What tools do I need to work on electronics?


No matter if you are a novice working on your first hobby project or are an experienced engineer you are going to need tools on your bench to complete your project. In this post I want to point out one of my most essential tools and then I want to hear from you to find out what tools you use and what makes them an essential part of your electronics tool box.

To me the most important tool on my bench is my DMM or Digital Multimeter I have a fairly simply DMM on my bench from TPI, the model 126. This unit has the ability to check AC/DC voltages, Current, Resistance, and one feature I prefer to have on my DMM and use often is the diode test function. Weather you are building a circuit or checking circuitry to diagnose an issue or make a repair a good multimeter is essential.

Moving from the DMM will likely depend on what you are going to do with electronics. Are you looking to repair or are you building / prototyping projects with an Arduino. Here are some of my prime suggestions for both applications.

Electronics Repair
First I would suggest a small side cutter and tweezer. I use a 1691-1037-ND and it is perfect for cutting leads after soldering, cutting wire and various other applications. It is easily the most used hand tool on my bench.
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A good set of tweezers or mini needle-nose pliers can also be a life saver for placing components on a board.
Once ready to replace your bad components you will need a good soldering iron or station to do the repair. For most repairs you will want a 50W or higher rating to be able to desolder and solder in new components. I would suggest a soldering station as they are easy to work with and often adjustable. The one i use is a Weller WES51.
It is a great little unit with stand. many people would recommend a desoldering station, however with a good iron like this and some desoldering braid you will be able to remove most any component without damaging the board.

Building with your Arduino (or other boards)

When you are building projects or prototyping you are often not getting into soldering right off the bat. If you need help finding a board we have a great product selector if you click here.

Once you have you board selected you will need a couple of important items.
First you will need power so get a good benchtop power supply. You don’t need top of the line starting out. Something like B&K Precision’s 1550 supply. This will give you 1-36VDC and 0-3A. This will supply most bench projects and boards and is fairly affordable for someone just getting into electronics.

Next you will want to get a breadboard to mock up your project. I suggest going for a larger board such as Adafruit’s 443 board pictured above. Having extra room allows you to keep your project clean and organized. It also allows for future expansion. You will also want to get yourself some jumper wires. I prefer a solid wire kit similar to BKWK-2-ND (pictured above) that is fairly stiff as it allows me to shape the wires and keep and my breadboard organized.

What tools are on your bench?
Now I have barely covered the basics that you need and I could continue to list more tools, however I want to know what tools are on your bench? Tell us below what tools you have on your bench. Make sure to tell us what you use them for and what makes essential to your electronics bench and why it should be on everyone’s tool wish list!

Learning electronics