Bench check (please share your setup)


Thanks @hedrickbt ! it’s been a good week.


I moved from Milwaukee to Las Vegas which gave me an opportunity to upgrade my bench space, so I figured I’d post an update. Original post was Aug 1 for comparison.

and my overflow gear

WES51 and a 1960’s (I think) version of the same thing. I’ve got one of those Radio Shack desoldering deals with the rubbler bulb on it somewhere…

Fluke 77, a variety of old Fluke/Tek bench meters and a bunch of those free harbor freight meters.

Tek MSO2024 and an old Tek 932 that got channel 1’s Volt/div knob broken in my move. Hoping I can find parts for it.

That Long-Wei 30v deal there on the bench, and an old version of the same thing (B&K I think) in my overflow stash. Also a bunch of home made and random supplies.

I have a $150 Dell laptop I got on Black Friday a year ago running Ubuntu. Slow and horrible, but works fine for Arduino stuff and basic internet research on the bench. My main computer is a Dell XPS something-er-other desktop. All of this connected to an ESXi server and running FreeNAS (soon to be Nutanix CE) on the backend for storage (block and file).

Hand tools
Cheap-o-delux set of screw drivers off all sizes/shapes.

Does an illuminated jewelers loupe count? $2 at American Science and Surplus. (Chris, you MUST go there now that you live in Chicago)

14 watt candelabra ceiling fan light kit. That is to say, no lighting. I use a camping headlamp at the moment. Working on something to mount under my parts drawers.

Dev Board
Arduinos everywhere and Raspberry Pi’s.

MISSING From my Bench ( I like this one so I’m keeping it in there):
3D printer
SMD capability.
I’m sure there is more, but I don’t have the skills to justify much else.

I think that’s it. Just wanted to share my update.




  • Voltage controlled soldering iron?
    Yes. Huakko 937. (yes, a crappy clone)

  • Low cost hot air pencil?
    No. I have used a paint stripping heat gun though!

  • Do you have any reflow equipment
    Not yet. On the list of things to make. I have an old front loading kiln that will become a reflow oven once I get the thermocouple for it and a PID controller made on an Arduino.


  • How many handheld DMMs? Which ones?
    2 total, Fluke8060A and Victo VC890C+
  • Best resolution DMM on your bench?
    5.5 digits


  • Do you have a 2 channel or higher oscilloscope that uses probes?
  • What is the rated bandwidth of your most-used scope?
    25 MHz but my new-to-me 2225 is going to get more use.
  • Do you feel your scope covers your needs sufficiently?

Power supply

  • Do you have a programmable bench power supply?
    No. But I do have an adjustable bench supply: GW3020
  • How many outputs does it have?
    3 - 2 adjustable and one 5v

Logic Analyser

  • Saleae 24M 8ch cheap clone I got in a Hackerbox. On my list of things to replace with the genuine article.

Function Generator

  • Simple project based on an AD9850 module but just does sine and square waves.

Photo to follow…



  • Hakko FX-951
  • Sparkfun Hot Air station that was given to me


  • 2x Fluke 87V
  • Some Extechs laying around


  • Rigol DS1074Z Unlocked with high quality probes and 2 high voltage probes.
  • Analog Discovery 2


  • 2x Saleae Logic Pro x16 so I can monitor a number of things at once.
  • Bus Pirate
  • Bus Blaster
  • Chip Whisperer
  • Jtagulator

Power Supply

  • Rigol DP832 Unlocked
  • BK Precision 1550
  • Numerous boards/batteries/etc


  • EETools Topmax II Universal Programmer
  • Atmel ICE
  • PICkit 3
  • Segger Jlink
  • Xilinix
  • Altera/Intel FPGAs
  • Renesas
  • STLink
  • Lattice programming cable
  • Silego GreenPak programmer

Other test equipment

  • Heathkit vacuum tube tester
  • Atlas DCA Pro transistor tester


  • Ultimaker 2+ and others in storage


  • 3.5x dental loupes
  • Optivisor with additional loupe going up to ~6x
  • Inspection Microscope on an arm.


On my bench I have a Rigol 1102E dual channel scope and a Rigol DMM 3058E 5.5 digits.

I also have a Rigol wave function generator and a Rigol bench programmable power supply… Currently on my wish list is a Rigol DSA 800 series spectrum analyser.

Ok, yes I know. I have the hots for Rigol LOL I like the aesthetic appeal of all the gear matching.

I have a hot air pencil and soldering station. No reflow capabilities.

Arduinos & Pis everywhere. I’d like a 3D printer but I haven’t got the space for it.


Did that thing ever show up?


No, I haven’t checked in a while, but I just looked and it still shows up in my orders, they never actually admit that it’s on backorder, they just keep pushing the estimated delivery date every day:


  • Soldering
  •     Yes. Aoyue 2901 and Hakko 888D
  • Low cost hot air pencil?
  •     Yes. Sparkfun 303D
  • Do you have any reflow equipment
  •     I have a toaster oven and a DMM with thermocouple.  Works well.
  • DMMs
  • How many handheld DMMs? Which ones?
  •     Fluke 87 V
  •     Sparkfun VC830L (the ones that got seized)
  •     Waiting for an eevblog 121GW
  • Best resolution DMM on your bench?
  •     5.5 digits - Siglent SDM3055
  • Scopes
  • Do you have a 2 channel or higher oscilloscope that uses probes?
  •     Yes, Rigol DS1054Z (upgraded)
  • What is the rated bandwidth of your most-used scope?
  •     100 MHz
  • Do you feel your scope covers your needs sufficiently?
  •     No - really want something that could go to 500MHz
  • Power supply
  •     Do you have a programmable bench power supply?
  •         Yes, cheap Tekpower TP3005P
  • How many outputs does it have?
  •     Just one


A few upgrades for the bench.

  • JBC DDE dual workpiece station with the electric pump desoldering module.
  • JBC JTSE hot air station with thermocouple temperature control. Some of the boards I encounter can make a battleship nod in appreciation.
  • Amscope gets the job done
  • Hakko fume extractor. I’d prefer a big unit with hoses but it would be too much of a pain to pack up.
  • Board securing devices
  • Kimwipes
  • ESD gloves mostly because I work with leaded solders and some aggressive fluxes and the finger tips are coated. It’s far more comfortable than wearing nitrile gloves for hours. I have a heavier duty set for working over a preheater
  • Dispenser bottles for 99.9% IPA and flux cleaner.
  • Pickett N-515-T Electronics slide rule just because.
  • Knipex electronic ‘super knips’

I moved my DM3068 bench multimeter to set between the two units, and ordered a dedicated Rigol waveform generator as the one built into the scope is a bit wimpy on the voltage output, and a Rigol programable load for testing batteries. Main power supply is a Rigol DP832 as well.

I have zero desire to work on consumer electronics outside of preserving old computers. What I have the training and qualifications for is in the high reliability realms. Using the same equipment I have at work lets me keep in practice.

EDIT: Add that off to the left off camera is a DP832 power supply, DL3021 programable load, DG1022 waveform generator and a mess carefully kept off camera with all of the leads and text fixtures for batteries and such. Off to the side there’s a spot welder for battery packs. The hot air station gets used for heat shrink tubing too.