Bench check (please share your setup)

Voltage controlled soldering iron?
Yes, Hakko FX-888D

Low cost hot air pencil?
Nope, haven’t had the need yet

Do you have any reflow equipment
Nope, haven’t had the need yet

How many handheld DMMs? Which ones?
Brymen BM235 and Mastech MS8268
Best resolution DMM on your bench?
5.5 digits: Siglent SDM3055, Agilent 3478A, 2x Agilent U2741A
I’d love to have a 7.5 “eBay special” for experimentation, but 5.5 is more than I need 90% of the time

Do you have a 2 channel or higher oscilloscope that uses probes?
Yes, Rigol DS1054Z and Agilent U2702A
What is the rated bandwidth of your most-used scope?
100 MHz
Do you feel your scope covers your needs sufficiently?
Yes, also using a U2351A for DAQ

Power supply
Do you have a programmable bench power supply?
Yes, Rigol DP832 and Keithley 2281S-20-6

How many outputs does it have?
3 on Rigol and one on Keithley

I’ve become a big fan of BenchVue but the Agilent/Keysight gear is a bit too pricey for my budget. I’ve had really good luck buying and selling on eBay, although it certainly comes with high risk

I have one of those cheapie DC load devices from Amazon but have been trying to chase down a programmable instrument on eBay. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Ideally something supported by Keysight BenchVue :wink: 6060B looks good but way too expensive for my budget

I’m just starting to get equipment, so this discussion is great! I’ve got a Micronta DMM which has done very well for me over the years. I’ve also just acquired a 100Mhz TEK 2246 2-channel scope from eBay a few months ago – it seems to be working quite well.

I’m looking at getting an on-desk microscope tied directly or indirectly to a 27" monitor. I’ve also got an excellent laptop (MSI modded for gaming, lol) that I’ve set up with KiCAD and various other software tools. Anyone have recommendations for a microscope?

A zoom stereo microscope on a boom mount with a dedicated camera port (and camera included) can be purchased new from, for several hundred dollars, but build quality is not best. Maybe something like this
Nikon, Leica and Olympus are much better quality but come with a higher price. Ebay is an option.

Joe Schober

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i have that amscope, its great, solid had it about 5 years or so. i use it with this

but recently i’ve been using the

which is virtually lag free so i can solder in it easily as well as do hires captures, i don’t even need the mantis with that.

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I bought a PicoScope some years ago and it was the worst piece of crap I have ever laid my hands on! Awful user interface, the triggering possibilities were very limited, and the results were so noisy it was practically useless. I have experienced some other models, too, which were also dismal. So no love from me, and I’ve been put off Pico forever.

I recently made a standing desk for my office/lab using a Seville Classics rolling workbench for a base, and a custom built surface on top of that. (would include a photo, but don’t have high enough status to do that yet)

As I have a number of projects going concurrently, it is handy to put stuff in drawers I’m not working on to keep workspace uncluttered.

Soldering: Metcal – love it
Scopes: Scope – Agilent MSO7104B – decent – I’ve had two channels on it go out though.
Power supply: BK Precision 9130, tripple output, really like it but fans are a little loud. BK Precision 1687 – lots of power and quiet most of the time.

  • Soldering
    Weller WMxxx (German, not US). Wouldn’t have anything else, and the hot tweezers are indispensable.
  • Low cost hot air pencil?
    Yes, some random Chinese one off Amazon, but it works fine.
  • Do you have any reflow equipment
    Electric skillet
  • DMMs
  • How many handheld DMMs? Which ones?
    Random assortment, including Smart Tweezers®, which are very handy.
  • Best resolution DMM on your bench?
    5 digits. The BK is great, the Rigol so-so. Also a Fluke from ebay I don’t use much.
  • Scopes
    Tek DPO2024B 200MHz, also just ordered a 500MHz 2-channel USB scope from Analog Arts, mostly for its phase meter, which I have need of.
    Also the DPO’s predecessor, a TDS2024 that doesn’t see much use anymore, and a LabNation SmartScope USB job that never gets used, but maybe someday when I’m traveling.
  • Do you feel your scope covers your needs sufficiently?
  • Yes
  • Power supply
  • Numerous DC supplies, but none programmable. All linear, even the 100A one :slight_smile:
  • I also have a programmable AC supply, iTech IT7321, which is really useful and recommended. Way better than a Variac.
  • Signal Generators
    Rigol DG1022A - Not extraordinary, but better than anything else at its price.
  • Spectrum Analyzers
    A couple of Rigol DSA815s
  • Misc
  • Joulescope!
  • DC - 1MHz Current Probe - Got this off AliExpress for $175 or so some years ago, and it’s a must-have.
  • Substitution Boxes - frowned on by ‘serious’ engineers, but I love 'em.
  • Pomona MiniGrabber clip leads. Can never have too many, accept no substitutes.


Parts Storage


I detect a mad genius at work!! :crazy_face:

A few photos of my standing desk/workbench now that I have enough reputation to post photos :slight_smile:

Surface is just laminated 2x4’s:

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Not cleaned up :smile:

What is that gold annodized thing on your bench? Is it an ultrasonic welder?

@LukeBeno No, it is a DC motor with built in gearbox and encoder. It is used in a customer’s product for fluid dispensing – glue in electronics assembly is one application. I don’t have the full setup in my lab – just the pieces I need to do my work.

  • Soldering
    • Voltage controlled soldering iron?
      • Yes. Hako DASH (20 W), Hako FX-490 (battery powered)
    • Low cost hot air pencil?
      • No
    • Do you have any reflow equipment
      • No
  • DMMs
    • Fluke 74
    • Best resolution DMM on your bench?
      • N/A
  • Scopes
    • None.
    • What is the rated bandwidth of your most-used scope?
      • N/A
    • Do you feel your scope covers your needs sufficiently?
      • N/A
  • Power supply
    • Do you have a programmable bench power supply?
      • No. I have a little wall voltage regulator supply
    • How many outputs does it have?
      • N/A
  • Other Equipment
    • SparkFun Decade Resistor Box


  • Temperature controlled soldering iron:

    • Hakko 926, purchased ~1991-1992 while in college. It was a big investment at the time for a college student, but I really wanted a nice iron.
  • Hot air tool:

  • Vacuum desoldering pump:

    • Anesty ZD-915 desoldering station. Clean the tool frequently - it’s prone to jamming if you aren’t careful or get sloppy with the cleaning. If you do manage to clog it up, you can carefully heat the chamber entry stem with a hot-air tool and salvage it.
  • Reflow equipment:

    • A toaster oven picked up at the Salvation Army store for under $10, paired with a thermocouple and multimeter that I picked up from Harbor Freight Tools for $20.


  • Amscope stereo microscope 7X-90X with ring-light. The scope is essential for working with small parts and tiny solder joints.
  • Head-mounted swappable-lens magnifiers. Convenient for when I need only moderate magnification.
  • Seek Thermal Compact XR thermal imager – great for seeing things heating up

Manual pick-and-place

  • ezPick manual pick-and-place tool – really speeds up manual builds of prototypes, especially if I am doing multiple boards at once. It makes it easy to pick up and drop off SMD components from the tape to the board.


  • Handheld DMMs
    • An EEVBlog 121GW 4-4/5 digit DMM which I like for the high-voltage diode measurement, which is great for LED strings. A little noisy for low-current work and slow for continuity checks. The Bluetooth feature has been handy a few times.
    • Three RadioShack 4.5 digit DMMs. Before the 121GW, these were my “precision” units.
    • Five 11-function multimeters from HFT, one of which I usually use for the toaster oven. I gang these from time to time to take high-current measurements (like an LED illuminator that I was testing that needed 80A). Very basic, and perhaps of dubious quality. But given how cheap they were, I don’t mind strapping them semi-permanently onto a project as needed. Temperature function is a nice plus.
    • Handful of “free” meters from HFT. Because they are so cheap, I don’t hesitate giving them away when the need arises.
    • A no-frills SparkFun DMM that was included in a sponsored giveaway at Supercon. It’s my favorite for everyday use right now, as it’s lightweight, has a nice LCD, fast for continuity checks and runs forever on battery.
  • Best resolution DMM on your bench?
    • I had a Keithly rack-mount that was great – but it’s aged out and no longer stable. It was nice when it was working, especially because it had a kelvin measurement mode.


  • Rigol 1054Z 4 channel, with the “unlock” to get them to 100 MHz bandwidth. It’s ok for most of the routine things I need.
  • I used to have bigger “heavy chassis” equipment, but they were mostly getting in the way.

Power supply

Hand tools

  • Lots of random tools accumulated over decades, of course, but I want to give a few special shout-outs:
    • the iFixIt Pro toolkit – it’s one of those “changeable bits” tool kits, but with a nice collection of bits and a good carrying case. It feels nice.
    • Tin snips - great for cutting down PCBs.

hi @hedrickbt - how do you find the DSO Nano v3?

I am rebuilding my work bench at home using the very limited space left over! I have been hoping the CE AD2 deal comes back in ( Analog Discovery 2 (AD2) Bundle no longer available? ) but the downside there is the need for a PC for screen - for simplicity i am looking at a small portable scope to fill the void - so i can probe in-situ rather than moving back and forth between desks.

(If its possible, i will plan to have AD2 on my desk as well as i understand it’s more capable)

would be great to have a miniature logic analyze/DSO the size of the Nano… but i’ll take what i can get!

Another thing that really helps with lab organization are Sandusky Value Line 72" Welded Steel Storage Cabinet with 4 Shelves from Staples:

Very reasonably priced and plenty sturdy for electronics stuff. Also Staples delivers for free (or at least they used to).

I print labels for everything in the cabinet and make sure labels are facing out – makes it super easy to store and find lots of stuff. Got this idea from Bob Pease (can’t find the original article).

Here is what it looks like:


Thanks for sharing setups! Very interesting to see what tool ppl perfer! My home desk surves a dual purpose during Covid. Since I lecture Embedded Systems at an Oslo uni, I do streaming lectures from home (once or twice a week), so here’s my setup for a streaming day. I basically move ongoing projects off the desk, so this forces me to clean my desk often. I did a writeup on the streaming setup here.

Normally I’m consulting for customer projects and below is how my desk has been looking lately. Before the customer has a working machine I’ll usually make one of these prototypes containing all the electronics, actuators & sensors, bolted together with blue Makeblock beams. Most of my electronics gear is behind the prototype, but all the hand tools and cables I’ll need are on the back wall of the desk.

  • Soldering
    • Voltage controlled soldering iron?
      • Combined unit, a Yihua 853D that also has a hot air pencil. Not fancy, but the soldering iron is solid and I can also do basic reflow using the Hot Air pencil.
  • DMMs
    • Fluke 116
  • Scopes
    • Siglent SDS2104x
    • Jinhan JDS6052S (Handheld)
    • What is the rated bandwidth of your most-used scope?
      • 100Mhz
    • Do you feel your scope covers your needs sufficiently?
      • Currently, yes.
  • Power supply
    • Do you have a programmable bench power supply?
      • Welleman LABPS3005DN
    • How many outputs does it have?
      • 1, but I could totally use one more output
  • Other Equipment
    • ET5304 electronic load
    • Siglent SSA3021X Spectrum Analyzer
    • Eakins 37MP 1080p microscope

I also have an office at Oslo’s largest hackerspace where I have access to a host of great tools, but I currently primarily work from home due to restrictions. I’ll likely get a higher prcision desktop DMM soon, but the Fluke does the job well enough for now.


The inlayed monitor is a nice touch. Cool. I like the “quick draw” hot air clasp idea.


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everyone seems to have such neat benches, all lots of interesting stuff. mine looks like a bomb hit it and then a bunch of messy people looking for something they couldn’t find it passed through.

i did just start using the ikea cube type storage recently and that is helping, though there is basically no hope for me otherwise, switching from 2d working to 3d is basically all i have left.

my neighbours think we’re nuts.

Wow. I think that makeblock beam idea is what I’ve been searching for. Do you just buy them piece by piece, or could you recommend a starter kit?

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