Are you familiar with the offerings from the Smart Tweezers company? One of their flagship products is their professional handheld Smart Tweezers ST5S (more recently, they announced their Smart Tweezers ST5S-BT, which also boasts Bluetooth connectivity).
These little beauties combine a pair of gold-plated surface-mount device (SMD) tweezers with sophisticated electronics and a small OLED display. When you use the tweezers to pick up a component, they automatically determine the type of component (resistor, capacitor, inductor), select the appropriate range and signal frequency for the highest accuracy measurements, and then display the type of component and its value, along with additional parameters and measurement conditions (the display’s presentation can be flipped for left-handed use). In addition to a continuity detector function, there’s also a diode mode that tests the diode’s polarity and indicates if there’s a short.
If you work with SMDs, then these tweezers can be incredibly useful. Some might use the word “invaluable” … until they see the price tag. For example, I just found the ST5S on Amazon for $289.69 (I also found the ST5S on Techni-Tool for $408.34, which struck me as being a tad excessive). Meanwhile, the ST5S BT on Amazon costs $344.00 (I was scared to look for the BT version on Techni-Tool).
The reason I’m waffling on about this here is that I just received an email from my chum Rick Curl. In addition to instructing me in the art of Making Ice Cream with Liquid Nitrogen, Rick also taught me how to solder SMDs, but we digress… In his email, Rick spake as follows:
Hi Max, I just got one of these digital smart tweezers on eBay and I’m really impressed with it. When I was working at my previous company, we had some smart tweezers that cost $300. This one has 90% of the functionality at less than 10% of the price. The only thing the expensive one has that this one does not is the ability to measure inductors. BUT, this one can test Zener diodes up to 28 volts and can also test LEDs, neither of which can be done on the more expensive one. (In the attached image I’m testing a blue LED and the tweezer is indicating the LED forward voltage at 10mA.) An added plus is that they give you a pair of test leads so you can use it like a regular DMM. GET ONE! Rick.”
Rick used to design test equipment for use by power workers playing with 100,000 volts, and what he doesn’t know about electronics design and test tools isn’t worth knowing. Looking on eBay, I see that these little beauties cost only $18.99 with free shipping. Give me strength! As far as I’m concerned, for anyone who works with SMD components, purchasing a set of these smart tweezers is a no-brainer. What say you?