Tools I use

Once in a while I've been asked which tools I use for my hobby (both ham radio and model railroad). 

On this page I will list tools I find use.. 

Weller WECP-20 soldering station

When I graduated in 1996 for my Bachelor in Computer Technologies. I got this station as a graduation present from my parents and still use it today. The only thing I replaced are the soldering tips and the sponge. 


Velleman VTSS230 SMD hot air and soldering station

When the SMD part where getting to serious in the hobby I bought this Velleman VTSS230 SMD hot air and soldering station to help me out. Initialy I just wanted a hot air station but for just a few euro extra it would have the soldering iron. 

The hot air part is good enough for my repairs and part removing, it takes a little more time to head up and doesn't have wide adustable airflow like the more expansive stations. But I really love the soldering iron for SMD and most of the time when I switch on my Weller, I also switch on the soldering iron part of this station. The only down side : the soldering iron holder, the soldering iron tents to tip out of it when you wiggle the wire. 

For the image, see the picture above. 

Velleman Magnifying lamp (3 dioptre)

My eyes didn't get better over the years and I often work with small parts. So years I ago I bought this Velleman magnifying lamp with a 3 dioptre lens in it. It give me that little extra magnification what I need next to my reading glasses.


Bench top measuring equipment 

Owning a almost 30 year old TRUE-RMS multimeter and a dedicated handheld LRC meter, most of the time I use these bench top measuring devices.

It's a old Dynatek DFC1000 1Ghz multifunctional counter, a UNIT-T UT801 2000 Counts DVM and my latest adition (a gift from a old school friend) a HP 33120A function/arbitraty waveform generator up to 15Mhz. Good enought for what I do.


Power supplies  

I have a few power supplies, but the main one's are a fixed for 13.8V 6Amp and a variable RND lab supply with the range of 0..30V / 0..5Amp. Allowing me to power al my DIY hamradio equipment and supply voltage to my experiments. 


Rigol DS1054Z oscilloscoop  

When my previous oscilloscope died of old age, I bought this 4 channel 50Mhz Rigol DS1054Z oscilloscope. You have to get used to working with digital oscilloscopes but once you master that, you start to like it more and more. Especially the functions like I2C, SPI, Serial, time recorder, screenshots, etc. I started to appreciate in the years. 


1985 Olympus 10x/20x microscope

I often work with SMD parts and as stated, my eyes didn't get better over the years. So mid 2020 I bought this used Olympus 10x/20x microscope for that. Been using it for a week or so, I don't know why I didn't bought a decent microscope years ago.


To prevent the base plate from damaging during soldering I used a Self-Healing Cutting Mat cut to size of the base plate (self-healing doesn't work when you cut through it),  and put orange dot in the exact view center. Also I drilled holes so I could use the original specimen holders. 


I bought it without light sources, just one eye piece, no hole caps etc. So I 3D designed them in Tinkercad and 3D printed them. The designs are opensource and can be found on the specific Thingiverse project page.  

More information about this 1985 microscope can be read in this brochure

The most important tools of all

Screwdrivers various sizes and models.  The red screwdrivers are more then 28 years old and used on a daily basis. Showing that investing in good tools pays off. 


And a OM needs pliers. The wire stripper with the red handles I bought myself at Tandy (European Radio Shack) when I 12 years old (now I'm 48).


A OM never can have enough pliers. The Knipex pliers are more then 24 years old and still work like a charm. The Wiedmuller cable stripper was used by my dad for years in the factory until they got a new model. And of-course one needs crimping tools is various models. I also have a complete set for coaxial cables with interchangeable yaws (6 of them).  


Also I use a lot of Dental/Surgical supplies and instruments when working with SMD parts and other small stuff. One of the things I use a lot are the micro drill holders to clean soldering from holes (not using the drill side, but the clamp side). 


Of course this is not all, but like said, a OM never can have to many tools. 

Note : it took me almost 30 years to collect them all. 

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