Just a couple quick reviews for some product I checked out, both from a company called SMRAZA. These are going to be super quick, and I’m really only going to post them here because I like to keep everything up on the blog when I can.
First this company makes some cool products for techy people like myself, today I’m going to be checking out two very basic items they make for electronics users. First is a screwdriver toolkit for electronics, second is a basic soldering kit.
The Precision Toolkit
The 38-in-1 Precision Toolkit was something I actually needed for a while, while I have tools I didn’t have a very nice setup mostly just mixed pieces spattered around. Perhaps what sets it apart from the get go (aside from its attractive price) is the very compact, well made case. The hard shell plastic case is just very sturdy and has all the essentials. When it flips open, it does so in a very sensible way with all the pieces very tightly in place (nothing spills out) and a bit selector that just slides out and up (really makes choosing the right bit very easy and keeping the bits nice and tidy easy as well).
This thing has a very nice grip screwdriver with a bevy of modular tips for just about anything electronic – iPhones/iPads, laptops, tablets, watches, routers, anything. The bits are all magnetic and it really has every kind (star shaped, square shaped, triangular shaped, just about anything you’d come across). Thankfully it also includes a pair of tweezers, a couple common screwdrivers and a flexible extender arm for those tough to reach screws. I haven’t used the extender arm but that’s cool to have. It has a suction cup with a little metal probe, I’m not really sure why the suction cup itself is there but the probe is useful. It also is easy to overlook on first glance, but the two guitar-pick shaped pry tools are useful. I did find the plastic to fray a bit using them a bit much so be careful how you use them.
I really think it’s a great toolkit, and at what it sells for its more than reasonable to pick up a couple of these if you like to do a lot of this kind of work. If you want a nice, compact kit without breaking the bank, this is a no brainer.
The Basic Soldering Kit
I am still learning how to solder so I got this kit as a way to sort of test and learn how soldering basically works. There are some pros and cons to this kit, but my overall opinion is that it is very affordable for what it brings to the table. I’m not sure it’s a “good” kit, but I’ll describe what you get with it and what my impression was.
The centerpiece of the kit is a very basic soldering pen, with an on/off switch (which many lack) and an adjustable temperature dial (which also many lack). It comes with several tips to swap out for different situations, I’m torn on which I actually prefer in any way the one it came mounted with was fine for most things (I was working mainly on motherboards). Tips are super easy to switch out.
The pen also comes with a good number of accessories, a basic suction device to suck up solder, a very rudimentary stand (didn’t care for it, but it served its purpose of holding the hot pen). What I really liked was the rosin/copper wire tip cleaner. Putting the hot iron into bristly wire and then digging it into the rosin container really tidies up the hot tips and keeps them nice and clean. You of course get some very basic solder lead free solder which melts alright on this pen.
When I was experimenting with this, I admit to being very clumsy and not really being able to *fix* anything. However, I don’t know how much I fault the kit or pen for that. For what you get (this is a relatively inexpensive product at least when I reviewed it) it seems like a great deal. Perfect for someone like myself who is just getting into using soldering equipment. My only complaint is that while it did appear to heat up and I do believe it was hot, I just didn’t feel like it was totally heated through or perhaps my expectations of how soldering works is off – when the pen did melt solder, it seemed like if I didn’t act super fast it would resolidify rapidly. It also did not seem to heat up hot enough for me to melt solder by putting it into proximity to the heated pad/tip, which is sort of what I was expecting to do with it (as touching solder directly to the pen seems to gets it stuck to the pen itself more often than not).
Perhaps this is my inexperience with it though, so I’ll give it a pass for now on that. It is definitely going to help me learn to solder, came with everything I wanted (except some solder cleaning string and a rosin-core solder which I acquired after getting the kit) and I definitely think it’s a great buy.
I tend to think SMRAZA is onto the right thing, looking at its other products (Raspberry Pi kits, Arduino stuff) it seems like they appeal to budget-minded DIY electronics crowds and got a lot to offer. Definitely recommend checking out their other products.