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I've wanted to get started working with breadboards and basic circuits, but I have very little space with which to work or to store any tools. The largest contiguous surface I have is a weak 2ft by 2ft pull-out wooden keyboard drawer on my desk. I might be able to manage something with that, but I don't know how I'd be able to safely store anything I work on or any of the equipment (wires, soldering iron, electronic parts, etc.).

Given a shortage of space, is there any way to still work with electronics?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ No kitchen table? \$\endgroup\$ – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jun 16 '13 at 23:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @IgnacioVazquez-Abrams, Not one I have exclusive access to. \$\endgroup\$ – mowwwalker Jun 17 '13 at 0:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you fight/beg people off it for half an hour at a time? \$\endgroup\$ – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jun 17 '13 at 0:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Walkerneo Sounds like you live in a Japanese tube hotel. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Jun 17 '13 at 1:49
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Use your computer!

It used to be that to "get started" in electronics you had to have materials. Now you can do some pretty high quality experimentation and learning in online simulators, tutorials, and videos.

It is definitely, much less than ideal, but with zero space and zero hazardous materials, you can gain a remarkable amount of basic skill.

Some resources for free tools and data

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! I knew about Circuitlab, but not the others. Though, I like the idea of being able to physically interact with the electronics. \$\endgroup\$ – mowwwalker Jun 17 '13 at 0:47
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Since you have so little space and seem unable/unwilling to fight for more, one possibility is the Electronics Learning Lab from Radio Shack. You can hook up wires by pushing the springs over and slipping them in, and it's sturdy enough to use on your lap so that you can wire it up anywhere you can sit.

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To work with electronics it is recommended to have clear space as electronic components are fragile and can be easily damaged especially parts like micro-controllers, integrated circuits (IC), etc. But if you have limited space that is fine too as long as you do not have materials like solder or aluminium scattered across the table which could lead to damaging components.

As far as breadboarding is concerned, prototyping itself can be very messy. Things to take into consideration are:

  1. Not to lose small components like resistors
  2. Safety precaution with the soldering iron as the temperature goes upto 400 Deg C
  3. Make sure you have enough space to keep your power supply, hot iron, solder, breadboard and components you are working with so you do not have to keep moving around.
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