If you wanna get straight to the point, scroll down until you see something red.
If you’ve just picked up the hobby and figured that you want to work your way around electronics, what they do, how they work, what the hell electricity is in the first place, I’d recommend you check out Great Scott’s YouTube channel, he has a playlist called Electronics Basics that would explain almost every small detail you need to know about electronics, both theoretically and practically. I quite frankly find this man to be fascinating when it comes to the way he explains everything and organizes his thoughts on a piece of paper and a video. He’s German so excuse his accent but I promise by the end of it you’ll come out a smart person.
Alright enough yapping and let’s get straight to the point. You’ve probably heard people recommend X brand over Y brand and giving you prices and numbers and all that crap but let me tell you one thing, at this point, as a hobbyist and a beginner, you don’t care about the brand. If you pay $100 for a solderer or $2, it’s going to be the same to you because you wouldn’t be using the temperature regulator with the built-in light, magnifying glass and holding a small capacitor using its helping arms while its fan blows away the fumes. You don’t even know what any of that means! So why waste a lot of money on things you don’t understand yet?
My advice to you, go basic, go cheap, and once you become knowledgeable enough, you’re going to be able to make your own decision on the brand you’re going to buy and the product you’re going to invest in. Or at the very least, you’ll have learned enough to know what to search for or ask about when you want to buy professional equipment.
I’ve purchased most of my tools using AliExpress, they’re cheap, safe to purchase with return policies, and you can get them without any shipping fees (might take sometime). So if you’re in a rush, you can try to find your closest electronics shop or website, otherwise, I’d recommend AliExpress. I’ll also be linking you to the cheapest products there should you choose to follow my advice.
First of all, you’re going to need a screw driver set. You probably have one laying around in the house but trust me, buy your own. Feeling like this screw driver is yours and yours only already gives you a sense of satisfaction and independence, making this hobby yours and no one else’s.
Once you have this, you can start playing around with old electronics laying around, taking them apart and discovering each component once you’ve watched Great Scott’s videos that depict almost each and every component present in most electronics and how they work.
Second, you’ll need a multi-meter, these could be very expensive and complicated, or very cheap but effective. I chose the latter option. Most multi-meters will come with two wires, one red and one black. The picture says that the offer will last for 1 day, but as a regular AliExpress shopper, there’s always a deal.
Now if you ask me, these are the two most essential tools you’ll need just to get things going in terms of learning and discovering. The tools below are what you’ll need once you want to get tweaking, taking things apart, salvaging components, building basic circuits, etc…
Third, you’ll need a soldering set, this will consist of the following
- Solderer: This is the stick that would heat up when you turn it on and it makes the soldering iron melt.
- Desoldering Pump: Desoldering is done when you want to remove a component that is already present on a board. There are many techniques and tools for that, one of the cheapest and easiest being a desoldering pump.
- Soldering Iron: This is the iron that you’d need to melt in order to make components stick together. The reason why iron is used is because it is a great conductor of electricity.
- Soldering Stand: When the soldering gun gets hot, it gets really hot. Laying it around on a wood/plastic table is hazardous. You’ll need a stand to lay it safely. I personally chose to build mine from scrap material I found laying around using a piece of wood, some of my mom’s laundry-hanging wires and a couple bolts but that’s about it. You can find yours for as little as $2 online.
That’s pretty much it when it comes to you taking your already present electronics apart and testing them out. You might need a breadboard as well if you intend on designing things, but this is going to be saved for a later article about an Arduino’s beginner’s guide.
If you have any questions or anything you’d like to say leave one out in the comments or reach me out on any of my social media accounts.