There seems to be a lot of these component testers available on Ebay and they look quite interesting in that they can identify the type of copmponent and provide basic information on it. I found one that was supplied in a kit version so thought I would order it and give it a go for myself.
I have made a YouTube video of the build so please take a look at this as well. The link is below:
The cost of the kits was around $17 AUD so not alot of money, even if it ends up wasted.
The kit took a little longer to arrive than I expected however once it did ari=rive it was well packaged and complete. There arent any instructions supplied with the kit however the circuit board is labelled with all the component values so assembly was pretty easy.
When building up a circuit board it is normal to start with the components closest to the board, resistors etc and build up with the higher components as you go. I take a slightly different approach in that I like to get the non-negotiable components (IC Sockets etc) inplace to start off with and then place lowest to highest from then on. At any rate it is much easier to place the low components without anything too tall on the board.
A couple of little tips, I find it hard to make out the colour codes on some resistors now, I like to think its because the high tolerance components have more bands but it is more likely that my eyes are just shot..lol At any rate I just measure each one before installation now, that way they are guarranteed to be correct. With capacitors i either measure them or just get the phone camera and zoom in to read them, I use the same camera trick to identify transistors.
At the completion of the build I had a number of resistors and one capacitor left over, never that good a sign but onward and upward!!!
I powered the board using my bench supply with the current limit turned down quite low, just to be sure I didnt fry something. I was rewarded with the display bursting to life and all looked well. The display showed a brief welcome message and then advised the unit needed to be calibrated.
The calibration involved applying an open circuit to the terminals, a shots circuit and then appling a capacitor above a certain value to the terminals (ahhhhh the left over capacitor). It took me a few goes to get this right as it seemed to take an iternity at one of the steps and I thought it had screwed up. Once i let it go though it completed the process and invited me to test something.
I made good use of the left over resistors as well, which it identified correctly as well as a few varying capacitors i had on the bench. Next I though something a little more difficult and grabbed a box of discreet transistors I have. On testing them the device identified then as bipolar junction transistors correctly and provided the BE forward junction voltage and a HFE value. On looking up the data sheet for the transistors, it was right on the money.
I will need to create a little case for it but thats a minor issue when you have a 3D printer at the ready.
I am sure there will be times where the device does stumble but I would certainly recommend these devices for the hobbyist as a usefull addition to the workbench. All in all i an really very happy with the tester and am looking ford to putting it to use.