Electronics Bench

From Idea Shop Wiki


File:Arduino Uno.jpg
An Arduino Uno

Microcontrollers are basic prototyping boards you can use to make simple electronics. It's one of the best ways you can get started with electronics and coding. Basically, microcontrollers can be programmed to interact with other electronics components that connect to the microcontroller via the microcrontroller's input and output "pins". Here are some of the types of microcontrollers that are available to students at the Idea Shop.


One of the Idea Shop's Oscilloscopes

An oscilloscope is a laboratory instrument commonly used to display and analyze the waveform of electronic signals. In effect, the device draws a graph of the instantaneous signal voltage as a function of time. Oscilloscopes display the change of an electrical signal over time, with voltage and time as the Y- and X-axes, respectively, on a calibrated scale. The waveform can then be analyzed for properties such as amplitude, frequency, rise time, time interval, distortion, and others. Modern digital instruments may calculate and display these properties directly. To learn more, click here.


Soldering Irons

A Weller Soldering Iron

If you'd like to learn how to solder, check out the beginners guide here: https://www.makerspaces.com/how-to-solder/. This section will focus on information about the soldering irons we have.

Here is a soldering tutorial for beginners.

Our electronics benches are equipped with Weller WES51 soldering stations connected to Weller soldering irons. Our soldering station has a variable temperature, the number on the dial is 1/10th of the actual temperature of the iron in Fahrenheit. For example, when soldering through hole components you'll want to set the dial to 70 which represents 700 degrees Fahrenheit.

Make sure you always put down butcher paper before you start soldering, solder can easily ruin our nice wooden tables

Desoldering Tool

Hakko FM-2024 Desoldering Tool

Our desoldering tool is a Hakko FM-2024. The purpose of this tool, as you can imagine, is to remove solder.

You'll use the end of the tool to heat up the joint, and pull the trigger when the solder is liquefied to suck it into the gun. This deposits the solder into the insulated orange canister you'll see at the top of the gun.

This chamber can easily be replaced when full, and can be checked by simply pulling the yellow guard back towards the gun. The guard will click into place, and you can remove the orange canister. When you replace the canister into the gun, simply hit the yellow button on the top of the gun to release the spring.

You'll need to adjust the temperature of the Desoldering Tool as you would the soldering iron, since the goal of the tool is to liquefy the solder.

Here is a tutorial video for beginners.

Step Up & Down Transformer

A 110V-220V Step Up/Down Transformer

A transformer is a set of 2 magnetically-linked inductive coils with different numbers of "turns" of wire in each. When Alternating Current is passed through one coil at a certain voltage, a different voltage will appear across the other coil. The ratio of the voltages will the the opposite of the ratio of the numbers of turns. Depending on which coil is the input and which is the output, the output voltage will be greater than or less than the input voltage, hence, Step Up and Step Down.

  • Here is a tutorial video on how to use a standard Step Up/Down Transformer.
  • Click here to learn more about transformers in general.


Nikon Eclipse Microscope

Want to look at tiny things? Want to reexamine your animal cells or plant cells? Or just look at normal sized things through a very thick lens? Well look no further, we have the Nikon Eclipse Microscope!

It's rather lonely and gathering dust. Come on down to the Assembly Space to give it some attention!

A great instrument for BME and Materials Majors!

Here is an Instructional Video

SMD Rework Station

The SMD Rework station is a tool we use to solder and desolder Surface Mount Devices. SMD's are components that are soldered directly to tabs on circuit boards, rather than having leads that go through the circuit board. These components often take up less space on the circuit board, with the trade-off that they are rather tricky to solder.

The SMD Rework station applies heat to solder joints by blowing hot air onto them. This allows you to hit multiple joints at the same time, and makes it much easier to work with SMD components.

Machine Proficiency

In order for an individual to advance in machine proficiency they must demonstrate ability to perform certain actions or tasks. All levels include abilities and concepts from lower levels.

This section is primarily for student workers.

Level 0

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Reading voltage and current with a multimeter
  • Setting up a lab power supply to a specific voltage
  • General electrical safety
  • Identify basic electronic equipment
  • Identify electronics equipment
  • Through-hole soldering

Individual understands the concepts:

  • The relationship between Voltage, Current, and Resistance
  • Parallel and Series Circuits*The concepts of DC power
  • The basics of AC power and the differences between the two types of power
  • Circuit analysis of a circuit with resistors and a Voltage or Current power supply

Level 1

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Setting up the waveform generator
  • Creating a wave on the waveform generator based on given specifications
  • Using the Oscilloscope to get the equation of a wave
  • Splicing wires using the soldering iron
  • De-soldering through-hole components without destroying them
  • Completing basic Arduino Circuitry: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WBJcONsipZW8AqFeg47Jnr9jpsoVE378khvsaSx-Pe4/edit?usp=sharing (this doc can help you with later levels)
  • Understand all functions of our multimeters
  • Use a transistor to control something

Individual understands the concepts:

  • How to use Solder Flux and Solder Wick
  • How the quality of solder relates to temperature of the soldering iron
  • Lead free versus lead solder differences
  • Concepts of voltage isolation, when to use optocouplers
  • Teaching someone who has never soldered before how to solder
  • Proper lipo usage, charging and disposal

Level 2

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Using analog inputs and outputs on an Arduino Uno
  • Using an Arduino Uno to drive a device with PWM inputs
  • Using an Arduino Uno to drive a device with I2C input
  • Using Arduino shields with an Arduino Uno
  • Sending Serial Input to control an Arduino Uno
  • Multiplex digital / analog devices
  • Use of dynamixel servos with Arduino based boards

Individual understands the concepts:

  • Three-Phase Power
  • Using a transformer
  • Circuit analysis using a capacitor and Inductor using AC and DC power sources

Level 3

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Multiplexing I2C input with an Arduino Uno
  • Controlling an Arduino Uno with RF or a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection
  • Using the Trigger function on the oscilloscope
  • Get the frequency response of a circuit using the oscilloscope
  • Soldering and De-Soldering SMD components
  • Create a circuit to interface with dynamixel servos

Individual understands the concepts:

  • How to send Serial input to an Arduino Uno using Python/Java
  • How to explain to Ipro's that bluetooth is usually a lot more trouble than it's worth.
  • PCB Design
  • Troubleshooting a given, non-functioning circuit
  • Use a logic level analyzer
  • Use Spice for circuit analysis