Cool Tools: DealExtreme Edition

Dealextreme is home to a few good buys on electronics prototyping supplies.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Thrum scissors

DX Thrum Scissors

These miniature thrum scissors are handy for opening ESD bags, trimming the ends off of SMD component reels, and cutting kapton tape, among other things. I keep several pairs at work and at home and use them all the time. They are much more precise than standard scissors and good for all sorts of light duty applications. (You can also buy these from here: Blue Handle Stitching Yarn Thrum Scissor Tool 3 Pcs)

ESD Tweezers

Lodestar tweezers

These Lodestar L601110 ESD tweezers are perfect for all sorts of electronics prototyping and repair work. I find them very useful for surface mount assembly and rework, but I also use them for precision gluing, discharging SMD caps, shorting traces on PCBs, and also sorts of other off-label uses. They are cheap enough that when I bend or otherwise damage one set, I’ll throw them away and buy another. If I only owned one pair of tweezers, it would be these.

Configurable Storage Boxes

Storage boxes

These configurable storage boxes seem to be slightly lower quality than the ones offered by Adafruit but are a tad bit cheaper and a nice add-on item if you’re already placing an order at DX.

45-in-1 Multi-tip Screwdriver Set


Multi tip screwdriver set

This 45-in-1 multi bit screwdriver set is  decent for the price and generally useful for disassembling a wide range of consumer electronics devices.

Update 1/2/2015:

Chris Jones (@chrisgj198) pointed out a few items I missed!



Cool Tools: Design Easy SMD Component Kits


Inspired by Kevin Kelly’s book Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities, I have set out to document tools that I find particularly interesting or useful, primarily in my work as an electronics hobbyist and professional electrical engineer. This is the first post in that series.

Design Easy SMD Component Books

Design Easy SMD Kit

These SMD component books are super handy for all sorts of electronics prototyping, construction, and repair projects. I bought a full set of these books for my lab bench at the office some time ago and and have found them invaluable. I liked them so much that I bought a second set for home!

R0402 kit detail

I prefer these component books over other types of SMD kits such as trays, bins, drawers, or bags because they don’t take up much space on the shelf and they keep components nicely organized in order by value.  Components are easy to access and hard to mix up.

There are many other vendors on eBay and aliexpress that sell component books just like these, but I like Design Easy because they have reasonable prices and carry resistor and capacitor assortments from size 1206 all the way down to 0201. You can save on shipping by ordering a complete set at once.

Here’s a snippet from their eBay store:

0402 practical book: ( resistor 63value 3300pcs )+( capacitor 17value 950pcs )
0603 practical book: ( resistor 63value 3025pcs )+( capacitor 17value 700pcs )
0805 practical book: ( resistor 63value 3025pcs )+( capacitor 17value 700pcs )
RF practical book:    ( 0402 capacitor 12value 600pcs ) + (0805 capacitor 10uF 50pcs ) + (0402 high F inductor 38value 1900pcs)
0201 resistors: 106 values, 50 pcs/value, 5300 pcs in all
0402 resistors: 170 values, 50 pcs/value, 8500 pcs in all
0603 resistors: 177 values, 50 pcs/value, 8850 pcs in all 5%
0603 resistors: 170 values, 50 pcs/value, 8500 pcs in all 1%
0805 resistors: 177 values, 50 pcs/value, 8850 pcs in all 5%
0805 resistors: 170 values, 50 pcs/value, 8500 pcs in all 1%
1206 resistors: 170 values, 50 pcs/value, 8500 pcs in all

0402 capacitors: 80 values, 50 pcs/value, 4000 pcs in all
0603 capacitors: 90 values, 50 pcs/value, 4500 pcs in all
0805 capacitors: 92 values, 50 pcs/value, 4600 pcs in all
1206 capacitors: 38 values, 50 pcs/value, 1900 pcs in all

Their “practical book” series contains an assortment of SMD resistors and capacitors in one book, while the separate resistor and capacitor kits are more complete and IMHO generally more useful, particularly if you use capacitors a lot and need a wider assortment of values.

Bonus: If you want to create your own component assortment or add extra pages to an existing one, Adafruit carries Blank SMT Storage Books and extra Storage Pages.

Join the resistance.