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Test bench ideas

  1. Feb 27, 2013 #1
    Hi everyone,

    I'm looking into building a test bench in my garage, as currently my parts are strewn about my kitchen table and computer desk. I'm mainly going to be working with my Arduino and doing computer building/electrical repairs, maybe some PCB etching once I learn how.

    So far I'm looking into an ATX power supply mod to give me +&- 12, +&-5V rails for my projects, some voltage/current gauges, an AC power strip, a large breadboard, and parts bins. I have a Fluke multimeter and scopemeter as well, but I'd like to invest in a full oscilloscope and signal generator at some point down the road.

    As I'm not an expert hobbyist, I thought I should ask those with more experience for some insight into a good first garage test bench setup and any recommendations you might have.

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2013 #2


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  4. Feb 27, 2013 #3
    I'd done a few searches for test benches, but I don't think I saw that thread. That should give me plenty of ideas, thanks!
  5. Feb 27, 2013 #4


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    I don't know if we mention it in that thread, but if you are going to be soldering, it's a good idea to get yourself a solder fume fan/filter extractor unit:



    BTW, if you do get into even small PCB etching projects, be sure to check out your local ordinances for hazardous waste disposal. PCB etching chemicals and waste products tend to be nasty...
  6. Feb 27, 2013 #5
    Thanks berkeman, I hadn't even considered the solder fan...I really do need one of those.

    As far as the etching, I've never tried it before but thought that it looked interesting. If it's really that hazardous, I may just keep buying regular boards and soldering wires.

  7. Feb 27, 2013 #6


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    There are also some pretty inexpensive PCB fab houses for small hobby runs. There have been some threads on that here in the EE forum as well. I'll see if I can find one...
  8. Feb 27, 2013 #7


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    I wasn't able to find the threads that I wanted, but I was able to find lots of links to inexpensive PCB fabrication services by doing a google search on Low Cost PCB Fabrication. You could try the same search to see the hit list.

    This is one of the companies that we have talked about here on the PF before:


  9. Feb 27, 2013 #8
    Thanks Berkeman, I appreciate the help.
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