human Sensor Module Pyroelectric Infrared
RTC
SainSmart Tiny RTC I2C DS1307 AT24C32 24C32 memory Real Time Clock Module

Organization

An organizer to keep all of your small components

organization1

Stanley 014725 25-Removable Compartment Professional Organizer

Surge Protector

 

SurgeProtector

Tripp Lite 7 Outlet Surge Protector/Suppressor Power Strip 7ft Cord Right Angle Plug (SUPER7B)



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