Soldering station / iron suggestion by a blind person

Thread Starter

soc7

Joined Dec 19, 2019
9
I'm totally blind and looking for suggestions on which soldering station or iron other blind people use. I'll be working mostly with discrete components, and some ICs. I'll also be working with connectors, such as PL259 and SO239 connectors. I'll be using lead-free solder.

Additionally, I'd appreciate any guidance on techniques for soldering as a blind person.

Thank you.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
10,019
Welcome to AAC!
I'm totally blind
Do you mean legally blind? Totally blind would imply that you can't see at all.

I've known a couple people who were legally blind, but had limited vision. One worked as a software engineer and had a monitor of some sort that let her see well enough to do her work. She gave classes in cutting snowflakes from paper, but couldn't see well enough to walk unaided.
 

Dodgydave

Joined Jun 22, 2012
8,820
If your Totally Blind, how can see what you've typed on this forum????

I think you mean Legally Blind, partial vision..
 

Thread Starter

soc7

Joined Dec 19, 2019
9
Thanks to be80be for the link to Smith-Kettlewell.

Dennis, I have no vision. Thanks for the welcome.

I'm still looking for guidance on choosing between a soldering station and a soldering iron. the former will limit the heat while the tool is in its stand and plugged in. While saving a few dollars is not critical, the latter, generally, costs less. And the lead-free solder requires a higher temperature -- 750 degrees Fahrenheit, which may play a part in choosing between a station an iron.

So, I have three questions:
1) Station or iron?
2) In either case, what brand and model have you, as a blind person and using lead-free solder, been happy with?
3) Do you use a "Third hand" to keep things in place while soldering?If not, how do you deal with this?

Thanks.
 

Alec_t

Joined Sep 17, 2013
10,907
Sorry if this is off-topic, but I'm curious as to how you identify the values of resistors etc if you can't see colour bands or other markings?
 

joeyd999

Joined Jun 6, 2011
4,331
Solder by Braille? Burnt fingertips, no? :)

Sorry -- I mean no offense regarding your disability, and I think its great if you can successfully solder blind with any soldering system. But I just can't imagine not only soldering sight unseen, but inspecting ones joints after soldering.

Soldering well with good eyes is an acquired skill -- and one that some never master.

If you have some sight, I strongly suggest a good binocular microscope. Heck, I need one (due to mild presbyopia) -- and my eyes are (in general) fine.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
1,810
There several difficulties to overcome as parts are not marked in braille. Part Value & Polarity, Solder Fluidity/Flow, Iron Tip Tinning/Cleaning, Type of Solder ie lead/tin mixture, Flux Application, etc. Some will require some assistance I'm afraid. Good Luck and Welcome to AAC! Best Regards, Sam
 

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
157
Thanks to be80be for the link to Smith-Kettlewell.

Dennis, I have no vision. Thanks for the welcome.

I'm still looking for guidance on choosing between a soldering station and a soldering iron. the former will limit the heat while the tool is in its stand and plugged in. While saving a few dollars is not critical, the latter, generally, costs less. And the lead-free solder requires a higher temperature -- 750 degrees Fahrenheit, which may play a part in choosing between a station an iron.

So, I have three questions:
1) Station or iron?
2) In either case, what brand and model have you, as a blind person and using lead-free solder, been happy with?
3) Do you use a "Third hand" to keep things in place while soldering?If not, how do you deal with this?

Thanks.
It is not possible I'm afraid.
 

Thread Starter

soc7

Joined Dec 19, 2019
9
Alec, I use a talking Digital MultiMeter (DMM) to find out values such as component resistance, component capacitance, voltage drops, current, frequency etc. You learn to accept the fact that everything takes more time to do without sight. Unfortunately, there's no work-around for using an oscillascope.

Joey, beats trying to solder by taste. I'm glad your sight is fairly good.

Sam, I have no doubt that soldering will be a challenge. Differing lead lengths helps with capacitors, LEDs and the like. My talking DMM's diode test solves the diode polarity problem. BJTs are no problem, either. Thanks for the welcome.

ApacheKid and Dennis, I guess I'll find out if soldering is impossible for me. There have been a number of totally blind people who have been successful at soldering. Unfortunately, the only blind person with soldering experience I've been able to reach didn't make a lot of sense. I wonder how much of that had to do with his fifty-plus years using lead-based solder.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
1,810
I wonder how much of that had to do with his fifty-plus years using lead-based solder.
I may be a bit crazy, but I don't blame it on lead solder. That will be another challenge to face as the lead free stuff is more difficult to work with. Good Luck and lets us know how it works out. Stay in touch. Sam
 

narkeleptk

Joined Mar 11, 2019
393
Not sure what your looking for but something simple like the X-Tronic model 3020 XTS may work ok for you. It has a simple layout for solder, sponge, tip cleaner and iron holder. It has some nice features too including one my favorite's, Auto Sleep. Another nice effect I would think for someone who can not see would be the heat is controlled by a nice knob that ranges from 200°C to 480°.

Link is here:
https://xtronicusa.com/X-Tronic-Model-3020-XTS-LED-Display-Soldering-Station-p74220205
 

Thread Starter

soc7

Joined Dec 19, 2019
9
dodgyDave, I mean "totally blind". I use screen reading software. It lets the computer or smart-device speak as I navigate or type. I'm new to AAC, so I don't want to stray off electronic-related topics, so I'll say again that I use a talking DMM to measure components and circuit performance.

narkeleptk, thanks for the link. I'll check it out.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
20,231
If your Totally Blind, how can see what you've typed on this forum????

I think you mean Legally Blind, partial vision..
I have a colleague who is totally blind from birth. He works as a computer programmer for a well known software company.
Many years ago he and I together created one of the world's first text-to-speech systems that allowed him to read and type on a computer system. With it, he is able to move the cursor around the screen and the system would speak out the words selected. Similarly, he is able to type on the keyboard and the system would speak out letters or words as he typed.
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
6,154
If you can accept that a computer can take output text and read it, it not a big jump to read input text. Somewhere in the computer, both instances of text are accessible for a reading program.

Someone else also stated the problem I see. On a tight PCB, how does one match PCB hole and component lead? How does one tell if the solder and soldering iron tip are at the correct spot? And once that’s resolved, how do you tell if the solder has melted? ...has wet both pad and component? ...and is the correct amount of solder? ...finally how does one tell that you don’t have a solder bridge ?

Not saying it can’t be done. I just want to learn how.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
20,231
I know my friend has done soldering in the past. I will try to reach him.
One method is to use an imaging device (i.e. USB camera) and get the computer to identify what's on the board.
 

Thread Starter

soc7

Joined Dec 19, 2019
9
MrChips, I'd be interested in knowing which station or iron your friend uses when soldering and learning about his or her soldering technique.
 
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