Monday, 14 September 2009

So far so good

I was soldering the remaining components on the dreaded stepper motor driver board last night.
I started with the small components, my fine soldering iron tip and solder wire. Having clipped one of the RJ45 sockets into the board, I discovered that it was impossible to get the other one in due to the ridges on the sides of the components. I carefully unclipped the first, and filed off the ridges on the sides of both RJ45 sockets that will be next to each other on the board.

I did some excellent soldering of the small-leaded components, and I was so impressed I took a photo'....
This is only the fifth time I've soldered. Can I just say woo-hoo!!!! Yeah!

I found that if the solder wire wouldn't melt after more than 4 seconds, cleaning the soldering iron and/or re-tinning and cleaning it improved the heat conduction. I also noted that just 4 dabs of the 0.7 mm solder wire per lead was perfect for these fine leads.

For the break-off 4 way header, I "Blu-Tak"ed the front onto the edge of the board to make a firm fit ready for soldering. I was glad I'd re-mounted the edge electrolytic capacitor because I wouldn't have been able to fit the Molex-style connector otherwise.
For this and the other large-lead components, I swapped to a larger soldering iron tip.
I used 8 dabs of solder wire for each of these larger leads but on inspection I found this left the solder only level with the board rather than beaded, so I went round and did the same again to get a bead! You really need thicker solder wire for such components.

Here is the finished through-hole soldering. You can see the Blu-Tak still attached on the left of the picture.

For the first mega-resistor, I tinned the leads, which had been bent round very carefully to align with the pads without touching any neighbouring components, nor to have the resistor body touching anything. I also tinned the pads, and then used the soldering iron at an angle that prevented contact with the chip/neighbouring capacitors etc to melt it all together using a little more solder to get a firm footing.
This was extremely awkward and took me a long time. I stopped after the first one, so I still have the other to go. I am not looking forward to having to do this on the other 2 boards. Don't buy these resistors!

It was too late to blog afterwards, but I'm afraid that's when I took the photo's, so they're not so good - but my soldering was fantastic!


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