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Old 3rd May 2021, 4:07 pm   #41
merlinmaxwell
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Default Re: How much should one invest in tools to get in the hobby/occasional business?

I see only one mention of a soldering iron, I missed that on my post too. Get a half decent temperature controlled one, 50 should do.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 5:59 pm   #42
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Default Re: How much should one invest in tools to get in the hobby/occasional business?

The OP mentioned that in post #1. But then he mentioned multimeters in the same sentence, but we all discussed those

Good basic hand tools are something I was taking as read, but it's definitely worth upgrading to nice ones if/when budget permits. The cheaper ones I had as a kid are still with me in various DIY or car/bike tool kits, and it's nice to still have those for those jobs where you might risk damaging the expensive ones. I won't suggest brands as that could be as contentious as discussing your favourite multimeter brand or asking about Weller vs Metcal, but there's plenty of choice.

Using pliers to undo nuts is a terrible habit of mine - I'm quite good at it after years of having no alternative as a child, but obviously there is always a risk of damaging or marking something. These days I try to use nut spinners whenever I can, but old habits die hard. But this gets back to my earlier points about workshop space. Trying to store your tools in an organised way that enables fast and easy access to those sorts of tools is really important. If your tools are hard to reach, you're more likely to use the wrong one - such as the pliers. This is quite tricky to achieve, and I'm still working on it! There's a lot more to building a workshop than the gear you fill it with.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 6:00 pm   #43
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Default Re: How much should one invest in tools to get in the hobby/occasional business?

May I suggest that the solder you use is as important as the soldering iron. If you intend to restore vintage radios, make sure you don't use leadfree solder, it simply won't mix with the lead-based solder that they will use.

I've tried leadfree solder on new projects, but couldn't get on with it (I'm sure it's fine on modern production lines), but it's not for me.

best regards ... Stef
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Old 3rd May 2021, 6:51 pm   #44
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Default Re: How much should one invest in tools to get in the hobby/occasional business?

Re post 40 - Graham, this sounds excellent practical wisdom - good to realise with a bit of knowledge very little is needed - I am wondering, would you need the service sheets? Or does practical experience and general knowledge tell you about what readings to expect? And are there common sense guides somewhere to achieve this, or does it take long experience?
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Old 3rd May 2021, 11:23 pm   #45
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Default Re: How much should one invest in tools to get in the hobby/occasional business?

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Originally Posted by ottavio View Post
an occasional part-time business (such as buying dead radios, repair and sell)?
I've not read through all the posts in this thread that thoroughly, so it may already have been mentioned, but you need to be a bit careful if doing repairs for, and selling to, the public. As a one time business owner I know all the pitfalls and I can tell you that you'll need public liability insurance and also insurance for goods not belonging to you that are in your care. Also you'll need goods vehicle insurance for your car if you're transporting goods for hire or reward. Then there's all the income tax liabilities. I ran a small business for a few years back in the late 70s early 80s and had all that in place including a business name registered at companies house. It only needs one mistake on your part that causes an 'incident' or an unhappy customer and you're ruined. Luckily I never had any real problems, but it's always a risk - and an even bigger risk if you're not qualified with recognised certification.

On the other hand, many on here do repairs as favours, only charging mainly for parts and just take the risk that nothing goes wrong, and it's a very low risk, but one that's worth being aware of. Also remembering that you can never modify a vintage electrical item to be compliant with modern regulations and safety standards.
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Old 4th May 2021, 8:08 am   #46
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Default Re: How much should one invest in tools to get in the hobby/occasional business?

Thanks for posting that warning.

Can we get back to the subject of tools and test gear please.
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Old 4th May 2021, 8:12 am   #47
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Default Re: How much should one invest in tools to get in the hobby/occasional business?

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenstar View Post
Re post 40 - Graham, this sounds excellent practical wisdom - good to realise with a bit of knowledge very little is needed - I am wondering, would you need the service sheets? Or does practical experience and general knowledge tell you about what readings to expect? And are there common sense guides somewhere to achieve this, or does it take long experience?
Yes I use service sheets and wouldn't dream of starting work on radio without one assuming it's available for the set in question. I have the VRSD DVD, but if repairing just a few sets the instant download facility will work out cheaper.

I am also a frequent visitor the the Valve Museum website, the best source of valve data I know:-

http://www.r-type.org/
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Old 4th May 2021, 8:56 am   #48
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Default Re: How much should one invest in tools to get in the hobby/occasional business?

Don't forget that you need to repair wood and bakelite sometime so it's not just electrical tools that you need. Apart from the obvious, I find a fret saw really useful for cutting 3mm perspex into any shape without chipping it.

The Maplin analogue multimeter discussed in earlier threads is still available direct from china under the brand Proskit. I've got one and use it all the time. You can do a lot with a multimeter and some thinking. Less is more sometimes, but if you want to go a step further, a signal injector/tracer (fault finding) and a signal generator (alignment) would be next in line imo. I'm waiting for a signal generator myself to come up on eBay or FB marketplace within collecting distance.
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Old 4th May 2021, 2:24 pm   #49
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Default Re: How much should one invest in tools to get in the hobby/occasional business?

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Thanks for posting that warning.

Can we get back to the subject of tools and test gear please.
Several off topic posts deleted. Please stay on topic.
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Old 4th May 2021, 10:53 pm   #50
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Arrow Re: How much should one invest in tools to get in the hobby/occasional business?

I've quickly read through all the posts prior to this one and I didn't see what follows below - so I'll mention it now.

In my opinion, two essential tools for a general electronic repair workshop are an isolation transformer with a 1:1 ratio and a Variac - inter-connected in that order, not Variac then isolation transformer - with suitably rated fuses: one for the incoming mains to the transformer and one on the Variac output. Some form of illuminating indicator on the output of the transformer is also worth adding - such as a 240-v. red neon. As a 'luxury item', a 250 v.a.c. FSD moving coil meter on the Variac's O/P is a worthwhile added 'extra' too.

Al. / May 4th.
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Old 5th May 2021, 1:06 am   #51
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Default Re: How much should one invest in tools to get in the hobby/occasional business?

Just re-reading the OP's first post, my comment would be - don't buy anything until you know exactly what it is you are going to do.

Tools/equipment needed for a business, whether part time or not, should be much better quality and fit for purpose over and above what a hobbyist needs.
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Old 5th May 2021, 9:25 pm   #52
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Default Re: How much should one invest in tools to get in the hobby/occasional business?

Hello,

one item that I find very versatile is the master switch for the mains: By the time you'll have a lot of meters, generators, PSUs and more. So it has become a wise habit to turn on the master switch upon entry of my room and off when I leave. Even the workbench lighting is fed via the master switch, so I am sure I will never leave the room with everything "on". This contributes to sleep well at night!

Regards, Joe
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Old 12th May 2021, 11:40 pm   #53
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Default Re: How much should one invest in tools to get in the hobby/occasional business?

Old style(AKA valve) radios. I'd suggest a bit of technical education, then some diagrams (with preferable voltages on). I learnt many years ago (at the old school we old GPO/PO(T)) blokes called Stone that to check a stage you need to verify that the cathode voltage) tells you a lot. DC OK- then it's possibly either low gain (excess NFB, caused by capacitance in the NFB circuit or another source (cathode decoupler gone ?).
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Old 13th May 2021, 3:24 am   #54
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Default Re: How much should one invest in tools to get in the hobby/occasional business?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_Lorenz View Post
Hello,

one item that I find very versatile is the master switch for the mains: By the time you'll have a lot of meters, generators, PSUs and more. So it has become a wise habit to turn on the master switch upon entry of my room and off when I leave. Even the workbench lighting is fed via the master switch, so I am sure I will never leave the room with everything "on". This contributes to sleep well at night!

Regards, Joe
I'm sure that I once saw a question on the Radio Amateurs Examination that asked about safety, and clearly wanted that answer.

B
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