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Scared to solder, Need Advice

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Hello I was thinking of buying 2 CTB16PC kits that require soldering, It would save a lot of money. Anyway I'm very bad at soldering, and If I do buy these kits want to be prepared and do not want to throw my money on something I can't get working. dose anyone have soldering advice or tips or anything to say why I should or should not do this. Please help Thanks!  :)

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In my opinion, if you are very bad at soldering, don't try soldering these kits. Either practice soldering until your level of expertise increases, or buy the already bought boards. These boards have a lot of very small parts to solder, and electricity is nothing to fool with. But, with that being said, if you want to solder your own boards, I recommend a soldering station so you can adjust the temperature as need be (they are available relatively inexpensively), a lighted magnifier, a smoke eater (your lungs will thank you), and a circuit board holder. Those 4 items will make your life so much easier.

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There are some good soldering, learning kits that might be worth the small investment and 2nd the soldering station.

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Check with your local high school. Some of them have electronics programs and they would be glad to solder your kit together for you.

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The 3 suggestions I see here are excellent ideas. I buy the CTB16K kits. I agree with Frank , Bisquit476 & JerryMac , and my experience is extensive in soldering so I enjoy building the kits. If you take your time and buy some beginner kits , make sure they are ROHS compliant. I am retired so I have time to do this stuff. But if you are in a bit of a hurry to get your displays going , buy the built boards and buy your own enclosures you may save some money there. You can't rush with soldering though the PCBs that come with the DIY Kits of excellent quality allowing some minor mistakes you can leach ( pull the tinned traces off the circuit board) the circuit pads and traces if they are over heated. If you decide to build them have fun with it! It is a great learning experience.

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The 3 suggestions I see here are excellent ideas. I buy the CTB16K kits. I agree with Frank , Bisquit476 & JerryMac , and my experience is extensive in soldering so I enjoy building the kits. If you take your time and buy some beginner kits , make sure they are ROHS compliant. I am retired so I have time to do this stuff. But if you are in a bit of a hurry to get your displays going , buy the built boards and buy your own enclosures you may save some money there. You can't rush with soldering though the PCBs that come with the DIY Kits of excellent quality allowing some minor mistakes you can leach ( pull the tinned traces off the circuit board) the circuit pads and traces if they are over heated. If you decide to build them have fun with it! It is a great learning experience.

Thanks for the advice, I think I'm going to spend a extra $55 and get the already soldered boards and wire them because I like wiring and it would be a fun thing to do, maybe next year I'll try the solder kits once I'm a bit more prepared for the challenge Thanks!

Check with your local high school. Some of them have electronics programs and they would be glad to solder your kit together for you.

Good idea, Thanks!

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Not sure if anyone has said this already but you really need to be aware of the three second rule. What that means is anytime you are soldering a semi-conductor (any chips, voltage regulators, transistors, or triacs) you should only have your iron heating that component for about three seconds. Otherwise you may damage the component. This doesn't really apply to resistors or capacitors, however I wouldn't recommend leaving my iron on those for more then 10 seconds.   

 

Now with that being said, I think these kits are an excellent way to learn to solder. Just take your time with each step. Wonderfull thing about LOR is if you do damage it they will fix the controller for you, usually free of change.

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On September 29, 2013 at 9:03 AM, Frank Farmer said:

Check with your local high school. Some of them have electronics programs and they would be glad to solder your kit together for you.

Also your states technical schools.... I currently attend a tech school and Ive brought in quite a few of my boards for repair... Way easer to build them in shop then at home... 

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On 9/29/2013 at 9:35 AM, Marty Spain said:

make sure they are ROHS compliant.

Why?  So they will only last a few years?

ROHS compliance pretty much guarantees that whatever you build won't last.  It's a European standard that is largely being pushed onto the rest of the world.  For a lot of consumer electronics, it's not a major problem if the solder joints fail in five years since it is expected that the product will be replaced in two or three years anyway.  For something that you want to use for a decade or two, use lead solder.  Unfortunately, almost all consumer electronics these days are built to the ROHS standard because the manufacturers don't want to build a separate European version, and besides it's better for long term sales since you force your customers to buy a new one every few years.

 

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10 minutes ago, k6ccc said:

Why?  So they will only last a few years?

ROHS compliance pretty much guarantees that whatever you build won't last.  It's a European standard that is largely being pushed onto the rest of the world.  For a lot of consumer electronics, it's not a major problem if the solder joints fail in five years since it is expected that the product will be replaced in two or three years anyway.  For something that you want to use for a decade or two, use lead solder.  Unfortunately, almost all consumer electronics these days are built to the ROHS standard because the manufacturers don't want to build a separate European version, and besides it's better for long term sales since you force your customers to buy a new one every few years.

 

Oh so very true, nothing like my good ol 63/37 solder for perfect joints every time.

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I worked for Motorola for 34 years and was a tech and production manager in SMT . Soldering became second nature repairing many circuit boards at component level using ROHS standards which do make the lead free  or almost lead free solder harder to work with, but if you know your soldering as I have learned this should not be a problem. Using a solder station is better than using a 60W , 100 watt or 600W iron etc.... Using the correct tips and gauge solder is important as well. Wetting the surface to be soldered  is the most critical part to a good solder joint. Adding a little flux before adding solder speeds up the wetting process and proper wicking needed. I never had issues with soldering. It is not for everyone though, it takes practice. 

Hope this helps. 

Marty

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12 minutes ago, Marty Spain said:

I worked for Motorola for 34 years and was a tech and production manager in SMT . Soldering became second nature repairing many circuit boards at component level using ROHS standards which do make the lead free  or almost lead free solder harder to work with, but if you know your soldering as I have learned this should not be a problem. Using a solder station is better than using a 60W , 100 watt or 600W iron etc.... Using the correct tips and gauge solder is important as well. Wetting the surface to be soldered  is the most critical part to a good solder joint. Adding a little flux before adding solder speeds up the wetting process and proper wicking needed. I never had issues with soldering. It is not for everyone though, it takes practice. 

Hope this helps. 

Marty

But us amateurs need the lead  :D

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On 8/30/2016 at 7:31 PM, Marty Spain said:

I worked for Motorola for 34 years and was a tech and production manager in SMT . Soldering became second nature repairing many circuit boards at component level using ROHS standards which do make the lead free  or almost lead free solder harder to work with, but if you know your soldering as I have learned this should not be a problem. Using a solder station is better than using a 60W , 100 watt or 600W iron etc.... Using the correct tips and gauge solder is important as well. Wetting the surface to be soldered  is the most critical part to a good solder joint. Adding a little flux before adding solder speeds up the wetting process and proper wicking needed. I never had issues with soldering. It is not for everyone though, it takes practice. 

Marty,  The ability to solder using lead free solder is only the first half of the problem.  The far bigger one is tin whiskers and that the lead free solder cracks after a few years of use.  The result is that the product develops problems or simply stops working.  The manufacturers don't mind at all because it just means that the end users will have to replace that stereo or TV a few years sooner.

 

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I certainly agree with everyone 63/37 is better. ROHS stuff is more politics than environmentally better. We had to use nitrogen over our solderwave systems because of icicling. Reflow was the latter technology and had its drawbacks also. But for surface mount better and cheaper. Harder to repair with 0102 components! The size of dust particles. That is why the newer LOR controllers are not offered as DIY kits. Sorry to carry on about this but I can't help myself! 

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Wow I did not realize my thread from 2013 was still going, I learned to solder in 2014, I got a good temperature controlled hakko soldering station I have gone as far as getting a stereo microscope for very small SMD components and now I build EVERYTHING as kits! And I even design my own custom lighting controllers that run the renard protocol.

Building everything myself has given me a great sense of pride and life skills that can be transferred into other hobbies.

So this is a little update to this thread and luckily there was a happy end for me.

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