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What is a basic starter's pack for an electronics beginner?

I always wanted to get busy with hobbyist electronics but being the huge procrastinator I am, I continuously put this aspiration aside. Since I'm also a huge fan of video games, that was the main reason I put it off. Now, I decided to fix some 'life mistakes' like not studying much and consuming all my time in front of the screen without doing anything productive; so I uninstalled all games! Since I'm a Physics student and we are doing a basic electrical circuits lab this semester, I decided to start taking it as a hobby, too. The thing is, I'm also an impulsive buyer. Last time I took this initiative without giving it too much thought, I went and spent 30 euros on a soldering iron and solder that I don't know how to use, a soldering pump, and other unnecessary stuff. Now I plan on doing something a tad bit more organized. So, first of all, here's what I currently own: -A 30 Watt Weller soldering iron /w solder -Solder pump -Soldering braid -A variety of tools (case of various sized screwdrivers, wire cutter and stripper, etc.) -An old PC power unit that I modded to be used as a lab power supply I found a neat online shop with extremely low prices and I was planning on buying some banana wires, a breadboard (220x120mm) and of course a digital multimeter (a very basic, 4 euros one with voltage, resistance, current, diode and some other readings). There is also a rather cheap soldering station that can go from 25 to 60 watts but I'm not sure if I need it. There's a shop in my neighborhood that sells components, too. So, what do you think? Keep in mind that I want to spend just enough money to have everything that a BEGINNER needs! If you have any ideas on my current buy list or any additions, please tell me! Also, a secondary question: how do you think I should get started? Are there some 'basic circuits' that all electronics hobbyists must do? Like the 'Hello World' program that gets a new programmer up and running? Thank you! Also, something else. In the lab, we use both a DC supply and a function generator (AC). Am I going to need something like this? And what about an oscilloscope?

Asked By: Snake Physicist - 11/15/2012
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
Soldering iron : If your Weller (good choice) is a temperature controlled one, i.e. it takes tempareature controlled bits, then you don't need the soldering station apart from a stand with a solder sponge. Recommend a PTF7 bit for PCB work. It's a fine bit. If you need something a bit bigger then the PTL7 is the one to... More
Answered By: GibsonEssGee - 11/15/2012
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