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DIYstompboxes.com  |  Projects  |  Beginner Project  |  Soldering is hard! 0 and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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: Soldering is hard!  ( 15718 )
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Soldering is hard!
« : July 25, 2010, 02:46:17 PM »

Hey guys, I picked up some perfboard and a soldering iron today. I'm happy to finally begin my pedal making journey! I also got some wire to practice soldering. I watched the soldering video on tangent, and he makes it look to easy! I took pictures of my first few tries. Are any of these good at all?

Bad Chizzle
: 151

Charles D

Re: Soldering is hard!
« #1 : July 25, 2010, 03:13:22 PM »

Some of them look really nice! Clearly you want to stay to as few points as possible. The ones that are best lay down nicely contain the entire wire and copper circle. But, perfection is not needed. I think you're doing a good job! You're not going crazy with the solder, and that's the way to be. So, yeah, when they lay down nicely and don't blob, and they are shiny such as what you've done, then it's all good! I think the fifth from the left may be your best.


I dig hot Asian chicks!
: 353

Re: Soldering is hard!
« #2 : July 25, 2010, 04:02:47 PM »

Good start!  It's a little bit hard to see the results from the pics, But I will offer a few comments.  I WILL be super picky so you can see some of the issues.

First:  a lot of frayed ends.  If you are using stranded wire, carefully twist the strands before inserting the wire through the board.  You might even want to "tin" them together before making the connection (a little bit of sloder fusing the strands together).

From the left to the right:

1:  looks OK if you were intending to also catch the next pad.

Next four:  look OK, but there might be an issue for some of getting the solder to flow out onto the pad.  More heat.

Sixth in.  Big blob.  If this was intended to bridge to the next row of pads it is fine. Otherwise, A bit too much solder at the side of the joint away from the iron and let it flow around the joint.

#7  (also #8).  Here lurks a problem.  The solder has formed a ball that clings to the wire, but it does not look like it has made a good contact with the pad on the PC.   This could be the source of a hard to find problem down the road.

Try this technique.  Get everything ready with a clean board and wires on the components.  It is important that the iron makes good contact with the board AND the components for good heat transfer.  It helps to melt a small touch of solder on the tip of the iron just before contacting the connection to help make good thermal contact with the joint.   Make certain that the tip of your iron is making a good contact with the pad on the PC AND the wire of the component.  Touch the solder on the side away from the iron and let the solder flow around the joint.  It is true that too much heat can destroy components, but too little heat (or heat applied in the wrong way) can lead to bad solder connections.  A HOT iron and a quick touch works better than a cold iron slowly bringing a connection up to heat while cooking the components. 

Practice trying to use a good hot iron, with clean pads and wires and a quick "in and out" technique.  You might also explore using some additional flux (many "felt-tip" pens available) if you have problems.
: 6

Re: Soldering is hard!
« #3 : July 25, 2010, 04:10:35 PM »

Thanks a lot guys! KazooMan, I thought I needed more heat, but I used steel wool to clean my iron, which kept melting. I would clean some of it properly but there would be blobs of melted wool on the tip. What is a wet sponge? Is it some technical soldering term or is it just a sponge that is wet?

Also, about the frayed wires: I didn't really care about them because I was focusing more on soldering properly. I used the first 1/8 roll of wire practicing stripping wire while twisting, and I think I have it down pretty good.

Once again, thanks for the suppot and suggestions, it is much appreciated!

EDIT: So I want a bit of solder on the tip of my iron?
« : July 25, 2010, 04:19:39 PM ace76543 »
: 953

Re: Soldering is hard!
« #4 : July 25, 2010, 06:32:18 PM »

EDIT: So I want a bit of solder on the tip of my iron?

It's called wetting the iron. No blob or glob of solder needed, just make the tip shiny and wet with solder. That conducts heat much better than a dry iron.

You've got a fair start. Just takes practice. After a few thousand joints you'll be much better.

My Blog of FX, Gear and Amp Services and DIY Info
: 372

David Y.

Re: Soldering is hard!
« #5 : July 26, 2010, 12:19:38 AM »

.... What is a wet sponge? Is it some technical soldering term or is it just a sponge that is wet?....

it's simply a wet sponge .... any sponge that you can find at pretty much any store will work fine ... ( i bought a 2-pack of sponges at Wal-Mart and then cut it up into 2 inch squares ) .... just wet your sponge with water and wring it out ... simply clean the tip at regular intervals ... ( this produces a satisfying "ssssss"  noise :icon_smile: ... which also lets you know that the tip of your iron is hot )

EDIT: So I want a bit of solder on the tip of my iron?

yes.  that way your iron is "tinned" .... it allows a better transfer of heat to the leads of your parts ...
« : July 26, 2010, 12:22:30 AM stringsthings »
: 353

Re: Soldering is hard!
« #6 : July 26, 2010, 01:31:46 AM »

The others answered your questions, but I have one more comment.  Try again with the wire well twisted.  All of the loose ends are acting like little radiators draining the heat away from your work. 

Also, see this thread:

: 6

Re: Soldering is hard!
« #7 : July 26, 2010, 02:33:03 AM »

Hm, I never thought of that KazooMan.

Kind of off topic, but does smallbear ship to canada? If not, any sites that do?

EDIT: K so my BYOC confidence boost came in today and I open the package and my confidence is not very boosted. Has anyone built this before? How do I know which resistor is which? What are those little blue things? I'm so lost...
« : July 26, 2010, 06:32:40 AM ace76543 »
: 6

Re: Soldering is hard!
« #8 : July 26, 2010, 06:47:58 AM »

I can't edit again..sorry. I know the band code thing but how do I tell which end is which? I'm looking at one resistor and it could be 1k or it could be 10k.

EDIT: How do you know which pin on an op amp is positive?



any good?
« : July 26, 2010, 07:47:33 AM ace76543 »
: 8

Re: Soldering is hard!
« #9 : July 26, 2010, 08:49:33 AM »

1K will be brown-black-black-brown if 1% (resistors are blue) or brown-black-red if 5% (resistors are cream colored). If you line 'em all up, you'll see that the tolerance band is off to the side a little bit and since they all have the same tolerance in the kit (I hope) you'll have a bunch of brown or gold bands lined up on the right and the 3 or 4 value bands to the left.

The op amp will have a little circle  (or a notch or indentation) on one end. Match that to the notch on the outline printed on the PCB. It's explained in the CB instructions. (Which you should be following - those resistors should go in first.)

You want to trim your component leads MUCH shorter - right down to the top of the solder. Soldering looks pretty good, BTW.
: 6

Re: Soldering is hard!
« #10 : July 26, 2010, 09:11:36 AM »

Yeah I'm gonna trim em at the end. And I have 5 band resistors, not 4, and there's only 1 with a gold band.  ???
« : July 26, 2010, 09:23:32 AM ace76543 »
: 353

Re: Soldering is hard!
« #11 : July 26, 2010, 12:50:07 PM »

Google "resistor color code" and you will find many good images of charts that show the codes.

If you have the blue film resistors, they must be 1% tolerance and should have a brown band at one end.  Read the code from the other end.

It appears that you are new to building pedals.  I would highly recommend investing (a SMALL amount) in a digital multimeter.  You can find one on-line, or at Sears, or at Radio Shack, or Harbor Freight Tools, or a zillion other places.  You can spend anywhere from ten bucks to hundreds.  For right now, a real cheapie will do.  You want a unit that can measure resistance, voltages, and prehaps continuity (with a "beep") to show a good connection between two points.  

If you are unsure about a resistor code there is nothing like having a meter reading to back you up.

Once you get into any more advanced circuits, a good meter will help you troubleshoot problems (and perhaps more imporatantly, the readings can help others with much more experience to point you towards a solution).
: 6

Re: Soldering is hard!
« #12 : July 27, 2010, 03:03:38 PM »

Pedal Complete! It's buzzing a bit but I'll work it out. If I have any more questions I won't hesitate to ask, thanks a lot guys!
: 14

Re: Soldering is hard!
« #13 : January 30, 2011, 10:31:22 AM »

tips for soldering.

• carefully place components into perf board one at a time as soldering. start with the ic if using one. carefully bend ic pins at 90║ to hold it steadily in place for soldering.

• using a veroboard, striped pc board, or matching (looks just like solderless breadboard layout, but with copper clad holes for soldering) board as opposed to a board with just copper clad holes will make for neater and easier soldering. also, if you print your own boards like the pros do, more power to ya!

• cleanliness is next to godliness. clean leeds on resistors, caps etc with a fine grit sand paper. this will make the leeds more porous and will make the solder flow into them easier. electronic contact cleaner is good too, spray some of that on components and let dry before soldering. (caution, spray AWAY from soldering iron!).

• melt a tiny bit of solder on the tip of the iron first. then apply solder lightly to the components you want to fuse together. this will make the solder flow cleaner and more cohesively.

• a lil' dab'll do ya! lol! note the word "lightly" above, only use the amount of solder you need.

• test solder joint you just made. using a chopstick or some non-conductive "stick", lightly tap on the solder joint to make sure it is strong and does not break.

• examine the colour of solder joint. it it is hazy or milky looking, then it is likely to be a "cold" or "dry" solder joint. if this is the case, re-melt with hot soldering iron.

• have damp sponge on soldering station. cool iron tip after each solder joint is made. notice i said "damp sponge" and not "bowl of water"! be safe!

good luck!
: 5


Re: Soldering is hard!
« #14 : March 29, 2011, 09:16:24 PM »


i have read a lot about how hard it is to start soldering, i find myself once in the same situation, technique gets better though :).

few other tips, or maybe some already answered:

a. Always clean your verboard or perf board solder pad, i use a fine grain sand paper i can find, or sometimes i washed the board with a scotch-brite. A clean solder pads always helps to get the tin stick very well.

b. Always clean component leads before soldering, the easiest way for me to clean it with a small knife, make sure all those dirt or whatever it is scraped away from the component lead, just dont do it too hard, you might cause the lead too thin, or cut your finger.

c. Get a good soldering iron, with enough heat, i have a couple of 40watt goot iron with different tip sizes, these should last very long without excessive/abusive use. It is not recommended to use the solder tip to move around component lead or wires,, put the iron down, use a small long nose plier, and resolder. sometime i do get tempted to do this because i am too lazy, end up replacing solder tips quite a few times in short period.

d. Get a good solder flux, these helps very much, carefull not to make the flux dirty with other material, these to make sure that the solder tip will stay clean.

e. Get solder iron sponge, dont forget to water it before use. i do find using this very helpful to clean the tip. remove any dirt or material being left off in the sponge.

f. Get a few different size of tin, smaller pad use smaller tin, bigger pads/terminal use bigger tin, its not always practical, but IMO, this reduce the amount of time to solder, which sometime too long will damage your component... and dont forget to get a good tin quality, not necessarily the expensive silver tin though :)

g. Always put the iron on the iron holder, for safety and not causing the iron to burn something else when you put it anywhere you like... and belive me again, i came across to an electric shock because the iron burns the line cord and left the wire open... bzzzzztttt... there you go... :(. give clearence where you put your irons and watch where the line cord going on your workbench.

i belive theres more about soldering iron, i write some more later :) i find the best way to use iron is to be a little bit patient, keep distance from you eyes, use safety goggles is recommended... oh yeah, dont use shorts while soldering :) ... i dont want to elaborate more on this particular issue :D

later guys!
« : March 29, 2011, 09:19:06 PM casiomax »
: 1400

Dave.S / Dave Seether

Re: Soldering is hard!
« #15 : April 17, 2011, 07:41:55 AM »

What kind / brand of soldering irons do you use ?
I use the Goot 30W standard nichrome series , not too bad , but recovery time is quite fast , but i can't tin/solder 20AWG wire properly  :icon_mrgreen:
( using standard goot tip , changed 1 time )
Your perfboard hasn't started to oxidise , but it's fine , you would be able to cope ,
perfboard solder bridging is hard at first , but many boards later you will master it .

Usually , don't splash solder on the tip yet , but solder with the soldering lead touching the component , this works for pcb , and anything else , as flux would be boiled instantly and wasted as air  :icon_mrgreen:

Oh , Safety goggles is not necessary unless you are soldering at eye level , which is extremely uncomfortable , i always sit on the floor , with a table of normal height .
Usually i would put those extremely thick A3 Art paper on the table and solder there and just leave it there forever , it helps .
( You should use 60/40 leaded solder , with flux please . )
Unless you are so careless with the solder , or have too much , swinging out towards your legs will drop them on your precious legs and leave a scar , you don't want that to happen , flux will fall downwards , that's a law . ( and flux usually doesn't hurt unless your solder has alot of flux , then it's time to change solders .
I have been soldering for the past year and it's horribly fun ;)

And also , you should invest on a decent helping hand ( it's like a savior . )
If you solder frequently , but is currently very pissed off at a normal soldering pen's inflexibility , invest on a soldering station , it helps , and it's employment of low voltage high current makes soldering a better deal . )

Do you have a iron holder by the way ?

: 87

Re: Soldering is hard!
« #16 : May 04, 2011, 09:59:47 PM »

When finished soldering, always put a lot of soldering iron on the tip while it's cooling. It protects the soldering tip from oxidizing when not in use...
And I recommend Weller soldering irons...

Let's have phun!
: 1742

dare to be na´ve

Re: Soldering is hard!
« #17 : June 14, 2011, 02:01:03 PM »

soldering is easy a comic book guide

: 3

Re: Soldering is hard!
« #18 : September 28, 2011, 04:36:31 AM »

I just soldered my first joints last night and they look pretty decent, maybe not perfect.

Question, is it okay to desolder a cap and then try again for a better joint on the same cap?  Or should I just try again with a new cap? 

Sorry if this is already answered in a FAQ, but I didn't see the question.  Any help is appreciated!

: 332

Re: Soldering is hard!
« #19 : September 28, 2011, 05:34:20 AM »

I just soldered my first joints last night and they look pretty decent, maybe not perfect.

Question, is it okay to desolder a cap and then try again for a better joint on the same cap?  Or should I just try again with a new cap? 

Sorry if this is already answered in a FAQ, but I didn't see the question.  Any help is appreciated!

Nah, it's ok to use the same capacitor. Just desolder and try again.  ;)
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