Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chapter 3 - Shopping List

We're up to Chapter 3! If you've looked over pages 95 to 104, you're likely overwhelmed at the stuff you need to gather. Don't be - the author does a good job of telling you what he feels are "Essential" versus "Recommended" versus "Optional" - pay attention to that and buy what you can, but some of this stuff is obviously very specialized and I'll likely wait until I need it before I purchase. Most of the stuff on page 99 I don't yet have... some of it can be pricey depending on where you look, but I have such an assortment of tools (including a Dremel) that I'll hold off on these until I discover it's a must have item.

That said, I did already own quite a few things here, so I apologize that I cannot give you a true cost for Chapter 3. Instead, below I'll tell you what I bought (including part numbers), where I bought it, and what I paid... Chapter 3 was another doozy of a bill, but I can already see a lot of this stuff getting used in later chapters and for future projects.

So, I'll start out by saying I already own a 30watt soldering iron, soldering iron stand, and a helping hand. I've had these for a while and cannot remember what I paid for them, but I got the helping hand at ACK for, I think, around $10.00. No memory of cost of iron and stand. I have lots of solder and wire already (page 100).

Okay, here's the list - I had 3 different sources - Mouser (M), Radio Shack Store (RS) and the online RadioShack.com (RSO) - source is listed after the name:

Clip-on meter test leads - RS - $3.49 Part 270-334

Solder pump (bulb) - RS - $4.99 - Part 640-2086

Desoldering wick/braid - RS - $3.99 - Part 640-2090

Heat Shrink Tubing - RS - $3.99 - Part 278-1610

Copper Alligator clips (pack of 10) - RS - $2.99 - Part 270-373

Perforated Board (small) - RS - $1.99 - Part 276-150

Perforated Board (medium) - RS - $1.99 - Part 276-148 (276-147 in book)

Perforated Board (large) - RSO - $x.xx - Part 276-170 (discontinued item)

Project Box - RS - $3.79 - Part 270-1805


Binding Posts (4 in pack) - RS - $3.99 - Part 274-661

Panel-mount jack - size N - RS - $3.29 - Part 274-1583

DC Power plug - size N - RS - $3.29 - Part 274-1573

Boardmount Socket - M - $2.04 - Part 517-929974-01-36-RK

50 Pin Socket - M - $7.87 - Part 801-93-050-10-001000

DPDT pushbutton ON-(ON) - M - $5.85 - Part 633-MB206101-RO

Magnetic Switches - not obtained yet

5mm Red LED (2 per bag) - 2.5 volt - RSO - $1.49 (x3) - Part 276-041

5mm Green LED (2/bag) - 2.5 volt - RSO - $1.49 (x3) - Part 276-022

Signal Diode 1N4001 (2/bag) - RS - $0.99 (x3) - Part 276-1101

100ohm Loudspeaker - M - $3.90 - Part 25SP008


  1. The cheapest and BEST thing you can buy when you are first begining to solder is...the solder! You want a 'eutectic' blend solder.

    Look for something that reads: 63/37
    instead of the more common: 60/40

    And if you can afford it get a $20-30 ~25w soldering pencil. Trying to solder with that monster you have in pic #1 is going to suck. If you have no choice, place it on a lamp dimmer so you can lower the heat. And remember the longer you leave it on the hotter that unregulated beastie is going to get!

  2. Thanks, Dave!

    I am planning on purchasing a lower wattage pencil... the book recommends this for a lower heat option and I am looking.

  3. I was able to order and get delivered the Perforated Board - Part 276-170 from RadioShack online this week. So it must not be discontinued.

  4. Thanks, Rick... when I place dmy original order, I got an email saying the order had been shipped minus 276-170 because it had been discontinued... guess someone changed their mind (or owns the book). Thanks for letting us know - which Experiment are you currently on?

  5. I am currently on Experiment 11. Working through it with my 11 year old son. We are really enjoying learning this together.

  6. Did you ultimately do anything with the clip-on meter leads from Radio Shack? I got tired of trying to hold the meter probes in place while adjusting something else, and thus threw a couple of the clip-on leads in my basket during my last trip to Radio Shack, imagining they'd be something that would slip over the current probes (guess I thought that's what the hole was for) when I wanted clip-on functionality.

    However, I opened the package to discover they're designed to have you permanently solder a wire to the clip-on leads. Not what I was expecting.

    I did a little browsing for what I was initially imagining (maybe a little slip-on socket with a clip on the end, that you could slip on when you wanted clip probes and remove when you wanted basic probes) and am coming up dry.

    I'm now leaning toward buying a second multimeter with swappable leads (my current one has hard-wired leads) and buying a separate pair that terminate in clips. Until then, I'll keep using my 'clip jumper cables onto the leads' method.

  7. Okay, duh, my stupid error. I bought 270-372 'Mini Hook Clips': http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062232

    ... instead of 270-334 'Mini Test Clip Adapters:

    So, disregard my above post.

  8. Glad you figured it out - yes, the ones I have just push down over the sharp leads... love them.

  9. BTW, finally picked up the RIGHT test clip adapters and they work as expected. I find myself switching back and forth between using and not using them, depending on the application, but when you need 'em, they can't be beat.

    Some notes on the miscellaneous tools mentioned in the Chapter 3 shopping list:

    * Mini hand drill: I forget where in the book this was suggested, but I bought a 'pin vise', which looks like a little screwdriver with a rotating butt and a chuck in the front. The chuck can hold tiny drill bits, from the size of a sewing pin up to about 1/8", and you can drill soft materials by applying hand pressure and rotating the shaft with your fingers. I bought the handle and a set of tiny bits at my local hobby shop. It made clean, precise holes in project box plastic and I'm happy to have added this to my toolkit.

    * Mini hand saw: I bought a handle and blade similar to the one recommended in the book at my local hobby shop, but was really underwhelmed with its performance when I used it to trim a perf board. Was way more work than it should have been to cut, and I wound up pushing so hard (or else it'd just skip over the top of the plastic) that the thin blade became bent in a Z-pattern and the corner of the board snapped off at an odd angle. I had MUCH better luck trimming perf board with a Craftsman Handi-Cut, which I had lying around in my shop. The Handi-Cut made clean, precise, effortless perf-board cuts; even my knucklehead son could achieve arrow-straight results:

    * Countersink & deburring tool: Looks like Platt bought his countersink handle/bit (1/8-3/8) set at McMaster.com and added on a deburring blade from McMaster, but at $56 before shipping ($53 for the countersink set and $3 for the deburring blade, I'll make do with an $8 general hand countersink (with a much larger bit, but I'll simply stop drilling when I get to the desired depth) and a $8 general deburrer from Amazon for now.

  10. Did you ever need to use the Boardmount Socket or 50 Pin Socket? I never saw it mentioned in the book (other than on the shopping list) or in any of your posts (other than this one). I'm not too familiar with the purpose of these sockets, so maybe it was implied to use it somewhere and I missed it?

    Your blog has been very helpful so far. Thanks!

  11. Did you ever need the boardmount socket or 50 pin socket? I don't see it mentioned here or in the book (other than on the shopping list), so I don't know if I should get it. I'm not too familiar with the purpose of these socket items, so maybe it was implied to use it somewhere?