Testing surface-mount components with standard test leads is anything but easy. Everyone has their own method: some people tackle it with teamwork and have a friend (or grad student) hold the probes, some people have adapted a sort of chopsticks-like technique, but the best way by far is probably just to buy these handy tweezer probes! Tweezer probes connect to your existing instrumentation with shrouded banana connectors and allow you to easily test small parts with one hand. The large plastic tweezers are easy to grip and are marked for polarity.
If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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If you do any surface mounting this tool is a must. I plan to mention it in another article I'm writing for Nuts and Volts July issue regarding building of "FIREWORKS" earrings. The earrings use 805s & 603s surface mount components. When the tweezers are connected to the "diode" mode of a DVM they will fire up the led and tell you where the cathode is. When connected to the "ohm" mode they will tell the resistance of a resistor. When used with a capacitance meter you can sort capacitors. Great for on the board checking also.
You get what you pay for. These are very cheaply made and arrived with a bad internal connection. Flimsy plastic. If you want a quality tool, keep looking.
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These make it very easy to measure voltage with only one hand. They're kind of cheaply made, but a great deal for $5. I'd love to buy a $10 or $15 version with quality to match.
They are big - bigger than needed for surface mount parts. That leads to more C or L to null out when measuring low value parts. But they work. The tips are soft. You must short them together to calibrate an inductor reading - but if you use too much force the tips bend. A sturdier material, but with a high conductivity, wear resistant coating would be a better design.
I use these for checking caps on PC boards. They work as expected. Yeah Sparkfun!