About the electronics workbench, The rapid adoption of the DIY culture for DIY solutions has spread into the electronics field. However, electronic components are super sensitive. You can opt to solder and assemble the parts on any surface, but it might cause static damage.
Your safest bet is to use an electronics workbench. It has the necessary safety and convenience features to help you develop your prototypes quickly.
We have looked at this piece of hardware in detail, including what you need to set up this dedicated workspace. Take a look!
Vital Elements Each Efficient Workstation Should Have
There are many tabletop materials, but butcher block and Formica laminate are the best if you are looking for affordability. However, they are not good at discharging static electricity. Therefore, you should buy an electrostatic discharge (ESD) mat to avoid damaging your electronic components.
Adjustable-height legs give you the flexibility to work in a sitting or standing position. Also, you can adjust them anywhere in between, depending on your height.
A storage solution in the form of shelves, drawers, bins, compartment boxes, etc., keeps your work area organized.
Lights illuminate the work area to enable you to operate with precision.
Workbench Power Strips and Outlets
You will need power tools or electricity to test the circuits. Therefore, power strips and benchtop power supply outlets are necessary for the workstation.
Mobility using casters is a crucial feature because it lets you move the entire workstation without breaking it down.
It is impossible to stand throughout when working on a project. Thus, you should invest in a comfortable, adjustable, ergonomic chair.
Tools and Test Equipment
You cannot build an electronics project without tools and testing equipment.
Electronics Workbench Equipment List
We need to dive deeper into the tools and test equipment list because these are critical for any electronics project. You should have the following:
As the name suggests, a multimeter is a combination of multiple meters. These meters do several measurement meters in one, usually giving voltage, resistance, and current readings. There are two primary types of multimeters:
- Analog (basic multimeter)
An analog multimeter
- Digital multimeter
The digital type is better because it gives a more precise reading. Also, it is easier to read because it displays the measurement value on a screen. The analog type points to the reading using a needle gauge, making it difficult to read.
A digital multimeter
Oscilloscopes are electronic measurement instruments that display outputs in waveforms. They are the direct opposite of signal generators, and they help analyze problems occurring in an electronics circuit. A two or four-channel oscilloscope will do, but the latter is better.
A digital and analog oscilloscope
Basic Hand Tools
Hand tools don't require any electrical or motor power, and they include the following:
Diagonal pliers are small and help cut small pins or wires in areas where broad cutting tools cannot reach. The term diagonal comes from the 15-degree offset cutting edges.
Ratcheting Crimper Pliers
This pair of pliers allow you to grab wires and crimp them. Additionally, it contains a ratchet release that lets go of the wire if you terminate the wrong one.
Wire strippers help cut off insulations in wires. Some can help connect the stripped wire to a terminal or other cables. They usually have a spring-loaded, self-opening action and a maximum wire rating label for the wire they can strip.
An automatic wire stripper
Cross-Shaped Dual-Purpose Multi-Function Screwdriver
This screwdriver features a removable head with one side having a flat head and the other a star/cross. When buying one, ensure it has a comfortable, anti-slip handle.
A screwdriver with a removable cross-shaped nozzle
Anti-Magnetic Straight Tweezers
The purpose of these small tools is to pick small objects. They resemble eyebrow pluckers and can cause static discharge. To prevent electrostatic discharge to your electronics circuit, buy ESD-safe tweezers.
Angled ESD tweezers
Analyzers are electronic instruments used for data analysis. They include the following types.
This analyzer measures the SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) or input impedance in the antennas used in radio electronics. It works using the following steps: tuning/checking antennas, testing components, locating cable faults, and impedance matching. After that, it does coaxial cable parameter measurement and cuts coaxial cables to the accurate electrical lengths.
An SWR analyzer
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Logic analyzers read and display several digital signals. They are also the equipment of choice for developing and debugging electronic logic signal circuits. To clarify, their purpose is to test and ensure complex logic and digital circuits function smoothly.
A logic analyzer
Source: Wikimedia Commons
This testing instrument helps to monitor signals in frequency ranges by measuring the spectrum power of known/unknown signals.
A digital spectrum analyzer
Power Supply Tools
Power supply tools might not be essential for newbies, but you will need them as you advance your skills. They include the following:
ZKETECH EBC-A10H AC Battery Capacity Tester/Electronic Load/Power Supply Tester 30V 10A 150W
With a 24V built-in power module, this unit can do battery power performance, charging & discharging, and capacity tests. Also, it supports 30V max (150W/10A) and includes a power cable, four crocodile test clips, and a USB cable.
The device uses EB software to display all the relevant information accurately. Additionally, it can draw curves plus support firmware upgrades and computer control.
MDP-XP Smart Digital Power Supply Kit
MDP (Mini Digital Power) is a system of programmable linear DC power supply for connecting different modules. It contains a display control and digital power module, components suitable for several applications. Besides these two, the kit includes two banana plug-alligator clips (4mm) and audio to micro USB cable (2.5mm).
Soldering involves melting solder to join metals or components to circuit boards. A solder station should have the following basic soldering tools.
A soldering iron
Mini Soldering Iron Deluxe Kit (Europe Standard)
This deluxe kit contains the following: one mini soldering iron and a BC2 soldering iron tip type for PCB soldering. Additionally, you get a B2 soldering tron tip type, soldering iron stand, power adapter (DC5525), and earth clamps.
Mini Soldering Iron – Europe Standard (Shape-BC2)
This compact soldering iron has the following advantages: portable, lightweight, and heats quickly with precise temperature controls from 100-400°C. It also features sleep and alert modes for safety enhancement. Besides the soldering iron operating part, the kit includes a BC2 solder iron tip type. Other items include the following: a Europe standard DC5525 power adapter and earth clamps.
Advice and Tips About Building an Electronics Workbench
Hobby vs. Professional
Professional electronics work requires lots of workstation space because you must have more tools and equipment. However, if the electronics work is a hobby, you can place the workbench in a shared space, like the garage.
R&D vs. Repair
Repair work also requires lots of workspaces, but this area will be for keeping spare parts for the most often repaired devices. Similarly, you will need extra storage space to hold items waiting for repair, components, or awaiting collection.
However, R&D work requires more space for datasheets, books, and a computer for research work. You will also need more storage space to hold diverse parts and components.
An electronics workbench. Note the numerous storage shelves against the wall.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
High Frequency vs. Low Frequency
High-frequency circuits require more sophisticated and expensive tools like signal generators, oscilloscopes, and network analyzers.
But low-frequency circuits don't need sophisticated analyzers. You can even make the required oscilloscopes and signal generators yourself for this type of work.
The Electronics Lab
If you have enough space and resources, it is better to have a dedicated electronics room or lab. Most importantly, it should have bright lighting for your electronics work.
In conclusion, you need the perfect electronics workbench if you are to perfect your work. This workstation requires the correct setup, tools, and a dedicated room (if available) in your home or office. We hope this article will help you set up your workbench the right way. If you have any questions, contact us for further clarification.