Intermediate Tool Kit Landing Page


Overview

This tutorial will give a breakdown of the Intermediate Tool Kit. You will learn about what comes in this nifty kit and a brief description of how to use it!

Requirements

Well for one, you will need the Tool Kit - Intermediate but after that you are set! (Well okay, you also need an outlet to plug the soldering iron into but we’re leaving that one up to you.) Let's take a look at what you should have in front of you.

What it is

This is a very simple fixed temp, quick heating, 30W 110/120 VAC soldering iron. We really enjoy using the more expensive irons, but if you really need a cheap iron for your tool box, this lovely iron is a good choice. This is a low-cost iron and it works!

This is a simple soldering iron stand composed of a heavy-duty metal base and a reinforced spring holder. The base and holder are detachable. A circular cleaning sponge, which has a nice home at the bottom of the base, is included.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Mini Diagonal Cutters. These are great little cutters! A must have for clipping leads and extra solder tails. 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.

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

How to Use it

Plug it in and let it rip! Okay, okay, hold on there. If you don’t know what you are doing, check out our soldering 101 tutorial.

Unintentional fires are bad. You wouldn't want to have to hold your soldering iron every second that it is plugged in. You certainly wouldn't want to hold your iron while it cools down. No problem! Use the stand to hold your iron! Use the included sponge to clean your iron's tip. Simply wet the sponge and wipe your iron on it!

 

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!

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.

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.

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 this to check resistances, voltages, current and more! Not sure how? Now problem! Check out Nate’s tutorial over here!

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.

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!

 

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!

 

Resources

Here are links to other tool related SparkFun Tutorials.

 

Conclusion

So there you have it, the Intermediate 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!

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