The tools that you (probably) are going to need
This page introduces you to the different tools that are common to use and essential to use for you to be able to prototype with electronics and in hardware.
You will need a selection of tools and components to ensure that your prototype or hardware setup is durable and ready to be used for a long period of time and in different weather conditions. This means that it has to be securely assembled, fastened and waterproof.
This is the basic internal wiring inside a breadboard. Notice how you have plus rails (red) and minus rails (blue). The other holes are connected at a 90 degree angel.
Wirecutter and wirestripper
When stripping wires, you need a wirecutter and preferably a wirestripper as well. Stripping the wire manually with a wirecutter takes a bit of practice as to not break the inner wires when cutting the insulation. A wirestripper however will get the job done smoothly and easily, and depending on the type it can usually take several wires and larger wires too.
See this video on how to cut a wire with a plier (the technique is the same as with a wirecutter): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-9v32J_F2g
And here with a wirestripper: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6Nyzq3CzlI
You will need a soldering kit in order to solder wires and other parts together.
It is important not to have any exposed wire left, as it may affect the durability and overall functioning of your circuit. Bear this in mind both when stripping and cutting the wire, and when soldering.
See this guide on how to solder pin headers and neopixels:
A digital multimeter is great for troubleshooting. It is used for measuring current and voltage in circuits, and can thereby test if your circuit (or the different elements in your circuit) is working.
You use the multimeter by chosing the correct function on the switch, and in your circuit (or on a battery, for instance) placing the black probe on the negative or ground, and the red probe on positive or power.
Read more about how to use it here:
In case you do have exposed wires, or if you need to keep several wires together and in place, you can use shrink wrap. When applying heat it will shrink and stay tight, stable and waterproof around the wire(s). You can find it as tubes in different sizes or as a “tape” which is more flexible in use.
You will need a hairdryer, a heat gun or something as simple as a lighter to apply the heat.
Watch this video on how it works:
You need to have a set of screwdrivers and/or an electrical screwdriver by hand for any parts that require screws. For example this could be the power plug, where you will need to loosen and fasten screws in order to work on the wires.
Step drill (unibit)
A drill may come in handy, and especially a step drill for drilling holes in all sorts of sizes and in all sorts of materials.
This is a very precise instrument for measuring lengths or sizes, with precision down to 2/100 mm. It can measure lengths inside an object and outside of an object using the top and bottom bars by sliding the moveable of the two bars.
Zip ties / cable ties
Zip ties in different sizes are a great measure to keep things together or in place.
Remember to relieve the stress on the cables: Most Arduino projects ends up having multiple wires hanging everywhere. If you do not tie them to the board but leave them hanging in the soldering points they will break. Use a ziptie so mount them to the edge of the board or to the inside of a box.
Hot glue gun
Use the glue gun to close any openings, keep things together (e.g. hot glue on top of joint between wires and breadboard, wires and Arduino parts, or the like) and overall to secure any loose bits and pieces.