newbie repair equipment advice!

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Hi everyone.

Sorry If I am asking dumb questions, I am trying to get a leg up on
(new to me) technology in the repair field.  My background is computer
programming but Tesla has been my hero since I was young if that helps
any! Currently I am reading through some books to learn this technology
area but I do not have enough knowledge yet to know what type of test
equipment I will need.  So I am asking you for advice.

I am hoping to learn and start repairing things like computer monitors
and work up to repairing motherboards, flat-screen monitors (LDC /
plasma and related technology), overhead projectors and maybe even
digital camcorders. -Am I being overly ambitious?

With my target being learning to repair the above types of devices,
what kind of test equipment would I need to invest in?

Please offer your advice on equipment I may be missing in my list and
also which signal generator and oscilloscope would be the best fit. Old
technology would be fine. Reliable devices I could learn to repair
myself would be ideal. I suppose parts being available for these
devices would be important as well.

Digital multimeeter and a few VOMs (do I need special probes?)
Perhaps a signal generator
Oscilloscope (which probes?)  (what kind of bandwidth and sampling
would be needed?)
Soldering station

I am thinking of watching ebay and building my test bench as
inexpensively as I can preferably with reliable older equipment I can
repair or calibrate myself and learn at the same time. - Again, I am so
new to the trade as to not know if what I am saying is achievable or if
I am saying something that would make the seasoned technician laugh!

Re: newbie repair equipment advice!
While I love the repair industry, it's getting hard to make a
living when units are so cheap, & poor quality! No question
is can you learn otherwise? Check these sites below,
& keep looking here, as there are a number of very knowledgeable
guys here, who can help you along the way. Google info like how
to fix T.V., etc, etc. Google is your friend. I must lie's 3 am
here. Enjoy. Sky. / / /

For a beginner........

 Digital multimeter and a few VOMs (do I need special probes?).....No!
Perhaps a signal generator...a sound source like a radio/cd unit with line
Oscilloscope probes....basic ones that come with it are fine. No need to buy
expensive ones.
(what kind of bandwidth and sampling would be needed?) As much as you can
afford 20 mhz Minimum.
Soldering station...have a pencil, & chisel tip.
A lot of older test equip (like almost everything made), is good quality, &
really lasts.

Hope this helps you start off. Very carefull around first, watch, &
learn from someone...if you can...then touch. Work on something, that if you
break's ok.
Take care, & be safe, Sky.

Re: newbie repair equipment advice!
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To start with, get a multimeter, something with a diode check function
is very handy for testing semiconductors, I love the one on my Fluke 29
as it gives a momentary beep for a good junction and solid beep for
shorted as well as displaying the voltage drop but I'm sure others with
a similar feature are available. A Hakko 936 is about the best deal
there is for a soldering station but if you're just starting out a Radio
Shack 40W iron is perfectly usable, I'd recommend their desoldering iron
to go with it, the one with the rubber bulb on it. That should be enough
to get going, the rest is practice, research and more practice. There's
no shortage of broken junk to repair, an unlimited supply of it lurks on
craigslist and elsewhere. Don't expect to make a lot of money doing
this, but I've found I can make some decent change on the side fixing
free equipment and selling it.

Re: newbie repair equipment advice!

 ( writes:
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Read the faq, at More than a faq, it's like
multiple books on the repair of electronic equipment.  If that's not enough,
then you start buying books on the topic.


Re: newbie repair equipment advice!

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Or visit your local library... it is just sitting
there... waiting for you and it cost $ 0.00.

Re: newbie repair equipment advice!

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I'd say you are more misguided than overly abitious.  It is very difficult
to make a buck repairing commodity items these days.  Mostly, they are not
designed for repair but for small size and low cost.  They use printed
circuit boards with surface mount components ... the desoldering/resoldering
process requires special equipment and special skills.  It also requires
schematics and parts that are difficult or impossible to get.

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You are perhaps a potential hobbyist?  Again, this is not the right time to
get into the electronic repair business for generating any significant
income.  Your equipment list should include an adjustable dc power supply,
if your aim is hobbyist.

Re: newbie repair equipment advice!
Hi wonknose,

beware that you may be on the wrong track if you think that getting
decent equipment is enough to make you a successful repairman. While it
definitely helps, a good understanding of general electronics and common
failure modes will help you much more, even if you don't have
sophisticated stuff.
I have been learning electronics since 18 years, and started when I was
only a child. Of course I had no money at all and had to rely on
improvised equipment. A pair of pliers was a treasure. I got my first
old oscilloscope when I was 18. Till then I had fixed a couple of
devices, ruined many and built a few, most of which didn't work. I
copied lots of circuits from books, designed and etched PCBs and drilled
the holes for the components by hand with a small 1mm-screwdriver - that
for improvised equipment.
Now I've got a fairly good lab with decent equipment. However, when I
attempt to repair a device, I have to rely on my soldering skills,
experience, instinct and ability to read circuits or at least to guess
important circuit functionality from the PCB layout. No equipment can
give you that. It's what you learn by doing. And there are lots of
tricks to know - read Sam's repair FAQ.
I am not always successful with my repairs, but I don't do this for
money anyway. You have to know when to stop before it drives you mad.
Some things can't be repaired. And I always have to study and improve my
knowledge of electronics, i.e. common circuits and ways they fail.
The most important thing I've learnt: 75% of all electrical trouble is
due to contact problems. A DVM and contact cleaner and sometimes
resoldering is all that's required. And your eyeballing experience, of
My advice: Start with simple, inexpensive measuring equipment. Rather
invest more in tools, if you want. Don't start with TVs, monitors and
tesla transformers. Respect HV. Get broken cassette recorders, radios,
stereos, household appliances, switchmode power supplies and try to fix
them. Get as many different component types as you can, learn their
shapes and the ways they work. Buy cheap assembly kits and put them
together. Try to understand how they work. This will really push your
learning. Read as much as you can. Learn the concepts to understand the
questions and answers in newsgroups like this. Honor Sam's repair FAQ
like the Holy Bible!
If something won't work, keep it on the shelf for another year. Get a
decent stock of components and try to find the equipment that you feel
comfortable with. Practice is everything!

Last but not least: Always use an isolation transformer when working on
AC powered equipment! See for example .

Best wishes, Leo wrote:
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Re: newbie repair equipment advice!
I'd recommend getting to know some local ham radio operators and visit
hamfests and computer sidewalk sales.  Plenty of old junk for sale, along
with lots of advice for free.  Great for parts.  Also plenty of electronics
hobby books, manuals, and textbooks for low prices.

When it comes to multimeters, I'd recommend getting one brand-new if at all
possible.  Digital multimeters can be damaged any number of ways without
being immediately obvious, and if you're just getting started, it's best to
use equipment that you can believe what it's telling you.  Someone selling
an old one at a sidewalk sale (or on eBay, for that matter) may or may not
have forgotten that one of the settings got blown out long ago.

A very handy piece of equipment is a solderless breadboard.  There are
different kinds, but I recommend one that looks like a small console.  It
comes with dual-polarity power supply, and even a function generator.  (A
solderless breadboard is a device that lets you plug in components like a
jigsaw puzzle and push in wires to connect them together, without having to
solder anything.  Great for experimenting.)

Also check your local library.  Look in the 621 section for
electronics-related books.

Everybody's got broken electronic gizmos just lying around.  They probably
can't bear to just throw them away, but if you ask around, they may be
willing to let you look at it, or just flat-out have it.

I don't see this mentioned often, but it's a good idea: keep a notebook.
Write down things that you've worked on, circuits you've put together and
tried out, and ideas you want to try.  You'll be amazed how handy that
notebook will be in the future.

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