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Author Topic: Essential Components  (Read 14185 times)
KJ6MSG
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Posts: 59




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« on: August 01, 2012, 10:23:55 PM »

What, in your estimation, are the essential components for a home brew electronics component toolbox? I'm talking transistors, diodes, ICs, and other assorted items. Standard value resistors and capacitors are assumed.
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KJ6MSG
@kj6msg
KA4POL
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« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2012, 10:50:48 PM »

This is a very difficult question to answer. You'll see from many of the answers to come.
My experience after over 40 years of homebrewing: The part you need to get your project going is either not in the box or defective. You might call this Murphy's Law of Homebrewing.
When I started I bought what I required and added some spares. This is how I built up my supply.
It is always good to have some of the standard values of resistors, capacitors (electrolytic and non polarized), some NPN and PNP transistors for low frequency use. Special items for RF you'll have to see what you are going to build. Inductors also don't make much sense as well as Xtals.
By any means it is great to see someone getting into homebrewing. Welcome!
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KJ6MSG
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« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2012, 11:19:18 PM »

I know exactly what you're talking about! I have found when I'm messing with circuits that I never seem to have one critical component. It drives me nuts. I have a decent kit going already, but I'm curious to see what other people suggest or have found in their experience.
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KJ6MSG
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G3RZP
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« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2012, 12:30:38 AM »

Some general purpose RF transistors such as the 2N5179 and 2N5109, although they are getting old. Assuming here you aren't into surface mount of course. Some 2N3055s and 2N3053s - again, old but still around, and maybe the PNP equivalents. 2N3904 and the PNP equivalent, and some FETS. The J310 or equivalent is a good RF FET.

Variable capacitors - the APC style are useful. Small inductors in the 1 to 100 microhenry range they are often available in kits  for reasonable prices. Plugs and sockets of various ways including PL259, SO239 and BNC, fuseholders, toggle switches and indicator lights. Control knobs, shaft couplers, brass rod, some metal and plastic boxes and some scraps of metal for making brackets and the like. A BIG selection of screws - 2-56, 4-40, 6-32 and fewer 8-32 in various lengths, and the nuts. It can be cheaper in the long run to get a biggish order together and go to a fastener supplier rather than pick up a few at Home Depot. Don't get unplated steel: brass if you are rich, but round high power circuits, you frequently do need brass. I find that 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch length are the most used, but you want some longer ones. You can always cut them down. Threaded pillars - plastic and metal, there can be places for both.

Relays, too are useful.....

I could go on......
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KA4POL
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« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2012, 01:09:02 AM »

To narrow it down a bit, it would be interesting to see your homebrewing plans. Are you considering RF or audio or what? One thing I forgot are ICs. Digital or linear ones according to your plans. I meanwhile even have some PIC chips sitting here waiting for programming.
Some of my active components are collectors items now and could sell for 100 times the original cost if there is need.
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KB1WSY
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« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2012, 04:09:39 AM »

Standard value resistors and capacitors are assumed.

Standard value "kits" are often unavailable at the bigger online stores, I found that I had to go to smaller places. Also they tend to give you, for instance, five of each but certain values (for instance 1000 pF capacitors) are used much more so I get extra quantities of those.

I do tube projects (so far, mainly restoration) and since you're doing solid state, you will need to adjust this list:

Capacitors: Ceramic, mica, electrolytic, polyester. Mica and air trimmers. Variables.

Inductors: Coil forms or homebrewed equivalents (pill boxes, PVC pipe....). RF chokes. Power chokes.

Semiconductors: Power rectifier diodes.

Hardware assortments:

--Standard washers.
--Lock washers.
--Rubber grommets.
--Screws and nuts; the sizes cited by G3RZP are good but add "control mounting nuts" (3/8-32 x 1/2").
--Standoffs (or plastic spacers, or threaded pillars, they have various names), metal and plastic.

Also:

--Solder and de-soldering flux in various thicknesses.
--Hookup wire, various colors.
--Magnet wire, various colors with heat-strippable insulation.
--PL259, SO239, BNC and IEC (A/C) connectors.
--Alligator clips.
--If, like me, you hate soldering coax connectors, get a selection of cables with connectors already installed.
--A/C cables and strain relief washers.
--Knobs.
--Metal and plastic boxes.

I agree that it doesn't matter how much you have, you will always find that some gizmo is missing. Perhaps there is a specialist electronics components store in your part of California. They are becoming quite rare, and if you find one, they are well worth your custom (even if only for that "last minute" missing component) even if by necessity the stock will be limited. Radio Shack has become almost useless.

When I started I bought what I required and added some spares. This is how I built up my supply.

That is really good advice.

Have fun! Congratulations on getting your Amateur Extra last month!!

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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TANAKASAN
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« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2012, 04:41:18 AM »

5% Resistors, 10 of each value from 1 ohm to 1M ohm

Capacitors, 10 of each value from 1 pF to 0.1uF plus a handful of electrolytic devices

20 x 1N4007 diodes, 20 x 2N3904, 20 x 2N3906, 5 x 7812 Regulator

LEDs, handful of colors and sizes

Selection of Op Amps plus some LM386 audio amplifiers

Selection of type 2 and type 6 mix toroid cores for your RF inductors

Selection of switches

Matrix board and PCB material, solder

Hookup wire and wire for inductors


Tanakasan

« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 04:42:56 AM by TANAKASAN » Logged
KE3WD
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« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2012, 05:30:10 PM »

What, in your estimation, are the essential components for a home brew electronics component toolbox? I'm talking transistors, diodes, ICs, and other assorted items. Standard value resistors and capacitors are assumed.

Don't try to buy 'em ahead of time. 

Buy 'em "as needed" to do repairs or homebrews, when they are inexpensive, order just a few extras, put 'em in your plastic drawers. 

The good Junk Box is built over time like this. 

Of course, keep your eyes open for SK sales, hamfests, computer fests. etc. where you might purchase someone else's stockpile on the cheap...

73
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KJ6MSG
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« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2012, 09:25:30 PM »

I'm looking at general homebrew and experimentation. Some days I like to mess with oscillators and RF, some days it's microcontrollers and such. I'm just polling the crowd for what you generally think of as must haves. I have a decent kit going already, some of it made up from components from my EE kit from back in college (I hold a BSEE, but I'm not an EE by profession), some I've acquired myself.

Transistors - 2N2222A, 2N3904, 2N3906, 2N3819, MPF102, TIP31A, TIP32A, ZVN2110A
Diodes - 1N270, 1N4004, 1N4148, 1N5231B
ICs - 741, 311, 335A, 386, 555, SA602, a mess of CMOS 4000 series (Logic, PLL, etc)
uControllers - PIC12, PIC16, PIC18, PIC24, PIC32 series (only 1 PIC24 and 1 PIC32)

So I've built up a collection, just from messing around, but I'm lacking some key components (LM324, etc).

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KJ6MSG
@kj6msg
K8AXW
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« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2012, 09:37:01 PM »

I've been homebrewing for over 50 years.  Other than ordinary hand tools needed to work on electronics, a small soldering iron and a roll of small diameter rosin core solder I never had anything else.

When I wanted to build something, I made a BOM (Bill Of Materials) or Parts List as it was once called, ordered them and then built the item.

With the advent of the solid state devices, I normally order two of each one.  Just in case I let the smoke out of one.

Junk boxes or spare parts will come with time and one day you'll wake up drownding in parts and junk!

Save yourself a lot of grief and forget building an inventory.  When it comes to a project, you'll never have what you need anyhow.
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KA5IPF
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« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2012, 10:20:15 PM »

I've been homebrewing for over 50 years.  Other than ordinary hand tools needed to work on electronics, a small soldering iron and a roll of small diameter rosin core solder I never had anything else.

When I wanted to build something, I made a BOM (Bill Of Materials) or Parts List as it was once called, ordered them and then built the item.

With the advent of the solid state devices, I normally order two of each one.  Just in case I let the smoke out of one.

Junk boxes or spare parts will come with time and one day you'll wake up drownding in parts and junk!

Save yourself a lot of grief and forget building an inventory.  When it comes to a project, you'll never have what you need anyhow.

Amen, I have thousands of resistors, capacitors, and inductors and sometimes seem to never have exactly what I need. Being in the repair business this drives me nuts. Especially with the surface mount stuff. Thru hole you could almost always use a 1/4w resistor in place of a 1/8. Surface mount you not only have the characteristics to deal with but the physical size.

My suggestion is like others, buy what you need for a project and go on to the next project. Murphy says "No matter what you need what you have will be either the right value but wrong size or right size but wrong value.

My rant has more to do with repair than home-brew but more and more home-brew projects involve custom circuit boards and surface mount components so maybe it's not too far off base.

Clif
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KD0REQ
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Posts: 848




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« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2012, 11:14:34 AM »

do get a block of unobtanium, to roll those hard to find parts from, and some lengths of stock hole, so you can set a piece against a chassis and not have drilling dust.  only hold it by the center, though, that stuff is wily Wink don't set it on edge.

seriously, in the old days when Radio Shack had parts, I hit the multi-value packages hard.  nowadays, I have had to do that again, only through fleebay's "US shipper quality HK supplier" type entries.  I have restocked a sparse RF section of the parts bins with some feedthroughs from former Soviet republics and some kits from Dan's Small Parts.

whenever I need a cap or a resistor not on hand, I order 5 or 10 invariably from Mouser or Digi-Key.

Newark is the place for those obsolete 50s and 60s connectors.  you just have to figure out who bought the tooling from the original company.  you'd be surprised what's still in stock.
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K0IZ
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« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2012, 06:37:18 PM »

Go to eBay, do a search on "diodes", "resistors", electrolytics", "disk capacitors", etc.  You will find a number of China sources for these parts (usually called "kits").  For example, I recently purchased 1000 (20 ea of 50 values) of 25V disk caps for total of $6, including shipping.  Earlier purchases of resistors, etc.  All parts I have received are high quality, standard, nicely packaged in individual little bags by value.  Buy these kits and you will a good start (at minimal cost) on most of the common parts used in all low-voltage projects.  Most shipping from China or Hong Kong take about 2 1/2 or 3 weeks.
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AF6WL
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« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2012, 07:20:41 PM »

Go to eBay, do a search on "diodes", "resistors", electrolytics", "disk capacitors", etc.  You will find a number of China sources for these parts (usually called "kits"). 

Not sure that that's a risk I would take just to save a few $.
Counterfeit / liberated parts that do not live up to their marked specs e.g. working voltage are a serious industry wide problem and despite the best vetting even find their way into military equipment.

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G3RZP
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« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2012, 10:15:47 PM »

AF6WL,

Especially older analogue ICs. I know of a company in South Africa who some time back bought a load of 'mil spec' Plessey SL521. The SL521 hadn't been made since 1996....these came with a 2000 date code, and when opened, were out of spec 741s in the correct 8 lead TO5 type can!

Funnily enough, the vendor in Hong Kong had disappeared...
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