Basic Electronics (Soldering, etc)

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by KansaiRobot, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. KansaiRobot

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jan 15, 2010
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    Hello everybody. Thanks for all the help.

    I have a confession to make, I have the hands of a monkey :eek: so, so far when implementing the rather basic projects I have worked on, I usually use a breadboard where I put all the electronics...

    The things is I ve never passed to the soldering stage, and I am quite ignorant about that. However I would like to learn how to do this, (mind you I don't even know the correct names for this:() , while at the same time learning basic electronics. If I can combine this with interesting programmable things the better (I was doing some CAN network experiments the other day on a custom board built by a colleague) but that is not a requirement. I am open to start with the basics

    Is there any resource, book, tutorial, video or anything that can teach me this? I have soldering tools, and these pieces of plastics with holes (yeah I know that must sound quite ignorant but I dont know the name) where you put your electronics.

    Thanks for the help in advance
     
  2. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    Search for "soldering tutorials" on Youtube and you'll find quite a few hits that show you how to solder. There are a lot of little tips and tricks, some of which you'll need to find for yourself through experience, but for general knowledge online tutorials are a great place to start.

    Regards,
    Matt
     
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  3. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
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  4. KansaiRobot

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jan 15, 2010
    318
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    Thank you very much.

    So I am reading about what I have and I think I have either stripboards or a perfboards . I wonder which one? What are the differences between these?

    Do stripboards have lines connecting their holes like breadboards?
     
  5. djsfantasi

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 11, 2010
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    Yes. Perfboard just has holes; stripboard connects the holes in a line. However in a different layout from a breadboard. Stripboard separates the connections by cutting the copper with a knife or drilling a gap in the line. Here is a picture.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. sirch2

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2013
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    Just a few words on soldering - CLEAN and FLUX. Beginners tend to think soldering is about applying a soldering iron and some solder. Then they find the solder forms a ball on the end of the iron, or won't flow on to the copper.

    Generally in electronics the leads and copper tracks are clean enough but if the solder isn't flowing, clean the parts. You do need to clean the end of your soldering iron regularly so that it is "wetted" by the solder

    Flux is essential, most solder for electronics has flux included within it. Flux stops the copper oxidizing as you heat it with the iron and so allows the solder to flow on to the copper.
     
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  7. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    You may be interested in this thread. I ended up with perfboard because it is what I'm familiar with but there were many votes for going with stripboard (as shown above).

    There are also good threads on soldering equipment. I got an el-cheapo soldering station from Parts Express on sale with some spare tips and have been very happy with it. You don't have to spend a fortune. I had used even cheaper soldering tools in the past and was not so happy with those. I got tired of those when I found that replacement tips were either unavailable or cost more than the iron itself.
     
  8. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    TINNING is another thing that is extremely important. A lot of newbies don't know that they must tin the tip of their iron multiple times throughout their soldering session. This helps prevent the tip from oxidizing. In order to properly tin the tip, solder should be applied to the iron WHILE it is heating up. This prevents the solder from simply balling up.

    As mentioned before, most electronics soldering does not require high temperatures. 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius) is usually plenty of heat.
     
  9. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
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    Everyday Practical Electronics (EPE) published a basic soldering tutorial/guide - its pretty much all over the web.
     
  10. ISB123

    Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2014
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    Cant beat this classic!

    Watch all the parts and you will be ready for any task!

     
  11. KansaiRobot

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jan 15, 2010
    318
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    So I ve found I have several perfboards. (double sided). I understand how to solder the components (say resistors etc) to the holes.
    Now my question is, these holes are not connected so how do I connect one to another?

    I 've seen photos where there are like a line of metal going from one point to another, and I supposed it was solder being let run from one place to the other
    but now I ve read about something called wiring pen. Is that what I have to use??

    (I ve got some books on electronic projects and all of them say "prepare your breadboard"... no one covers the stuff I am asking :(
     
  12. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    Gotta love phrases like "prepare your breadboard"...complete laziness on the author's part.

    My #1 choice for breadboarding is the perfboards that is just a sea of unconnected holes. My stuff just gets too complicated to worry about strip boards, and I have learned to avoid boards made with just copper on a light substrate: the copper lifts way too easily and tarnished too fast so it needs to be cleaned (usually steel wool but a pencil eraser also works). I get my boards off Ebay from Chine. They are cheap but very good, rugged pads pre-tinned so they don't tarnish and are easy to solder.

    I don't flow solder to make connections, I use wire. I have some #26 solid bus wire (no insulation) I lay down first for power connections, soldering it to the donut holes. Then I have #30 (or #32?) insulated wire and a fork-like stripper (left over from the wire wrap days) where I strip the ends and tack solder (no wrap just touch as in surface mount leads).

    "Wiring pen" sounds like some companies product. I may have used one way back, it was solid wire covered by a thin insulation that was barely possible to remove by heating with an iron. It was horrible stuff. :confused:
     
  13. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    My procedure is very much like Ernie just described except that I do use solder flow for the short connections, one or two gaps or around a corner. For longer, straight tracks I use a piece of excess lead that was clipped off a resistor. (I save those excess pieces in anticipation.) If nothing else, the wire helps to make it far easier to flow the solder over a gap.

    Knowing in advance that I'll be laying those wire segments, I plan my layout to make straight tracks as often and as long as possible, although that's secondary to getting the components close together and neatly organized.
     
  14. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    I use the Ernie method, too, except I have a roll of enameled 30 ga. wire that I strip with my pocket knife. It's good for 100 ma according to the last look-up I did...probably 25 years ago. My standard advice is: Soldering is like painting, it's 90% preparation. If you do your prep work right, the solder will literally jump into place. This applies to everything from SMT devices to pipes on a water heater where solder will climb straight up to get into a joint (capillary attraction).

    ps, it's good to have a pointy thing to stick in the holes when you have to do a 90 degree turn. It makes the job nice and neat. The pointy thing must be unsolderable, like a stainless steel dental pick, but a jewelers screwdriver will work, too.
     
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  15. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
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    A cheaper way of constructing first proof of concept prototypes is dead-bug/birdsnest.

    It doesn't have to be random and scrappy, get some small reels of 18, 20 & 22 SWG tinned copper wire, stretching the wire so its completely straight - this contributes to the neatness of an otherwise scrappy construction method. Lay out the supply rails with lengths of the thicker wire and build up from there with the components and short links of thinner wire.

    Small circuits can become permanent in a container such as a tobacco tin - the ground rail can be soldered directly to the inside of the tin, any supply rails can be secured and insulated by cutting a small square of PCB material and gluing it in place to provide a soldering point.

    A method apparently popular with radio hams, is to get hold of a pile of PCB offcuts (preferably scrounge some decent size bits while you're at it). Sections of PCB material can be soldered together to make simple cases - components are soldered to little "islands" of PCB material glued to the main board which acts as a ground plane.

    A small hole plier-punch can be used for knocking out the little "island" blanks for gluing in place.
     
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  16. JohnInTX

    Moderator

    Jun 26, 2012
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    Consider getting a pair of safety glasses and a small fan. Sometimes an inexperienced solderer will touch up or unsolder a wire with tension on it only to have it flip loose and fling hot solder into their face. (I've done that!) A small fan drawing air away from the board (not blowing on it) will reduce fumes where your nose is.
     
  17. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    I thought you meant for bending the wire, but that would not require unsolderable (a new word?) material. Are you using the pointy thing while soldering? I don't see how that would help.
     
  18. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    I believe he meant that you place the "unsolderable" pin into one of the holes right where you want the bend in the wire, then bend your wire against it to give you a perfect 90-degree turn.
     
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  19. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    That's what I envisioned, but if it's just wire bending, why would you care what it's made of?
     
  20. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    Because you'll probably want to tack the wire at the bend to make sure it doesn't slip. That would be my guess, anyway.
     
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