Basic Mod Equipment

Started by Broken, October 31, 2010, 07:58:20 AM

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Hi I was wondering what basic equipment you need to start doing some hopefully more simpler mods?

I guess a soldering iron maybe a good start but there's a few out there. I think a miniature smaller one is the way to go I think? Also I'm not sure if I'd need a magnifying glass for the chips with thinner connections?

I'm not sure if there are different types of solder and which is best etc?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


As far as solder goes, you can only get the lead-free stuff now. In most cases that's good enough, but for older equipment you might have to recover the finer leaded stuff from other circuit boards you work on.

Apart from the items you've named already, I think the major item you're missing is a multimeter. You use it to test continuity and circuit paths, and you can also test voltage and resistance when diagnosing problems. I like the ones with the analog needles because you can see when signals rise and fall sharply, but digital ones are just fine too.



basic tools of the trade

decent soldering iron.  I bought a 7$ iron from (believe it or not) an electronics hobby store and it completely sucks.  Get yourself a decent one and if you have a crappy one use it to melt holes in plastic or something.  As for solder anything that says "electronics" or something similar on it is good times.

hot glue gun.  It glues, it protects electric connections from connecting to other things.  It lets you install things in places they were never meant to go

electrical tape.  AND zip ties.  Electrical tape is good stuff it covers electric connections and again stops electricity from getting in or out.  However the tape tends to undo itself over time so I found that a plastic zip tie around it stops that from happening.  You could always get heat shrink tubing but I like using stuff that's as easy to find as possible

big scissors.  They cut ties.....and chunks of my fingers when I'm not looking

exacto knife.  It strips, plies, and also takes off chunks of my fingers!

set of big screwdrivers as well as a set of mini screwdrivers.  multi purpose

vice grips.  It clamps, adds torque to a screwdriver, weighs down nes cartridges

pliers and wire cutters.  multi purpose

tweezers.  For tweezing

a black marker.  to mark things with

masking tape.  Use this with your black marker to leave notes on what wire does what or where things go

Sometimes I use other things like saws a power drill (installing custom screwholes in metal)  measuring tape ruler hammer


Excellent thanks for all that and all your effort. I almost owe you a bj if I was that way inclined.

Although I wasn't too sure about my need for a good temperature controlled soldering station at first, I think I may have to bite the bullet and consider getting one with perhaps some other good extras equipment wise. I heard the Hakko 936 and the Weller Wes51 were good.

I did some research equipment wise. In terms of these soldering stations I think the closest place for these types of things is USA I think. I'm in the Uk. There are some over here but I don't know how good they are.

I'd be starting with fairly basic mods and then building up. This equipment may appear to be overkill perhaps at first but it could serve me in the future if I get to more difficult mods and the equipment if hopefully better may make my learning less painful.

I don't even know for 100% if you get an actual soldering iron with a soldering station. I think you do.

Thanks again and anything would be brilliant.


No problem.  I try to avoid working with tools that're expensive or hard to find.  I just like trying to use as many cheap + around the house things I can.  This way it's easier to track down this stuff and probably won't cost as much as some more professional tools.  I also use other tools like a solder sucker but that's in my "not so easy to find at your local store" catagory.

*edit* here's an instructional video around the 5 minute mark it shows you everything you need for a modding good time

Nintoaster Instructional Video


Hi cool thanks for that. The main issue for me seems to get the right soldering iron. I don't know if I need a temperature controlled one. I think I may need one with different sized tips and a low wattage one, about 18w I think. I just hear you have less chance of cocking up and a not as steep and painful learning curve if you get one that at least what you think suits your needs and some other possibly more complex ones if I got to that in the future. I've heard some things like this with different types of solder as well

Thanks again, that was a cool move.