A casual series in which I build up a low-cost electronics/hardware hacking lab at home (AKA I buy cheap gear and tell you if it’s awful).
Thanks to QUT, I have access to a fully-outfitted electronics lab (for now — but my peers and I very much look forward to the repercussions of the savage defunding recently promised by the government).
That said, I live an hour from campus, so it’s not super quick or convenient for me to duck into the lab. Further, the hellplot that is 2020 has highlighted how suddenly we can be locked out of public places.
So I’ve decided to build up my home lab a bit, to ensure I can always do stupid things on the spur of the moment. However, given my existing access to top shelf equipment, I’m loath to drop a bunch of cash on high-end stuff at home, if I can avoid it.
This leads us to my plans for a low-end home lab. I am going full Pareto here and assuming that with 20% of the dollars I can get 80% of the functionality, and for everything else (specifically, the RF stuff I will be working on), there’s a quick blat up the highway on my motorbike.
Stuff I want
This is an evolving list.
- Benchtop power supply (SEE 1: ATX breakout adapter)
- Some sort of signal generator
- Dedicated logic analyzer
- < Insert list items related to FPGAs >
- < Insert list items related to PLCs >
- Whatever else is freaking cool.
Stuff I have
I’m not starting from scratch. Over the years I have collected bits and pieces for uni assignments and other nonsense.
- Oscilloscope (RIGOL DS1052-E — 2 channels, currently a 50Mhz scope but with a bit of fun it seems like it can be 100MHz, 1GSa/s sampling.)
- Multimeters (Digitech QM1323 + a cheapie)
- Soldering iron (DURATECH TS-1564) and associated miscellanea (solder, station, desolder wick, etcetera)
- A bunch of components
- BUSSide (JTAG, UART, SPI, I2C)
- Serial-USB interface
- A few RPis, an old Arduino, STM32, BeagleBone Black, who knows what else.
- < Insert list items I remember in the future >
Whenever I acquire a new bit of el cheapo kit, I will let you know how it performs! Simples.
Feel free to recommend anything cool you see, new or used.