When you're starting out it's all too easy to spend a lot of money on equipment that you find out either doesn't work for you or was a waste. Assembled here is a collection of items that represent either what I am using myself every day, or that which has been found to be most useful by others in the same industry.
The boardview software used by Louis Rossmann, FlexBV which additionally couples with PDF Schematics to provide substantial productivity improvements when trying to track down faults on boards.

The new "preferred hot air station" for rework, the Quick 861DW. An excellent balance of features and cost.

Available from;

For microsoldering work, the Hakko FX-951 is an excellent piece of equipment that'll get you through a lot of jobs. Couple it with the JS02 tip (T15 for US, or T12 for Asia/AU) and jobs are a lot easier under the microscope.
(Australian version here)

Working at such small scales it's useful to have solder that's also very fine. This Kester 63/37 blend is only 0.38mm (0.015") diameter so you have a decent chance of getting solder to the join under the microscope.

For a budget level benchtop meter, the VICI VC8145 is an item that covers the needs for board level repair at a sane price. While it's no Fluke or Agilent, and it's not something you'd want to use for high voltage or precision & accuracy, it does fit the needs of board repair quite well and there's a program written for it already for linux so you can use it with OBS (or just on your desktop), available at Github

  • Mains powered, never worry about batteries again
  • RS232 interface, strongly recommended you use a proper serial port on the PC, USB-RS232 adaptors seem to have issues with data corruption
  • Very fast continuity mode, combined with diode mode
  • Capacitance mode is reasonable (though limited to 100uF)
  • Software for OBS on linux at Github

Latest preferred budget hand-held multimeter. The BSIDE ADM20 has a lot of ticks in the right boxes;

  • 4 x AA batteries, plenty of life span
  • Sturdy stand, doesn't roll over when changing modes
  • USB-mini data connector at the top of the meter
  • Fast 5~10 updates/sec with serial data
  • Software for OBS on Windows and linux at Github

AmScope SM-4TP-144. Without a scope, you cannot do a lot of the work required with modern phones and computers. This AmScope gives 7x~45x magnifcation and the stand along with the 144-LED adjustable light make a good combination. NOTE: there's no Barlow lens on this configuration, but I do strongly recomment the use of the 0.7X reducer to give you more working room without sacraficing maximum magnification too much.

0.7X Barlow lens to suit the SM-4TP-144 microscope combination.

For getting a good quality audio, without breaking the bank too much (since you probably have with the camera/microscope), you'll be pleased to know that you can get decent wireless audio results using the SAMSON XPD1. Very simple to use and works with macOS and Linux under OBS with no trouble at all.

Set the trimmer gain to about 80%, macOS mic gain to max, linux PulseAudio input gain to about 6dB, keep the mic just away from your face at about your lip-crease. Another note, keep at least 2m distance between the transmitter and the USB receiver, else you'll get odd artifacts)

For getting good quality video footage for YouTube videos, the SONY sensor equipped 1080PHA from RisingCam does a very nice job. As a bonus, it'll let you record via USB if you do not yet have HDMI capture/encoding hardware

Buy from AliExpress

To complement the above HD microscope camera to your AmScope SM series head, you need the right adaptor (toss away the AmScope one!). To obtain maximum FOV (Field Of View) with the 1/2.8" sensor, use a 0.35X reducer. This reducer from RisingCam matches perfectly with the SONY camera and the new AmScope trinocular heads with the smooth-bore mount. It is expensive, but it makes things compact and easy.

Buy from AliExpress

Logitech C922 USB2 1080p@60fps webcam makes an excellent companion to the microscope camera. This webcam works without any trouble on macOS, Linux and Windows with OBS.

High temperature fibrous PCB holder from AliExpress. Have found this to be very useful with a nice 250g weight it keeps things from moving around (rubber feet underneath too). Definitely a good investment.
TENMA triple output PSU 30V 3A (two outputs) and a single fixed 5V output. Nice thing about this PSU is that the voltage/current adjustment knob is a rotary encoder, rather than a resistor pot, so it won't suffer from sensitivity issues. There are single output versions of this unit but I find it handy to have the triple.
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