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This tutorial will give a breakdown of the Deluxe Tool Kit. You will learn about what comes in this nifty kit and a brief description of how to use it!
Well for starters you will need the Tool Kit - Deluxe, but after that you are set! (Well okay, you also need an outlet to plug the soldering iron in to but we’re leaving that one up to you.) Let's take a look at what you should have in front of you.
Unit includes 110V base station, iron, iron holder, and brass sponge. We can't say enough good things about this iron - set the iron temp to 350C and forget it. It's the iron that we recommend to our friends who've been bitten by the electronics bug. It's just a workhorse! The unit takes around 20 seconds to heat up. The red LED on the front will be constantly on while the iron is heating up. Then the LED will start to pulse slowly (on for around three seconds, off for around three seconds, repeat). This LED indicates that the iron has reached and is maintaining a constant temperature (also called a control loop or feedback loop).
Tip tinner is a good thing to have in your arsenal of soldering supplies. Composed of a mild acid, it helps remove baked on residue (for when you melt your desk top) and helps prevent oxidation (the nasty black stuff) that accumulates on your soldering tip when not in use. Comes in a sealed 20 gram disk. This tinner is Lead Free.
This is for all those starving students that need to buy their first good, low-cost multimeter. This meter has really impressive overall feel for being so low-cost. We've played with a lot of cheap-o DMMs and found that this unit's function selector has a great, solid, clicking feel to it. This unit has good continuity (rare for low-cost units), and decent probes. We even left a meter on to test the battery life - it lasted more than 170 hours (7 days) before the included 9V gave out!
When working with small parts, sometimes you need magnification and some extra light. This is a monocle we use regularly in our production facility. It has a 10x lens with a working distance of about 1-1/2". The 1" diameter eye piece fits snugly around your eye with a 15" aluminum-core headband. The LED provides sufficient light at the working distance.
Solder wick is a composed of copper threads braided together. Flux is normally added to help the solder flow from where it is not supposed to be (the jumper) to the wick. Hence, solder wick is sometimes called desolder braid.
5" hemostats with a straight tip. We use them to hold wire wrap wire in place when we're 'green wire' fixing a board. A must have for any PCB fixing project.
These are nice, solid curved tweezers. They have a very fine tip which allows you to pick up very small parts with precision. This is a great tool to have if you're working with surface mount components or anything with very small parts. The ESD-safe coating will also help prevent electro-static damage to sensitive electronic components. The best part? They're bright red and have the SparkFun logo printed right on them!
It's like an Xacto knife, only better. We use these extensively when working with PCBs. These small knives work well for cutting traces, scraping ground pours, and guiding hair-like wires into their proper place. Excel knife comes with aluminum handle, one ultra-sharp blade, and safety cap.
This is a water soluble liquid flux pen. A flux pen is a must have when performing any kind of solder rework. The flux is the substance that prevents beading of the solder and helps the solder flow cleanly onto the parts you are soldering. However, flux is mildly corrosive over long lengths of time (months). The water soluble flux will cleanly wipe away after wetting the soldered surface.
These are good quality 6" wire strippers with 6 gauge settings. We really wanted to stock these because they strip 30AWG wire wrap wire nicely as well as the standard 22AWG hook up wire.
Mini Diagonal Cutters. These are great little cutters! A must have for clipping leads and extra solder tails. 4" long.
This is just your basic reversible screwdriver - pocket sized! Both flat and phillips heads available. Comes with pin clip and snazzy SparkFun logo.
Mini Pliers. These are great little pliers! A must have for any hobbyist or electrical engineer. Crucial for inserting devices into bread boards and bending pins. 4" long
This is your basic spool of leaded solder with a 63/37 water soluble resin core. 0.031" gauge and 100 grams. This is a good spool for more advanced users that should last 6-12 months depending on how often you solder.
Standard 22 AWG solid Black hook up wire. Use this with your bread board or any project in which you need sturdy wire. Comes in small spools of 25'.
Standard 22 AWG solid Red hook up wire. Use this with your bread board or any project in which you need sturdy wire. Comes in small spools of 25'.
30 AWG wire for wire wrapping. Comes in Red, Black, and Yellow! Very important to color code projects. Or else at 2am: "Which ones are the power bus?" 100' wire comes on spool.
Plug it in and crank it to 11! Okay, okay, hold on there. If you don’t know what you are doing, check out our soldering 101 tutorial.
This is a halide free, solid paste which provides quick and safe re-tinning and cleaning of oxidized tips. An oxidized tip will have lots of black residue. Just wipe the oxidized tip at normal soldering temperatures into the tip tinner for a few seconds until the bright tinning surrounds the working end of the tip. It is fast acting, environmentally acceptable, and residue free!
Use this to check resistances, voltages, current and more! Not sure how? Now problem! Check out Nate’s tutorial over here!
Use this just like you would a magnifying glass. Use the small switch to turn on the LED and shed some light on the situation! Strap it to your head for +5 mad scientist points.
You’ve made a giant solder blob and don’t know what to do, right? That's where the solder wick comes in! Put some flux on the wick and use it, along with your soldering iron, to 'soak up' excess solder. You can also use solder wick to solder SMD components! Check out this tutorial for some tips and tricks!
This one is pretty much like a pliers, except you can lock the jaws down! This SMD tutorial will give you an idea of how to use them. The possibilities are endless though!
These are tweezers. You know how to use them, right? Grab yourself some tiny components with these bad boys!
“Lookout! He has a knife!!” Just kidding. This is a knife though. So be careful. Cut some traces with these or cut other things that need to be cut. Very useful for cutting things.
By pressing down on the tip, you open a valve that floods the tip with flux solution. Use this on all of your solder joints to get a nice, clean looking finish! Can’t get a nice looking solder joint? Use the flux, Luke.
Wire strippers allow you to quickly and easily strip the insulation off of a wire. They are especially useful when stripping stranded wire. They will remove the insulation without tearing or cutting any of the wires inside, provided that you use the right gauge. Look at your wire and match it to the correct size on the tool.
Use these guys to cut, trim, snip, clip, chop, shear, or preform any other cutting related verb. They can also be used to grip, grab and pry connectors or other various cables. For an example of this, check out this LiPo Batterty Care tutorial.
A nice and compact screw driver for your arsenal, the tip pulls out and reverses! That’s right! Flat head AND Phillips head. Go ahead, take some screws out of something.
This one likely needs little explaining. They are small and very handy! With these pliers…well…you could grab just about anything!
You can’t breathe without air and you can’t solder without solder. If you have never soldered before, please check out our soldering tutorial!
It’s wire. It’s black. Great for breadboards! You can use the wire strippers to cut and strip any length of jumper wire you need.
Same as before, except this one is red.
Wire wrap was first used to build prototype circuits. In this day and age, however, it is much less common. Here at Sparkfun fun, we use this stuff for 'green wire' fixes. Not sure what that is? Check out this tutorial.
Here are links to other tool related SparkFun Tutorials.
So there you have it, the Deluxe Tool Kit! Can’t find the answer to your question? Well lucky you. There is a seemingly infinite amount of knowledge out there. Try a Google search, venture onto a forum, or contact customer service! Good luck and happy hacking!