New to soldering, soldering prototypes sucks

Thread Starter

Travm

Joined Aug 16, 2016
324
So this took me two hours, and in my opinion, looks like trash.
It works though...
This is just step one, its the switching PSU for my project.
Can someone who knows soldering let me know what they think? I feel like i suck at it.
IMG_20161112_135611638 1.jpg
IMG_20161112_135619426.jpg
 

Thread Starter

Travm

Joined Aug 16, 2016
324
Can't wait for this prototype to work so I can order some 1st rev PCBs. I feel like it will be way easier to solder through hole parts on a properly manufactured PCB.
Another 2 hours in and I've just got the sockets positioned and soldered in. Getting better at soldering pins though.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
10,544
Can't wait for this prototype to work so I can order some 1st rev PCBs. I feel like it will be way easier to solder through hole parts on a properly manufactured PCB.
Another 2 hours in and I've just got the sockets positioned and soldered in. Getting better at soldering pins though.
Soldering to plated through holes is easier. Several companies are selling prototype boards with plated through holes. I have been using SparkFun's boards, which are available in different sizes. I like the strip and bus connections they have.

Here's a portion of one I did using their medium board:
upload_2016-11-13_15-49-25.png


John
 

Kermit2

Joined Feb 5, 2010
4,162
A quick twist of some 400 grit emery cloth or sandpaper on component leads will make solder more likely to flow smoothly all around a joint or bend.
The newer lead free alloy IS harder to work with and shiny clean metal surfaces are even more important in getting good results with it.
 

Thread Starter

Travm

Joined Aug 16, 2016
324
Soldering to plated through holes is easier. Several companies are selling prototype boards with plated through holes. I have been using SparkFun's boards, which are available in different sizes. I like the strip and bus connections they have.

Here's a portion of one I did using their medium board


John
what is this white stuff you have over the resistor leads? brilliant.

I saw those boards, but i balked at the price. I suppose i'm paying the price for using cheap chinese garbage...
Rev 1 boards will be better i hope. Although i was planning on using PCBway to make the first round of boards. They might be just as crumby.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
10,544
I use either thin Teflon tubing or Kynar spaghetti tubing. The latter is readily available from electronic distributors. The former from places like McMaster-Carr. I have quite an assortment from various non-electronic projects. In the example, I think it is Teflon. I actually prefer the Kynar as it is thinner. You can get in colors too. Teflon had a higher temperature rating.

The wire is 24 awg with Kynar insulation. I much prefer that type over PVC for its temperature rating and the fact that it doesn't melt back so badly. I have found vendor prices to vary greatly for it, so shop around.

John
 

Thread Starter

Travm

Joined Aug 16, 2016
324
I use either thin Teflon tubing or Kynar spaghetti tubing. The latter is readily available from electronic distributors. The former from places like McMaster-Carr. I have quite an assortment from various non-electronic projects. In the example, I think it is Teflon. I actually prefer the Kynar as it is thinner. You can get in colors too. Teflon had a higher temperature rating.

The wire is 24 awg with Kynar insulation. I much prefer that type over PVC for its temperature rating and the fact that it doesn't melt back so badly. I have found vendor prices to vary greatly for it, so shop around.

John
So I'm just winging my layout, not because I don't know I shouldn't, but because I can't find(or haven't looked) a proper prototype layout tool. I have actually designed my finished product on Cad but what I'm doing first cannot look like my finished product. How should I be laying out the prototype phase?
I made a full schematic, but found myself modifying it on the fly because resistor leads were only so long and had to go to wherever they could. I intend to return to the schematic at rev 1.
It's this wrong?

This might be worth another post because it has nothing to do with soldering.
Also I'm only quoting you because your prototype looks very well laid out.
 

ErnieM

Joined Apr 24, 2011
8,058
Your boards are dirt cheap Chinese boards. For not much more myChinese boards come with tinned plated thru holes.

Look for the green boards, come in any sizes thu EBay. I will add a link when I get back to my PC.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
10,544
So I'm just winging my layout, not because I don't know I shouldn't, but because I can't find(or haven't looked) a proper prototype layout tool.
I use Eagle for laying out my breadboards. It may not be as tarted up as Fritzing and others, but it allows schematic capture. Just make an "overlay" for whatever prototype board you have, put it on a 0.1" grid with grid visible, and route away. I use dimension layer for the overlay, but almost any layer will work.

Here is the SF overlay I used:
upload_2016-11-14_4-39-54.png

Since my version allows only 2 signal layers, I loosely follow one of 2 conventions depending on which seems clearer to me for a particular project. In this case, existing or implied connections on the protoboard are red and added wires are blue. This is a small section of the design for what I posted above:

upload_2016-11-14_4-47-58.png

Non-connects are small x's or short bars. The bar indicates a cut; the x indicates a connection implied by the image/part location that is not made, e.g., a pad on the package of a TH device. I cut the traces between holes with a very small burr and Dremel rather than drill the hole. Holes are valuable real estate.

John
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
25,701
A common error in soldering is to use too much solder.
You want just enough to coat the surfaces, but not so much that the outline of the wire is not visible.

 

Thread Starter

Travm

Joined Aug 16, 2016
324
And not enough wetting compound (flux).

Your board doesn't look bad at all. The only suggestion I would have is to minimize the "tails" that show up on your board on the soldered side.
You reminded me that I'm not using flux, I do have a bottle of lead free solder flux that I use for plumbing... I assume i could just use that until i buy something better. That explains why my tip stopped wetting out really well.
 

SLK001

Joined Nov 29, 2011
1,548
You reminded me that I'm not using flux, I do have a bottle of lead free solder flux that I use for plumbing... I assume i could just use that until i buy something better. That explains why my tip stopped wetting out really well.
Do NOT use that flux for soldering electronic circuits. That is an ACID flux and will slowly eat away at your circuit. Your best bet would be to purchase some 60/40 (tin/lead) solder with an integrated flux core for your soldering of electronics.
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
25,701
Buy some rosin flux designed for soldering electronic circuits.
Using a little of that flux on the joints before soldering will make soldering much easier, even if you also you use rosin-core solder.
 
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