Monday, 31 August 2009

Bank holiday blues

Well, I never did get started on the soldering. Finally we had a dry morning today, so I sorted out the soldering iron - it went outside for a smoke! It took 5 to 10 mins to clear it.
I tried to fit the first resistor into the opto endstop board, starting with one lead and then trying to manipulate the other lead into the right orientation to insert that one through its hole, too, but found that was nigh on impossible - I was in danger of damaging the lead/s. I've been trying to look up better techniques, which turned out to be a difficult task. There is precious little information out there, as everyone starts from just using the soldering iron! It occurred to me that I can't be the only person who doesn't know how to do this.... I did find some in the end.
I've also been refreshing my soldering knowledge, so I have written my own "how-to", starting from absolute basics for those who are utter novices as I am. I shall amend as I go along, and put the tutorial up on the blog when I'm sure I've got it right.
Maybe I'm actually ready to start now.


  1. You should put the end of both leads in the holes and then pull them both at the same time to get it tight to the board.

    The reason is is difficult is that Zach uses 0.3" pitch for 1/4W resistors, whereas it should be 0.4", otherwise, as you say, it you risk cracking the end of the resistor. I told him but he ignored me. Also the pads should be bigger to make soldering easier.

    Good grand prix, but not for the brits!

  2. Persevere! It is a bit of a black art but stick to basic principles. Parts being soldered both need to be hot and everything needs to be clean.

    Once you have your part in place (I bend both leads, pop them through then pull them tight with pliers so the leads are at 45 degrees to the board), wipe your iron on some damp sponge to clean it, wait a few seconds in case that made your iron cold, then apply the tip of the iron to the board so that it is touching the lead and the board at the same time. You can then touch your solder to the same place, it should melt instantly and stick to the pins and the board. You can probably take the iron off straight away and wait until the solder has solidified. The solder should form a miniscus between the board and lead.

    Hope this helps!
    Trim the leads and onto the next component!