One of the fun things about our great hobby is that we get to tinker with all sorts of gadgets. Over the past couple of years I’ve purchased a few cheap device kits from eBay, Amazon, AliExpress, etc. These gadgets are perfect for people, like me, who are only just getting into electronics and learning how things work. The best part is that these kits are very cheap so if you damage it you are not out a lot of money.
I’ve bought, and put together, various kits. Some examples are: An oscilloscope, a sound meter with LEDs to indicate the level, an audio amplifier, and a few more. My two favorites so far have been the $20 oscilloscope and the $12 transistor tester.
Most of these kits are fairly well made but certainly not as high quality as something you would get from one of the traditional manufacturers. However, they are great for learning. Today’s post is focused on the M8 Transistor tester that I recently built. You will find some links below to Amazon and eBay where you can buy this kit.
The PCB in my board holder with the first few resistors installed.
Here is my soldering station (purchased on eBay) and my multimeter. Those are the only tools I needed to assemble the kit.
Here is a shot of the back of the board prior to soldering the components and clipping the leads.
Here you can see that a few more components have been installed. The board was clearly marked except for some of the polarized caps that I had to dig around a bit to figure out.
The microprocessor and LCD screen installed. I forgot to take pictures of the processor and it’s socket.
After hooking up a 9v battery the unit powers on and needs to be calibrated. The process is pretty quick and once it’s done you generally do not need to do it again. The manual explains this short process.
Testing a 3.3 nF cap. The cap is an old one that I had kicking around but the tester seems to measure relatively accurately.
Overall the process only took me about an hour to complete. However, I did assemble it in various steps when time permitted.
Here are some other comments / details about the unit:
- You can power it with a power supply ranging anywhere from 5.5 to 12V as long as it is center pin positive but the 9V battery is handy for portability.
- The manual is written in very poor English. You can also get it here (M8_Instructions). I had a real hard time getting it from the vendor I bought it from as their dropbox link would never work.
- Make sure to calibrate the unit properly, as per the manual. If this is not done correctly you will not get the correct readings.
- This tester works on much more than transistors. It will do capacitors, resistors, diodes, transistors, and more.
- The microprocessor used is an Atmel ATmega328. This means that you can most likely reprogram it if you have the skills.
- There are no extra components shipped with this so if you do receive a defective one, you may need to source a new part as it will probably be more of a hassle to get it from the vendor than getting it on your own.
- As with most of these low cost kits, there is no case that comes with it.
I hope you enjoyed this short review of the M8 Transistor Tester. If you are interested in buying one feel free to click one of the links below. To be fully transparent, the links are through my Amazon and eBay affiliate accounts so if you would rather not use them you can go directly to the site and search. If you do use one (or more of my links) I thank you very much.
Amazon Canada (search) – Search for M8 tester
Amazon Canada (Assembled) – SODIAL(R) M8 Transistor Tester Diode Triode Capacitance ESR LC Meter MOS/PNP/NPN Soldered
Amazon US (search) – Search for M8 Transistor Tester
Amazon US (Assembled) – SODIAL(R) M8 Transistor Tester Diode Triode Capacitance ESR LC Meter MOS/PNP/NPN Soldered
Amazon US (Kit) – M8 transistor tester
eBay (Kit) – M8 Transistor Tester ESR Meter LC Meter Diode Triode Capacitance DIY Kit
73 de VE1XT!