Pragmalist Electronics Kit

TL;DR My personal set of essential electronics tools that I use on regular basis. This is the first post in a series.

I’ve been dabbling in electronics for 10 years. Naturally, my approach to electronics has been influenced by my approach to life in general. And my approach to life is that of a pragmalist (pragmatist minimalist). In short, I thrive in striking a balance between practicality and fewer possessions. This has led to a carefully selected set of tools, over years of use and through many iterative refinements. The aim of this post is to presgruide (half prescribe, half guide) a set of tools to newcomers in the wonderful world of electronics, so they can get rock ‘n rollin’. More experienced folks can also benefit by multigrading their existing tools.


No such thing as a safe hobby exists. Even reading books can be hazardous over time (think neck and eye strain). Therefore safety equipment come first in order to maximize the longevity of your enjoyment.

Safety equipment must be:

If you have to dig through stuff to find them, you won’t use them. If you get a headache wearing them for an hour, you won’t use them. If you knock out someone’s eye hobbying, you’ll hate yourself.

To ensure your safety equipment will save your when you most need them, avoid buying them from eBay, Aliexpress or any other wild west of an online shop. Just go to your local hardware store. Furthermore, learn about the compliance markings in your country and look for them on safety equipment you intend to purchase. I live in Australia and here, you should look for AS/NZS numbers.

Safety Glasses

Run of the mill plastic safety glasses. They are lightweight and comfortable. Stylish too for when I occasionally leave house with them on! I have two, one for my partner in case they’re in close proximity. There are darker shade glasses with UV protection as well, if you work under bright light or sunlight.

Safety glasses

Safety glasses regulatory marking

What’s it for:

Filtered Face Mask

Having a well ventilated area and a fan is the best option, unless you live in a tiny studio apartment and are at the mercy of the weather to get adequate ventilation. Having a proper face mask solves that while you’re stationary and busy having fun.

Face mask

Face mask regulatory marking

What’s it for:

Ensure you replace the filters as advised by the manufacturer.

Fire Blanket/Extinguisher

You don’t have to be working with mains voltage to risk setting things on fire. A lithium polymer battery can easily catch on fire if mishandled or shorted. Equally crucial to having a fire blanket and fire extinguisher, is to know how to use them under stress. You should therefore place them in an easily accessible place next to your work and practice using them regularly.

Fire extinguisher and blanket

Fire extinguisher regulatory marking

What’s it for:


Gloves, as they pertain to your safety, should always be treated as a fail safe, and not your primary protection mechanism. Gloves can easily develop weak spots or holes. I have a big box of the following for various light uses:

Hand gloves

What’s it for:


Have I mixed up my sections? Nope. Almost every electronics product has some kind of power circuit and capacitors are quite prevalent in such circuits. What’s more, is that the main supply voltage is not always the maximum voltage you can encounter on a board. Some circuits can turn 3V of two AA batteries to 300 volts. So when opening any device, do so cautiously, with gloves and with insulated tools. If you come across any capacitor larger than a few mm sized SMDs, find out its voltage rating (often printed on it), measure the voltage across its pins and if the voltage is anything above 30v, use a resistor to discharge it. Adjust the pins first and then use an insulated tool to hold the resistor against the capacitor. Do NOT use your hands!


What’s it for:

In future posts, I’ll go through my tools for discovery, hacking and making.