Here’s my latest & greatest list of the Must Have Tools for DIY Electronic Projects. Most of the tools in this list I personally use for my projects and I feel comfortable in recommending. They are cheap, but work really well.
I’ll plan to update this list soon with the other tools I have in my bench.
Must Have Tools for DIY Electronic Projects
Multimeter: $ 5.99 (here)
A $6 multimeter will get you long ways. Measurement of voltage, current and resistance is a must have in any hardware startup lab. This meter does not give precise measurement of any of those signals, but for a typical project you’ll be just fine. Do not spend more on a meter.
You can find these cheap meters on eBay, Amazon and your local Harbor Freight. If you live in the US and don’t know what Harbor Freight is, it’s work your time to find out about them. They have some dirt cheap tools there (most wrenches…). However do not expect their tools to last forever…
Splurge: got myself TWO meters!
I got two of them, so that I could use one as a voltmeter and the other as a current meter. There are just some cases that may be useful to measure both at the same time.
Soldering Iron: $3.99 (here)
Go cheap. I used this for the longest time. If you do some serious soldering they may go bad after about soldering ~500 components. That should you last quite sometime…
Where to get it? Again eBay, Amazon, or your local RadioShack, Harbor Freight or Microcenter.
Cadsoft Eagle: Schematic Entry software. This is the “standard” tool for hobbyists and its free version is pretty powerful. If you’re in doubt which circuit board schematic tool to use, go with Eagle!