[sdiy] Useful equipment

patchell patchell at silcom.com
Fri Aug 2 22:31:55 CEST 2002



Steve Begin wrote:

> Sorry, I feel like I'm abusing a good service by coming on to this list and asking all sorts of beginner questions when I have nothing to offer in return, but I am genuinely interested and have yet to find any sort of mentor and I hope you guys understand.
> My question this time is about equipment, for the art of electronics there is a fairly large list of equipment they use in the course.
> I'm a visual learner, so it would be nice to be able to try out the things they explain in the book for myself, and I'm willing to invest in equipment but some of it seems like it may be obsolete or better substituted with a newer equivalent, or will only be used once or twice and then I'll never need it again.  At the bottom of this email is most of the list of what they recommend in the book.
>
> I'd really appreciate it if somebody could go over the list and tell me which things I need, which I don't, and which have cheaper or more readily available equivalents that I could substitute.
>
> Scope:
> Tektronix 2225 Dual channel, 50 MHz

    Probably, most any scope will do.  This scope is obsolete (i.e. Tek no longer makes it).  I have a cheap scope in my own personal lab...something I purchased from Jameco for I think around $400.  However, you may well find a nice Tek scope on ebay or whatever at an even better price.

>
>
> Func. Gen.
> Krohn-Hite 1400 sine, triangle, square, logic level; sweep; tp 3MHz

    Wavetek is also another good brand of function generator.  However, for Synth DIY stuff, a function generator is probably not very useful (once you build your first VCO, you now have a function generator).

>
>
> DVM
> Beckman DM25L 3 1/2 Digit

    For a DVM, you need a minimum of 4 1/2 digits.  You need this kind of resolution for tuning your VCO's.  A DVM is a must.

>
>
> VOM
> Simpson 260-8P multimeter with overload protection (essential!)

    VOM you may find to be not very useful.  It is nice to have a meter with a needle, but this is not really esential for Synth DIY.

>
>
> Power Supply
> B&K Precision 1630 0-30v, 3A linear

    Better if you can locate a lab supply that put out dual 0-15 volts.  However, again, a lab supply is not really essential.  You can probably get away with using a Power One open frame linear that puts out +/- 15 volts.

>
>
> Breadboard (Powered)
> Global Specialties PB503 3 supplies (+5V, +/-15V), function generator including logic level; debounced switches, 8 LED indicators
>
> Breadboards, not powered
> Global PB-105 set of six strips, mounted
> Global UBS-100 single strip (beware of cheap imitations.)

    You will probably get a lot of opinions on these things.  There are certain people on the list that hate these things with a passion.  I have always had good luck with them myself.  However, while I still use mine (even after 25 years), I would put this at a lower priority.  When I do "serious" breadboarding, I build the circuit up on a .1" grid punched fiberglass card using Vector T42-1
terminals.

>
>
> Logic Probe
> OK PRB50 O,K IndustriesL 50 ns glitch
> or HP545A

    My personal opinion, don't waste your money.

>
>
> Resistor Substitution Box RD111 (contact easy) 1ohm to 11Mohm in 1ohm steps; +/- 1%
> or ohmite ohm-ranger 3420.
>
> Capacitor Substitution Box
> Ohmite 3430A Cap-Ranger
> 100pF to 11.111 uF in 100pF steps; +/- 2% accuracy.

    Very low priority on these two idtem.  If you can find them used (or an equivelent peice of equipment) real cheap, sure, but I would save your money.

>
>
> Resistor Kit
> Ohmite CAB-54 "little devil" 1/4 watt carbon composition; 10ohm to 10Mohm

    Don't mess with carbon comp resistors.  Or, carbon film for that matter.  If you are going to get a "kit", get a selection of metal film resistors.  Best way, in my opinion, is to get a selection of resistors from Mouser Electronics (http://www.mouser.com ).  They sell them at 2 cents each per value when you purchase them in 200 piece lots per value.

>
>
> also it says
> (your choice)
> a frequency counter: occasionally very helpful.

    For synth DIY....well, it depends on the counter.  If I had a choice between getting a frequency counter or a Conn SroboTuner, I would take the StroboTuner.  I borrowed my fathers for testing my VCO's.  Makes tuning them a sinch.  I need to locate one of these, however, because when my Father moves to Seatle, he is taking it with him.  There are probably other tuners that will work as well,
however.

>
>
> Thanks in advance,
> > Steve Begin
> >
> >
> >

--
 -Jim
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