scope: new ones obviously have a ton of features, DSO's have been around for decades, and while not as featured as a new lcd model I use a Kenwood CS8010 at home from 1987. It was free and outside of a few times its been perfectly fine for home. One was on ebay recently and sold for 61$ and 25$ for shipping (which is way too much for a 20Mhz DSO with 2 k of ram) but keep your eyes open.
soldering station: hakko (or if you want to cheap out hakko clone) its just a good iron that is not stupid expensive and parts are everywhere. I use a xytronic (which was about 50 bucks instead of 75 for a hakko), which I love but since the place I bought it from went out of biz the only place I can find tips is Jameco. Dont bother with models with a digital temp readout, they are just a pain in the butt to set IMO
What's the take on these DSO nano things? I am not seeing the drawback on these, at least for use in low-bandwidth situations. I really don't foresee trying to sample gigahertz frequencies (or even many megahertz for that matter). What I really COULD use would be multi-trace.. for digital, that would be far more useful. That in mind, what about the soft/hardware scopes for bench use? PC with either card or USB for the actual interfacing... and those frequently have multitrace function and are also low-cost. None of these devices is exactly cheap, I am just trying to get the most bang for my buck, keeping in mind my actual usage.
I think I will go with the Hakko in terms of an iron. Everyone basically says the same thing- reasonable price, well made, tips are easy to find and cheap. I see a bunch of funky models with ESD protection and all that, but I think the standard workhorse 926 is what will suit me best. I have been a bit under the weather for a couple of days actually, but I am hoping to get out tomorrow- I have learned that there is a "technology recycling" company the next town over, and I am hoping that they have an inventory of used equipment from the many failed companies of the past few years. I don't mind used stuff at all, as long as it works- and saves money, and is "green" and all that. I dumpster dive for parts. Second hand bench equipment is a LOT better than that..
One item I am investing in has to be a decent swing-arm magnifier light. Soldering and such can be insanely difficult at times, I seem to have accuracy similar to typing with a ham on a ten foot pole when I am trying to carefully solder the first pin of an unsteady connection.. The eyes just don't seem to want to work like did when I was twenty either for some reason. Dollar store magnifier glasses help, but a decent bench magnifier is such a better idea.
Outside of the tools, I have a philosphical question for you guys:
If I don't succeed in bringing this to actual production, I am considering the wisdom of releasing the design into the public domain. As I have always said, this isn't about money. This is about getting this device into homes, so that people don't die.. even if it's someone else getting rich, getting credit, getting it done. Making the design public doesn't make me happy either. Public means people might just try to make this themselves. This is NOT a device to be made by anyone but professionals. The fact is, people could die trying, and that- well I don't even want to think about it.
How could I release into the hands of people who are QUALIFIED, without making it TOO public, encouraging a dangerous situation where DIY folks end up causing more tragedies than I am trying to prevent?