Yah, the title could also be the “Your $60 or 50€ or £43 electronics homelab” but would’t be so flashy, but you get the idea!
Are you a eletronics student or just a hobbyist wanting to learn eletronics? Yah I know the feeling, the problem is the price of the equipment, but you don’t have to sell a kidney to buy the test equipment for you electronices homelab.
Keep reading and I will show you what were my choices for a electronics homelab with “60ish” dollars, But don’t sweat, you’ll have all the main items of a electronics lab, obviously in a low end version, but that will allow you to start and develop your projects.
The idea of this article isn’t to say that this is all your electronics homelab equipment will be, is just a starting point to allow you to start and with time to upgrade or complement with new tools and equipment that you’ll need, but you can start right now with just $60.
But before I get the hands dirty and start showing what items I have in mind, I need to get some disclaimers out:
- The products in the list bellow are my personal choices, you probably have other options in mind, anyway, consider this as possible scenario, not a strict rule to follow.
- The prices change a lot, proof of that was the changes I got since I bought and the price I payed to the moment I do the research to record the video, to the moment I finally assembly the video, the prices changed several times, so the reality is you should consider this price as target, not a quote for ordering in the supplier. All the prices are from Aliexpress.
- Shipping fees are not included! I can’t make this video using the shipping fees, they differ from country to country and you might have custom fees or not, so all prices are free of shipping, please keep that in mind.
- The prices in dollars and pounds were converted from the original buy price in euros.
With this out of the way, let me tell you now what I personally consider to be the 4 must have test equipments on a electronics homelab:
- Multimeter (never too many)
- Function/Waveform generator
- Power supply (adjustable is better, programmable is awesome)
For me these are the essentials as test equiments, but we also need tools and follows a short list of what in my humble opinion is essential (must really have those):
- Solder iron (solder station will be better, if it has hot hair in it, then you’re on awesome level)
- Solder sucker or desoldering ribbon
- Jumber cables
- Tweezer ESD
- Cutting plier
- Anti-static mat with heat resistance
Now comes the good news, I’ve managed to assembly a kit with all these items described above for $60 or 50€ or £43. Here it is the list of items and respective prices:
|🛒 FNIRSI DSO-150 Oscilloscope||16,07€||$18,97||£13,66|
|🛒 FNIRSI DDS Function/Waveform Generator||13.37€||$15,78||£11,36|
|🛒 Tool kit with Solder Iron 80W, Multimeter, etc||16,54€||$19,53||£14,06|
|🛒 Insulated Working Mat||1,15€||$1,36||£0.98|
|🛒 Cutting Plier||1,43€||$1,69||£1,22|
|🛒 Screwdriver with 8 bits||0,63€||$0,74||£0,54|
|🛒 Electronics kit with breadboard, cables, etc||1,00€||$1,18||£0,85|
Let me now talk a bit about each item:
There not even a small chance of having a electronics lab without a multimeter, it on the top of my list. A Oscilloscope also can give you the same information, but is not practical and doesn’t have the same functions, so this is really a really, really, really must have on a electronics lab.
To keep things under the budget, I selected one that is part of a toolkit, but even if seems and feels cheap, it has all the basic functions, it responds quite fast in the continuity test, but I didn’t have yet the chance to test the accuracity of the multimeter, but lets assume is ok.
It’s a must, and allow to understand how electrical signals work, understand what is a PWM (pulse width modulation) and identify it, well is a wonderfull piece of equipment, the problem is the price, they are usually quite expensive, thats the reason I choosed the DSO-150, mine is from FNIRSI but there are dozens of clones in the internet and this one is already a clone of the JEY Tech DSO Shell version.
The acessible price and the features provided are awesome in this device, I made a previous review of the FNIRSI DSO-150 Oscilloscope 🔗 (go and see it, is a pretty cool device) and already talked a lot about it, its a cool device, trust me!
Ok, this one is not a must, you can leave perferctly without it, but if you really want to learn electronics and to test and undestand waveforms, functions and inject signals on the circuit, you should get one and that why I included in this kit.
I choosed the FNIRSI DDS Function/Waveform generator 🔗 that I already tested before and also have a review done with a lot of testing and information.
The price of this device is ok for what you get and is easy to use, so a big plus if you’te starting on electronics.
The rest of the kit is all about tools, I decided to buy a toolkit with the soldering iron, some accessories and the multimeter, it as bit more expensive but it worth it.
The multimeter is better than the one that normally is included with these toolkits and the soldering iron has a temperature regulator and also a temperature display, very useful if you’re new in electronics.
Another big advantage is that the soldering iron is rated 80W, instead of the normail 60W of the other toolkits.
Include in this kit you have also a tweezer, several soldering iron tips, a tip cleaner, a desolder/solder sucker, a soldering iron holder, 50g of solder wire and 2 pieces of wire for your first projects.
I bought another kit that includes a breadboard, a 9V battery connector, some led lights in several colors, some resistors and some switchs to launch you your first electronics project.
The Cutting plier and the screwdriver were bought seperatelly. The screwdriver has 8 interchangeable bits that allow you to deal with 8 diferent tipe of screws with only one driver.
Upgrade / Extra
I decided to give the option to spend a few more bucks and add a Arduino and a Power Supply to this kit/product compilation, so we have:
As you can see the all kit without the extras will cost 50.19€ or $59.25 or £42.66 and since the objective of the article is to have a electronics homelab equipment under $60 / 50€, I believe, the goal was achivied.
Even if you have some values here or there that are not quite the same, you can always compensate with different products or just assume the difference.
We’re talking about electronics lab equipment for about $60 / 50€ and you have to agree is pretty accessible price, so there’s no reason for you don’t start today. From my part, you’ll have all the support.
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