Inexpensive Lab Equipment

A voltage selectable (not fully adjustable) 2 amp power supply is available from for 16.95USD.

A basic adjustable 15 volt, 3 amp supply is available from Smart Prototyping for 27.99USD.

If you need a programmable supply with a USB interface, SRA has a 30 volt, 5 amp model

Owon has introduced two power supplies, a 150 watt 30 volt, and a 180 watt 60 volt. Both have RS-232 SCPI interfaces.

These items have not been vetted, nor are they recommended by me. These are simply pieces of equipment I have found on the web at a low price. With the US tariffs on many Chinese products, prices listed here many not be valid anymore.

Often your best option is used equipment. In my opinion, a good used HP power supply is much better than a cheap imported power supply. I do not reference any used equipment here since it comes and goes so quickly. Ebay, ValueTronics, HAM Radio Swaps, and some rental companies are good sources for used equipment.


A very basic model is available from Harbor Freight

... or Amazon

If you do a lot with small surface mount components, Adafruit has some cool measurement tweezers.

Pokit makes a meter & low frequency oscilloscope (1Msps) that works with your smart phone or tablet. It can also act as a logger. It’s a little more expensive at 89.00USD. Very compact.

Free (occasionally)

to 6.99USD   

Power Supplies  



Signal Generator

For low frequency AC signals, your computer’s audio input can be used (up to 20kHz). You will only get qualitative data, but you can also get a spectrum analyzer display with many of the software packages. See Baudline and Sound View here.

There are some low cost oscilloscopes on the market. See Red Pitaya, Lab Nation, or BitScope micro here.

Sometimes, for AC signals, your computer’s audio output can be enough. Otherwise the Red Pitaya is also a signal generator, look for it here.

If you are connecting to high voltage project or a device not at ground level, you could risk damaging your computer. Then you could use a USB audio output device and a USB isolator like this:

Also, see my Pulse Generator page.



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JTAG Programmer

Segger offers a low cost JTAG programmer for non-commercial use. Only $19.95 at Adafruit.

You can also get a NXP FRDM-KE02Z40M demo board. Only $17.00. Then re-program it with Segger’s OpenSDA from here, also for non-commercial use:




Electronic Load

If you are doing power supply designs, an electronic load is a necessary piece of equipment. Newark has a couple of low cost models here.

Logic analyzer/Bus Analyzer

The Bus Pirate is a ‘go to’ for many. Only $30 here.


NXP offers the LPC-Link2 board. Only $25.00. This can be programmed with several different firmware options, including three different JATAG/SWD options. The ARM Limited CMSIS DAP SWD programmer firmware has no use restrictions allowing it to be used for commercial use. See:

The utility to program the LPC-Link2 is LPCScrypt, the CMSIS DAP image is build in.

OpenOCD is a free host for CMSIS DAP. Make sure you build OpenOCD from source, and do not use a pre-compiled binary, or you will get an old versions of OpenOCD. Open OCD is updated frequently.

To install, first make sure you have /usr/local, then

sudo chown -R $(whoami) /usr/local/*

brew install --HEAD openocd

brew install hidapi

See my OpenOCD page.

Sparkfun also has 0.050” JTAG cables for about $2.10, see:

NXP has a newer programmer board, the MCU-LINK-PRO for $45.99

Soldering & Assembly Equipment

Hot Air Soldering Rework Station.