BIVBlog #43: Basic Electronics Tools and Techniques for Microcontrollers

Part of the fun of playing around with microcontrollers is the actual building of electronic gadgets. The good news is it takes less skills, tools and money to actually get things done than what you need for a full-blown general purpose electronics lab.

Yes, soldering and multimeters do play a role. But it doesn’t have to be the fancy stuff, and soldering usually stays well within what you can easily learn. And what other tools you need is well affordable and easy to come to grips with, too. In the end it is mostly about knowing how to make the most of that limited set of tools and techniques to get things done.

Table of Contents

00:00:15 Scope, and references to general electronics ressources
00:01:30 Start small, buy as you need
00:02:00 Buy cheap, buy twice, buy smart
00:03:00 Workplace safety
00:04:30 TUI: Tinkering under the influence—just don’t
00:05:20 General purpose tinkering tools commonly used
00:06:35 Hot snot guns in electronics
00:07:55 Computers, and overcurrent protection on USB interfaces
00:10:05 Computer screens
00:11:40 Multimeters
00:15:30 Power supply options
00:15:40    Bench power supplies
00:16:30    (Ab-)using USB as a 5V source
00:18:10    Linear regulators
00:19:25    Switching regulator modules
00:21:58 Breadboards, and how to make most of them
00:23:40    Crimping your own 100mil connectors
00:26:05    …and kludges to do without
00:27:10 Insulator Displacement Connectors (IDC) and ribbon cable
00:29:40 Building adapters
00:30:50    (Questionable) alternatives to soldered IDC<->breadboard adapters
00:33:40 Building (and buying) modules
00:37:25 Soldering, and how to get started
00:40:10 Stripboard, perfboard (with an “F”!), and triboard
00:42:20 Custom designed PCBs, and why/how not to etch them yourselves
00:43:25 Documentation
00:44:15    Sticky labels
00:44:55    Masking tape and permanent marker pens
00:45:45    Label printers (don’t bother!)


EEVblog #168 – How To Set Up An Electronics Lab (Dave Jones)
DC-DC converter construction techniques (Mike Harrison/Mikeselectricstuff)
EEVblog #596 – World’s Cheapest Soldering Station – Yihua 936 (Dave Jones)


Long term IPv6 evangelist/book author/trainer/consultant and generic Unix guy (*BSD, Linux, Solaris, and about a dozen more).

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