Learning about electronics through YouTube

    There are so many videos on YouTube, where do I even start?

    While it is certainly an advantage to get formal training in electronics, and books are also a huge help (see my review page on electronics book), there are a lot of great videos that are very useful to learn about basic electronics and more advanced topics

    Some of my favourite YouTube channels involve the EEVblog, Great Scott, and Learn Electronics Repair... just to name a few.

    Now obviously, while getting some basic knowledge is certainly attainable through YouTube, it's it's also handy to see just what is involved in gearing yourself up to do this electronics hobby effectively. You certainly don't have to get everything at once, but seeing an established "electronics workshop" or "lab" can be helpful to not only know what to by, but why.. and perhaps what not to buy until you're ready.

    Setting up your "Electronics Lab" (Or Toolbox):

    There are a lot of opinions here. Do you buy a multimeter, any old soldering iron, a bread board, and a few components on the outset? Well... you could, but "it depends".

    Some will say, "Get your Electrostatic Dischage (ESD) under control with an ESD mat and wrist strap". Others will say, "Get an oscilloscope because it's the only way to diagnose AC and signal voltages". Others will talk about isolation transformers, variacs, differential probes, or AC current finders for safety... but that's not really important until you start working on repairing appliances that work on mains voltage, or fixing a light fitting.

    Frankly, if you already have basic hand tools like screwdrivers, pliers and wire cutters... I think the following will help:

    • a good ($60-100 Australian) multimeter (two if you can afford it),
    • a proper soldering station with adjustable temperature and replaceable tips,
    • some desoldering wick,
    • some very thin (think 0.5mm or less) leaded (not lead free) solder,
    • a few spools of wire,
    • something to help you hold your circuits or wire (sometimes called "helping hands"),
    • something to help you read really small text, and do visual inspections, magnifying glass, magnifying glasses/goggles, lamp with in-built magnifying lens, or even microscope.

    Gets you to a point where you can do basic testing, and simple repairs.

    For learning

    A few simple things will help you with actual prototyping:

    • A breadboard or two
    • A breadboard power adaptor

    Basic Electronics Setup For Somewhere (Maybe Close) to $330

    How to set up a decent electronics lab

    OK, you've got the gear, but what about an actual workspace?

    Now, there are a lot of reasons that you will need somewhere suitable (if not vaguely dedicated) to doing electronics.

    A workbench, with shelves above it for power supplies, test equipment, and storing partially completed repair jobs as you wait for part delivery (it's inevitable), drawers for storing tools and components.

    What else do you need?

    Good lighting. There's a lot of merit to having good lamps, a torch, and maybe a magnifying lamp if you can stretch the budget.

    Well, power outlets for all the gear (soldering iron, power supplies, test equipment) and lighting.

    Electrostatic Discharge (ESD mat, wrist strap), and perhaps most importantly...

    Good airflow. Soldering leaves fumes. You do not want to be doing this in a room with no airflow.

    Now obviously, buying a bench is perhaps out of the reach of many, but if you have the space, you can do this quite cheaply if you build it itself. See these videos:

    DIY small workbench build

    DIY Electronics Workstation Build


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