For anyone wanting to get into making your own retro systems, these are the tools I personally use:

Aoyue soldering station.  I prefer this style, and variable temperature really is a must when dealing with old and new electronics.  Too much heat and you will lift a bad, burn a trace, or cause general unpleasantness.  Too little heat/watts and you end up with cold solder joints.

Hakko solder tip cleaner.  Don’t use sponges.  They don’t clean as well and cool down the tip of the iron.   Can cause cold solder joints and wears out your iron.

Extra set of hands.  Very useful when soldering wires or small circuit boards.

60-40 Tin/Lead solder.   Sorry mother Earth, ROHS (lead free) solder sucks.  Wash your damn hands after using and keeps your hands out of your mouth.

Solder Sucker.  I prefer this to wick, cleans out through holes.

American Made Screwdrivers.    Sorry China, your metalwork still sucks for hand tools.

Wire cutter.  My cutter is a 20 year old Craftsman, I never let anyone else use.

Wire stripper.  I prefer Klein, get one that can do down to 30 AWG.

Multimeter, autoranging.  I use a Craftsman from a while back.  Fluke 77 is a great meter as well.

Rotary tool.  Dremel or similar will do.

These are the tools I personally prefer.  I have assorted other hand tools as well, but these are the tools I use for retro gaming systems.  They are very similar to the tools I use professionally.  I don’t get a cut for the links above, so don’t worry if you don’t buy it through here or have a different preference.  Have fun, and don’t get obsessed over the price/quality of the tools.  If you are going to over spend, over spend on the soldering station.  Everything else is about equal.


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