Welcome - Please Read

Welcome. I wanted to provide stripboard layouts I've made to help people new to electronics and even the more experienced get into different aspects of electronics.

I verify the layouts before I post them.

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Test Gear/Tools

I shall update this more as time goes one but I basically just want to make a little list of the gear I use in electronics for anyone new to this hobby who don't know where to start.
on the most part I try to buy things secondhand and cheap from eBay or even make my own stuff but I will post some of the things I have.

FLUKE 87V - I know, it's dam expensive however you can get the FLUKE 87III quite cheap, in fact you can pick up a lot of flukes on eBay for next to nothing which is great because they are much much safer and generally better than the cheap crap ones.
the multimeter is one of the things you will use the most so it's worth buying quality because you'll just go through the cheap ones like nobodys business.
I should also note it's a good idea to have at least 2 DMMs because there are often times where you need to measure current and voltage at the same time.

Function Generator - the first one I had was a Blackstar jupiter 2000 which is a 0 - 2MHz - I often see them on eBay for £30 - £40 and for hobby work they are great - the one I currently use is 2 of THESE in the mainframe - it's quite expensive so unless you're serious it's not worth getting something like this.
however if you want to go even cheaper there is a stripboard version on my blog and it's always good to make your own, in fact I would suggest making your own and buying one too then you can make some cool sounds.

Oscilloscopes - I have a few the first I should mention is a digital one - the ATTEN ADS1102CAL that I got from this seller I normally wouldn't shout out a eBay seller but this guy was great. anyway I know not everyone can afford to drop £229 on something even though this scope is just brilliant, much better than the Rigol one which has half the bandwidth and so on.
as for other scopes I have found that going for the phillips range of (secondhand) analogue scopes are the best deals, they are cheap, good functionality, I have 2 of them, one of them is the PM3218 and the last time I saw one of those on BuyItNow on eBay it was £89
I have found the best rule of thumb when buying a scope is that it needs to have a minimum bandwidth of 20MHz with dual channel and a delay setting.
the great thing about the Phillips ones is that they are a good shape so you can stack things on them which is pretty important as things mount up

Bench Power Supply - again these can range from being expensive to next to nothing, it's also something that someone should build themself along side a store bought one. the one linked to in the power supply title is the rebadged version of the one I have bought recently, it has a few quirks like the knob is only a single turn but the fact it has a built in current monitor is proving very useful.
if these were in any kind of order, this would be next to the DMM in necessity.

Soldering Station - it's really necessary to have a temperature controlled iron - back in my younger years I would use the "plug straight into the mains" ones and I often had projects that didn't work because I had overheated a part a long the way, using a temperature controlled iron allows you to set the iron the max soldering temperature dictated by a part datasheet which is usually about 10 seconds at 350C
(Note: use a chisel tip - it really is the best way to get a good result soldering)
the particular solder station I use is the ATTEN 938D which maplin rebadged and sells as their own (linked in the title) if you search for the ATTEN one on eBay it is a bit cheaper.

Resistor Substitution Box - there is a diagram to build your own in this blog and I really suggest that you do however you can buy these eg. HERE, it is an extremely useful tool. I use it alot when building effects with any kind of audio output that uses a clock/timer/oscillator such as the add-on board for my Nintendetari effect, initially when I inserted the oscillator it clicked on the oscillator peaks, by using the sub box I was able to find the best compromise between effect attenuation and click removal.
There is of course capacitance and inductor sub boxes available however these aren't nearly as useful as the resistance one.

Semiconductor Tester - this is basically a transistor tester and the main reason I bought this (and can't live without it) is that it tells you what type of transistor it is and also the pinout, I got sick of looking up pinouts for transistors but now I just pop it in this and there you go. there are a few available such as the Peak Atlas or the really cheap Wharf one from thailand (the one I have - linked to in the title)

Reading Material - some books are hit and miss really however the one that is a MUST for anyone who really wants to get to grips with electronics is called The Art Of Electronics however there are lots of versions of this book, abbridged, student editions and so on, so make sure it has 1152 pages and you're all set. It costs a lot but you can shop around and find it second hand cheaperotherwise any book that has a lot of schematics in it is a good place to start. Often I find that you can visually see what is going on with a schematic where has my eyes go blank and dead when I open a book full of bloody equations and math.

Camera - bit of an odd tool to have in an electronics it may see however stay with me... often in electronics you run into problems with a circuit you're working on and you want to jump onto a forum to ask for help or even ask me on here etc, well the best way to do this is to be as concise as possible and take a good clear picture of the problem board I have managed to help people solve problems on many occasions because they had a camera to hand that took nice clear pictures - doesn't have to be a stupidally expensive one like mine (the one linked) or anything just a decent one - even some camera phones are good enough, you just need to have the ability to really zoom in on it to be able to see solder joints and so on.

LEN box - that is my name for it but they are called safeblock or keynectors. They are very useful for testing things that need a quick safe wire up to the mains. I call it a LEN box because the terminals are in the Live Earth Neutral order


  1. You could actually write an entire article on soldering and soldering techniques. A good friend of mine recently introduced me to liquid flux, using a dispensing bottle with a .01 needle. I was doing hundreds of xlr and 1/4 end connectors and the liquid flux and pre tinning (the cups) technique saved my life. He also introduced me to flux paste and when to use it.

    Another key item is the Hakko brass shavings and holder for keeping the solder iron tip clean. Changed my life.


  2. personally I just shoved a metal scrubbing pad into a jar!

    I did think of doing a quick soldering guide however Dave Jones of the EEVBlog youtube channel did a massive 4 part soldering guide that covers everything you'd need to know.

    I don't use separate fluxite myself I only use flux cored solder, the only time you really need to use fluxite separate to the actual solder is when you're soldering SMD stuff.

  3. Paul, do you have any experience on those Digital USB oscilloscopes? I want to buy an oscilloscope for audio use, to be able to test effect pedals, stompboxes etc.
    Are they any good for this kind of job?
    like this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hantek-6022BE-PC-Based-USB-Digital-Storage-Oscilloscope-20Mhz-Bandwidth-/181063555053?pt=UK_BOI_Electrical_Test_Measurement_Equipment_ET&hash=item2a283a97ed