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Clean up after yourself! Things get lost really easily, so please return everything after use to the same location as where you found it. 

For safety's sake:

  • Unplug/Turn off and put away drills, Dremels, soldering irons, etc. after you are done using them.

  • There are goggles for tasks requiring eye protection (using equipment with high speed parts, etc.) on an upper left-hand shelf. 

  • There are gloves for handling things like acid flux in many locations in the lab. 


Table of Contents

Component Usage (Protocols and Descriptions)

Wirestrippers, Wire Cutters, Pliers, etc. 

A wire stripper usually looks like this: 

It can be adjusted to have an opening of different sizes by adjusting the placement of the screw with a screwdriver. This will help in stripping wires of insulation without cutting the wires themselves. 

The wire cutters look like this: 


Some are larger and some are smaller. The larger ones tend to be easier to handle and can make cutting wire a very easy task. 

The pliers look like this: 


Some are larger and some are smaller. The larger ones tend to make bending wire/metal much easier. 

Checking Viability of Cables

You can use the multimeter to check the functionality of certain cables by clipping different combinations of wires. 

For example, if you'd like to check that you soldered a banana jack onto two wires for an extracellular electrode properly, you can clip one end of a banana jack and the other end of the wire and compare the voltage output to that of when you clip the other wire. This is also very useful for checking if you soldered an amphenol circle-hex 5-pin cable (see below) correctly. (compare against both wires, and/or the ground) 

Using Soldering Iron and Solder

This tool and fusible metal alloy can bond metal workpieces together. (useful for making/repairing any sort of cable, extracellular electrodes, switchboards(?), etc.)

To use the iron: 

Safety Note: Do NOT inhale the soldering fumes. They are no good, very bad. 

  1. The iron is usually located on the counter. Before using it, plug it into an outlet near the shelves and let it warm up. 
  2. Prepare the parts that you would like to bond with solder. 
    1. Strip wires of insulation (may be several layers) until you have sufficient access to the innermost copper wire(s). 
    2. Use the clamps to place the items you would like to solder in close proximity. 
    3. If you are using braided wires, wrap the inner wires around the point of contact on the other wire/item to ensure good contact. 
  3. Choose the type of metal you'd like to use to solder with from one of the GLAD boxes on the counter. (Tip: Lead tends to be softer and easier to work with.) 
  4. Don a pair of gloves and then acquire the bottle of acid flux and small transfer pipet.
  5. Deposit a few drops of acid flux on the bonding site between the two pieces. 
  6. Wipe off the soldering iron on the sponge below the holder, then get a little solder (couple drops worth) heated up on the iron. 
  7. Then bring the solder slightly above the bonding point and the soldering iron below the bonding point. 
  8. Bring the two close together until the pieces have been soldered together. Let cool for a little while. 

Checking the quality of an electrical connection

Use the multimeter check the bond of two or more metal workpieces, which looks like this: 


Making Extracellular Electrodes (in progress) 



Making Switchboards (in progress) 


Amphenol Circle-hex 5-pin Cables

These circle-hex 5-pin connectors are used to connect extracellular amplifiers to an extracellular panel on the rig. In order to make your own cable, the connectors and wire are located on the shop bench:

  1. Measure out a length of shielded dual-conductor wire.
  2. Strip at least 1 inch of insulation off one end of the wire (strip off more if you plan to use heat-shrink tubing on any of the smaller inner wires).
  3. Either cut through or unravel the shielding and twist it into a thin wire.
  4. Strip about 5mm of insulation off of each of the 2 conducting wires.
  5. Solder one of the conducting wires to the A prong, solder the other conducting wire to the B prong, and solder the twisted shielding to the H prong.
  6. Use heat-shrink tubing to replace the stripped outer insulation before assembling the rest of the connector. 

Banana Jacks


Alligator Clips


Perfusion Parts


Heat Shrink



Gluing Things - Best Practices (in progress)



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