Brian White (PhD, Stanford) is a scientist with many interests: biology, vacuum tube radios, FPGAs, and more. During the day, he works as a Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. In his free time, he enjoys building DIY electronics projects and repairing old-school electronics in his basement electronics den. Let’s take a look at his electronics workspace and some of his projects. 
Inside Brian White's electronics den
Professor White has some handy electronics test equipment in electronics workspace, which is located in his basement in Massachusetts, USA.
How would you best describe your electronics workspace?
My family calls it my "nerd's den," but I'd call it a workshop.
How long have you had your workspace?
Twenty-five-plus years. First, it was a wet darkroom that I built, then an amateur radio shack, and now an electronics shop.
What were your goals and requirements for the space when you first set it up? 
Space to work; protection from basement dust.
What are your technical interests? What kind of projects do you focus on?
DIY electronics and repair of vintage electronics. My projects range from vacuum tube radios and amplifiers to fixing old computers to FPGA.
Tell us about your equipment. What do you have?
Soldering station, TDS 210 oscilloscope, Saleae 8 and 16 logic analyzers, Heathkit and HP power supplies, QA 400 audio analyzer, HP RMS AC voltmeter, logic probes, PC.
What do you consider to be your most important tool and why?
Siglent SDG 1032X signal generator — my latest purchase and very capable. Also, the TDS210 ’scope. I started as a kid with a Navy-surplus scope, replaced it with a humungous Tektronix ’scope, and really like a very capable ’scope that sits on the bench and talks to the PC.
Is there anything special or unique — you know, like a secret hideout — about your space?
It's a secret hideout in the basement. I built the walls and the desk. My mom made the door curtain from blackout fabric (back when it was a darkroom), and it's held up for more than 20 years.
What’s next for your electronics workspace? New equipment or tools?
I'm saving up for an RF spectrum analyzer or VNA for some radio projects in the future. 
Complete radio with amplifier inside the professor's electronics den
Complete radio with amplifier
Tell us about your favorite electronics-related project. What did you build? Learn anything interesting?
My latest one — a pulse-counting FM broadcast receiver built with tubes. I designed, simulated, breadboarded, and built it step-by-step. At each step, I made sure I understood and played with all the parts and their values and had good solid performance metrics. I suppose this would be SOP for a real engineer, but I did this on my own as an amateur. I learned a lot about measurements (what you can trust, how to be sure you can trust it), and how incredibly important it is to have good test equipment. Also, I learned about the value and limits of circuit simulation.
What are you working on now?
Right now, I'm fixing a 1973-vintage Wang C-50 calculator. It's TTL-based and more than a little fried. I'm taking it module by module, figuring out the circuit (no schematic available), building a test jig, making sure each part works as I bring it back to life. I find that the fixing is way more fun than the having once it's built, but it is very satisfying to show off things I've worked so hard on.
Do you have a dream project?
I dream of restoring a computer “with blinkenlights” like an old PDP-8 or Data General Nova. There's something very cool about the lights and switches. Again, I'm not sure what I’d do with them, but the fixing would be a ton of fun.
Do you have any tips or advice for other electronics enthusiasts?
Never ever skimp on your tools and test equipment. The good ones are worth every penny. On the one hand, there's nothing more frustrating than fighting with bad or the wrong equipment to see if your project is working; on the other hand, there's nothing more satisfying than a well conducted and definitive test — even if it means your circuit doesn't work. Maybe that's the scientist in me — the importance of measurement.

Enjoy learning about where your peers work on electronics projects? Take a look at these other electronics workspaces.

Show Us Your Electronics Den!

Want to share details about your electronics workspace with Elektor's global community of engineers and makers? Fill out this form so we can follow up with you!