So far, I have about $700 into what you see in that picture. I also have about $150 into a small portable lab that I have to do stuff at work. This does not include the cost of the computer. For my portable lab, I would love to add a new convertible laptop similar to the Intel Haswell Reference design, but up until now, it seems that the computer manufacturers are still coming out with their poor concepts instead of something with the advances that Intel showed off. I will wait.
As to the competition, I would love to enter, though it seems that it was indicated that Bloggers for EETimes would not be allowed to enter. I am not sure that I would have many good stories for electronics, but I do have some good mechanical ones. Like tearing into the stock carburetors that were at my grandpas auto repair shop when I was about 6, and then not knowing how to put them back together again. Modifying an airplane so that it replaced a piston engine with a turbine engine, and then clipping 12' off the 35' wingspan. Then rebuilding it after a bug clogged the fuel system and it made an off airport landing.
Would sticking tweezers in a light socket when I was about 3 or 4 count? I was curious and it ended in the teardown of the socket afterwards. I mean, why make tweezers look so much like a plug anyways?!?
No, I have not actually looked at that as a viable option for me, though it may very well be a good option for others. There are two reasons it was not a good fit for my plans. The first is that the "local" maker group is about 45 minutes away. Considering I usually have only about 2-3 hours a day after work that I am home and awake, this would not be practical as I would spend most of my free time traveling. The other advantage of it being in the house is that I get to be with my wife and son as I am working on things. This is an undervalued bonus that many do not consider.
The other reason is that because I tend to be slower than I like with my projects, it would take quite some time for me to build a project, and get use of such a lease. Once I look at the money that would have spent for that lease, I could have then bought the tools for my own workshop. At that point in time, I would rather purchase the tools.
This is just what works for me. I think, though, for a group that has little experience working with certain types of tooling, and short timelines, that such a lease might be good for them as it would provide both mentorship and tooling access as well as potential quick time to market with their device.
What was the total price tag to outfit your lab? And please note that we are currently running Frankensteins Fix, a competition inviting engineers to write about things they have "brought back from the dead" either by repair or redesign and giving away a $3500 Tek scope! Consider entering, think what an awesome addition that would be to your lab!! (And Im betting your wife would really approve!)
Also good thoughts about mixed signal scopes. I guess that would hold true unless the scope connected to an external monitor/computer for displays. You would still be held back by the potential lack of features in the software.
Dang you got me again! I need to post another blog, "The Tools I Already Had from Building Full Scale Airplanes/Model Submarines/Working on Cars". I might need to work on the title though.
I had a Harbor Freight cheapie, but then I put together a tool set to be able to do some playing during lunchtime here at work. Max, perhaps we can pull that one over from MCC. For that kit, I purchased a Meterman PM55. I really like it. It is small, but has a lot of features. You can actually see it there in the upper middle portion of the picture sitting on the electronics workstation. It is red and black.
As you wrote correctly, analysing tools are essential (Besides quality basic tools like soldering iron, pliers and a well lit workplace).
But first I would suggest to buy a digital multi meter (DMM), if you can afford one that also measures capacitance (helps a lot to repair old stuff). It's always the first thing at hand, check power supplies, check current consumption, check diodes/transistors if they are still ok etc.
For the logic analyser (LA) I don't recomend the mixed signal options build into scopes. Often the software lacks standard features going a little beyond the basics and mainly because you really like to have a big screen to analyse 16+ signals.
I use Harbour Freight stuff as a test/filter. If I'm not sure how much I'll use something, or which item in a set I'll use, then I find them ideal.
For example, I bought a set of 20+ router bits from them for something like $20. I wore one of them out, and went out and bought a Freid version of that one bit for $17. But I wouldn't have known at the time which one(s) I would end up using.
Likewise, I bought a couple of woodworking tools. They weren't great quality, but several of them I never used, and one I deteremined had to be the highest quality I could afford. Again, let me get hands on before I pay a lot of money.
Now, soldering irons, and fine-tip tools: Buy the best you can afford.
Blog Doing Math in FPGAs Tom Burke 15 comments For a recent project, I explored doing "real" (that is, non-integer) math on a Spartan 3 FPGA. FPGAs, by their nature, do integer math. That is, there's no floating-point ...