As my first entry, I would like to introduce you to my lab, so I can show off some of the instruments I use while trying to be creative. These are all equipment bought on a student budget. Though, while being a student I find all of my semi professional equipment to suit all of my needs.
From the right, there is the MASTECH MS8040 benchtop multimeter.
I love the big back-lit display, the intuitive operation and that it has all functions and need plus many more.
Bought on ebay. This product is no longer produced, so I have no link to the manufacturers specific product site, but you can still find it on ebay, and its cheap.
Next is my main power supply from Maplin store, England. 20 volts, 5 Amps max. Mode for both constant current and constant voltage and a big back-lit display. When testing big application with big motors and such I use separate power supplies salvaged from printers and other hardware.
Besides my main power supply is my smaller “backup” power supply. It has only 6 voltage settings, 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 9 and 12 volts. 1.5 amps maximum. I mostly use this to power my RC transmitter while experimenting so I don’t have to use up all my batteries on this.
Then comes my soldering iron. Regulated, 150-450 degrees Celsius. This station is not as temperature stable as I would like it, but is OK for most applications. Also not beeing produced anymore, but has been replaced by a similar one with digital display.
My newest addition to my lab instrument collection is the 50 MHz Rigol DS1052E oscilloscope. See http://www.eevblog.com/2009/04/05/full-review-of-the-rigol-ds1052e/ for a full review of this. I have to say this is one of the best money I have ever spent! After using the oscilloscopes at school, I quickly found out I wanted one at home. My teacher said I had to spend around $1000 for a decent scope. Needless to say, I was disappointed. Luckily, I found this on one of my favorite webshops, dealextreme.com, read the review and purchased it. DX never sent me the item, so 3-4 months later I ordered it from goodluckbuy.com, which is now my first choice for cheap gadgets and other hardware.
The green PCB with jumper wires is the Atmel STK500 evaluation board for the AVR series microcontrollers. I really could not do anything without this.