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Thread: Hand soldering, building, prototyping

  1. #1

    Hand soldering, building, prototyping

    <Cross posted for further dicussion>

    I think this warrants a new forum topic, because parts are getting smaller all the time. Maybe this will bring about a new tutorial.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrenalynn View Post
    Thank you for the compliments! Soldering is just practice and technique. Having good tools doesn't hurt, but really it comes down to practice and developing what works best for you.
    I have a good soldering station (Weller WES51 with a 0.4mm tip), but need some other things like a good magnifying lamp and a vice to hold stuff while soldering.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrenalynn View Post
    I was born with a soldering-iron in my hand - I've been soldering since I was 6. When SMT came to pass, everyone said "oh woe is us! That's the end of hand soldering!" - and then we all learned to do it. I reworked the first SMD I ever saw in the wild.
    I want to learn how to solder those QFP, QFN, SOIC, TSOP, etc chips. I'm just not sure what the best way to go about it is. I did electronic assembly for a medical electronics company for 4 years, but that was many years ago. I'm just starting to get back into soldering (proto board stuff) now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrenalynn View Post
    I would still be happy to do any of the rework when you're ready. Just let me know and I'll pick up a board, rework it, and send it off to you.

    I'd personally still get the RS-232 just to future-proof yourself. It's dirt cheap and then you can swap back and forth whenever you want.
    I will let you know when I am ready and have the money to pay for the board and needed parts. I definitely want a Make Controller at some point. It's too cool of a board to not have one.

    8-Dale
    I can handle complexity. It's the simple things that confound me.
    Do everything in moderation, ESPECIALLY, moderation..
    Sometimes the only way to win, is not to play.. -- Stephen Falken

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    Re: Hand soldering, building, prototyping

    I have a tutorial in the works for SMT/SMD. It's about half photographed. More later - work calls!

  3. Re: Hand soldering, building, prototyping

    Quote Originally Posted by robotguy View Post
    I have a good soldering station (Weller WES51 with a 0.4mm tip), but need some other things like a good magnifying lamp and a vice to hold stuff while soldering.

    I use a head-mounted magnifier for all of the soldering I do. I have a magnifying lamp, which provides great light, but I find having the lenses move with my head works a lot better.

    I have a couple different vises that I use for holding boards, and one of those Radio Shack "helping hands" things to hold small parts.

    One thing that helps a lot in lieu of a third hand is liquid flux. I have it in a bottle with a brush inside the cap, and I apply it to both pieces being soldered, and then pre-tin the parts. Then you can add a dab of solder to the tip of the iron, and use one hand for the iron and one hand for the part.

    For chips, flux is really important. Getting the chip aligned right is critical, and then you can tack down two opposite corner pins. It doesn't matter a lot how messy it is, as long as the pins are exposed, and you have liquid flux and a good solder braid to clean it up after.

    For most of my surface mount stuff, I use a simple reflow oven I made, some very inexpensive stencils (http://www.smtstencil.com), and solder paste.

    - Jon

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