ESSENTIALS

The general use and essentials for Make-at-Home projects are listed below with comment as Basic or Important or Optional keyword, which means that,

BASIC : very much required and affordable

IMPORTANT : having this item is advantageous

OPTIONAL : may be purchased later

BREAD BOARD :

A bread board is used for connecting electronic components of a circuit, quickly.  The bread board has holes to insert leads of electronic components and interconnecting them using flexible jumper wires. The bread boards are available in various sizes and their ends have slots and projections for adding more bread boards in cascading.

 

Normally, holes of top two lines and bottom two lines are connected horizontally in parallel, which are useful for connecting power supply.  The remaining holes, which are in between the horizontal lines,  are divided into two groups, top and bottom from mid-line.  Each group have holes with vertical connecting lines for connecting main circuit (or components)  (BASIC)

 

A model Bread Board with connecting lines, underneath is shown below.  Some bread boards with with various sizes are also shown for reference.

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PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD (PCB) :

A PCB is used to assemble a circuit, using soldering method.  A PCB is made of flat insulating material (FR-4, glass epoxy etc.), contains copper tracks (strips) stick on its surface, as connectors for a circuit, is known as Single sided PCB.  Holes are made, wherever required to insert the particular electronic component through it, then solder on other side.  The surface of PCB, where pinouts of the components to be inserted are printed  is called as Silkscreen side.  The other surface, on which the leads of the components are soldered is called Soldering side. (IMPORTANT)

Some PCBs have copper track on both the surfaces, is called Double sided PCB.  Some PCBs have insulating material and copper tracks as alternate layers is called multi-layer PCBs. The insulating material selection depends on the di-electric strength required and frequency of the data transfer for the circuit. The thickness and width of the copper track depends upon the current carrying capacity required between in the components in the circuit.

Single sided, general purpose PCBs, which are easily available and affordable, are normally used in our Make-at-Home projects. If you want to make a complete project and enclose it aesthetically, then select proper PCB, with required size.

Some general purpose PCBs with various sizes and connecting lines (dots and lines) are shown for reference. One custom made PCB (green coloured) is also shown as an example.

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JUMPER WIRES :

Jumper wire means , a small wire (about 15cm to 30cm length), low current capacity (normally used for signal transmission) with black coloured end connections on either end (or sometimes one end only).  The end connection may be male type (which has pin projecting out) or female type (which has hole). 

 

So, the jumper wires are available with following end connectors 1) Male-Male  2)Female-Male and 3) Female-Female.  The jumper wires are frequently used for prototyping and quick testing, by connecting holes of bread board or to external components or other circuits/modules. (BASIC)

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CONNECTORS :

Connectors are used to connect / disconnect single or multiple wiring connections easily and quickly.  Various types are used on a circuit board, which depends on number of wire connections and current flow through them. The Berg strips and DC power connectors are highly used in most of the circuits. Some  connectors, which are frequently used in the circuits are shown below. (IMPORTANT)

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RELIMATE CONNECTORS :

Relimate connectors are also used for quick connect/disconnect multiple wire connections, mostly for PCB to the electronic component or module.  Single or double row pins are used for these connectors and the number of pins varies per row as per requirement.  The main advantage with Relimate connectors is, they are polarized, i.e., connects in one direction only, to avoid reverse connection. Some Relimate connectors are shown for reference below.  (IMPORTANT)

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CLIPS :

Clips are used to connect / disconnect a wiring connections easily and quickly, while testing a circuit.  Various types of clips are used as per requirement. Some  clipos, which are frequently used in the circuits are shown below. (IMPORTANT)

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WIRES :

Single or multi-strand copper wires (electrical conducting material) are used for connection between electronic components and power supply connections.  The cross-section of copper wire depends on the required current to flow through it, (which is directly proportional).  Most of the times the copper wire is covered with insulating material (as a sleeve) like, PVC, PTFE etc. For easy identification of wire connection(s), various coloured sleeved wires are used in the circuit board(s)  (BASIC)

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JUMPER CAPS :

Jumper cap ( or shorting jumper) is a small connector with 0.1" (2.54mm) pitch, with rectangular plastic enclosure.  A small groove is provided on upper portion, as a grip, for easy removal of jumper cap from a circuit. Jumper caps are used to simply connect or disconnect two pins as per users requirements / settings, which is provided in the circuit.  It is also useful to quick testing of a circuit. (BASIC)

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HEAT SHRINK TUBE :

A Heat shrink tube is made up of rubber material, in a tubular form.  When a small length of the tube is exposed to small flame (or heat), the diameter of the tube shrinks to lower diameter.  So, this is positioned on a soldered joint (or any wire joint), and small heat applied to it, to shrink and fit on the exposed metal joint and protect as insulator. (IMPORTANT)

The Heat shrink tubes are available with various diameters, out of which, 3mm and 5mm are very useful for Make_at-Home projects.  A small gas lighter or hot air blower, is required to apply heat on the surface of the heat shrink tube.

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INSULATION TAPE :

An insulation tape is used to cover joined wires, especially used for mains supply, to avoid electrical leakage and protect from shock, through the exposed copper (metal) wire.  Now-a-days, the insulation tapes are available in various colours also.  Having at least one insulation tape is recommended.  (BASIC)

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CELLO TAPE :

A Cello tape ( or Cellophane tape ) is easily available and affordable, which is transparent and having glue one side.  Due to it's transparency and quick fixing on surfaces, it is very much useful to hold small electronic components in position and insulating from conductors (tracks, wires etc.).

The cello tapes are available in various widths, like half-inch, one-inch, 2 inch etc.  Select the width to suit your requirement.  (IMPORTANT)

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DOUBLE SIDED TAPE :

A double sided foam tape is useful to quickly position some electronic modules / components and its related items together. eg: placing small displays, modules on main PCB. (IMPORTANT)

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EMERY PAPER :

A emery / sand paper is also very useful, to clean the surfaces of PCBs before soldering.  It is also useful to clean the leads of electronic components before soldering.  A high dense, very fine size emery should be used to avoid, unnecessary scratches on the surface, instead of cleaning. So, select emery paper with grit about 1000.(BASIC)

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CABLE TIES :

A cable tie (nylon zip tie) is useful to tie multiple wires / cables together.  A cable tie is wrapped around a group of wires and cables and its free end is pulled though its rectangular opening for locking. By pulling the free end, through the eye on other end, the wrapped cables get tightened and locked automatically.

A marking on the cable tie or a label used with wires tie is useful for grouping the wires and identify them easily and their functionality.  Now-a-days, cable ties are available in various sizes and colors.  You have to select the required size.  Using multi-coloured coloured cable ties are also useful to easily identifying the group of wires and purpose.  (OPTIONAL)

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SCREWS & NUTS :

Fasteners like small screws / bolts, nuts and washers are also important to fix the PCBs, heat sinks, displays, some bigger size components etc. Most of the times M2.7, M3 and M4 screw set of half-inch or one-inch lenght is used.  The higher size fasteners are rarely used.  Some times wood screws are also used, if the base or cabinet is made of wood / plywood etc. (IMPORTANT)

ANTI-STATIC ENVELOPES :

Better to maintain anti-static envelopes to keep the modules / circuits, which will protect them from damage due to static electricity, if any.  Keeping the components and circuits at-least in a plastic self-sealing cover is preferable. (OPTIONAL)

CONTAINERS/RACKS :

To keep the electronic components, modules, circuits etc., suitable containers and racks are required.  To assemble the completed circuit also, suitable containers / cabinets are to be selected. (OPTIONAL)

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WORKING TABLE AND CHAIR :

Last but not least, a wooden table and chair is required for keeping the components, circuits, soldering station, power supplies etc.,  at a reach of hand is appreciated.  The table and chair should be comfortable while working with the circuits (ergonically designed, if possible) (OPTIONAL)

Seek ADVICE, but use your own COMMON SENSE.

– Yiddish Proverb