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EDM Soldering Question


jim6918
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OK I will admit up front, my soldering skills are pretty basic. I am pretty much an "all thumbs" kinda guy. Just how much skill does it take to assemble one of the EDM kits?

If we're talking fine detail soldering on circuit boards, I am pretty much in trouble to start with.

I live in a pretty small town so the Whole House transmitter would have 5 available frequencies, but I question it's durability and range based on comments here.

Honest opinions please.

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I started with the whole house unit and it did get the job done. It seems to be sensitive all sorts of factors resulting in lots of mixed results, more good than bad tho.

For me I couldn't get rid of the background noise and interference and it drove me nuts. However the people who came to watch didn't notice it as much but is was bad enough to make me switch.

I ended up buying the EDM LCD from Scott and am very glad I did. After I set it up I didn't touch it the entire Christmas season and now I use it at work to broadcast mp3s on a couple of stereos in the shop. It's a very clean signal, even with the little test antenna and it goes a long ways.

Soldering was very easy. Basic skills should get you through just fine. About 10min is all you need once you get going.

It sounds like where you live the whole house unit would work for you but remember, you get what you pay for.

Good luck

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The one piece you have to solder is huge in size compared to most kits. Will take you longer to heat your solder gun up, than to actual solder. More people have mistakes in theses kits, insert the chip backwards. I say go for it to all beginners.

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Okay, I've got a question. Maybe a few. What is an EDM? I assume its a FM transmitter. But what makes it better than the Whole House that they offer at LOR? How much do they go for? Where do I get one? And why would I want one?

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Thanks for the advice.

When I read the words "solder" and "electronic equipment" in the same sentence I get a vision of guys in white tyvek suits with hair nets in clean rooms building something destined for the planet Krypton. Thats' why I opted for the slightly more expensive LOR kit that requires just a screwdriver. LOL

GalenInTn:

I hadn't heard of EDM either until I searched on the forum for FM transmitters. There is a pretty lively discussion about the pros and cons of Ramsey vs EDM vs Whole House FM transmitters. Sounds like the Whole House transmitter works for some but not others. Generally, I picked up that the EDM seems to have the least negative points.

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jim6918 wrote:

When I read the words "solder" and "electronic equipment" in the same sentence I get a vision of guys in white tyvek suits with hair nets in clean rooms building something destined for the planet Krypton.

Not something like this?
MAKE_Vol10_Cvr.jpg

Or how about this?
SolderingWithKids.jpg
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Jeff Millard wrote:

You folks who have some bizarre fear of soldering, please watch this video. Then go online to Mouser.com and get an inexpensive soldering station. Go to Radio Shack and buy some parts and a couple project soldering strip boards and practice. Or you can get small practice soldering kits from Ramsey.com that flash LEDs (in the shape of a Christmas tree if you want) There's also Carl's Kits for fun stuff. This isn't rocket science. I'm a complete idiot and I soldered half of the 16 LOR controllers for my display, and a Ramsey FM30B. I designed a DIO buffer board and had a friend get it manufactured in Hong Kong, then soldered it all together to add 144 on/off channels. As long as you are careful, practice a little, and make sure you have the parts oriented correctly and have them properly seated before you solder them, these kits are very easy to assemble.

There's an entire community of people who refuse to purchase factory assembled hardware. Their reasons are many and varied, but some of it has to do with cost. I don't buy soldering required kits for the savings. I buy them because they're fun to build. I put one of them together yesterday afternoon while watching TV. Yep, watching TV. :cool:

Jeff




Sorry I posted this question now. Just following the advice of LightoRamaDan who said in his sitcky that "there is no such thing as a dumb question."

Maybe it's best to just be a lurker.
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Sorry I posted this question now. Just following the advice of LightoRamaDan who said in his sitcky that "there is no such thing as a dumb question."

Maybe it's best to just be a lurker.




Na, keep posting away. Jeff's post was kind'a humorous.

I got a lot of info from that post actually and I would not have learned anything had you not kept asking questions.

For me soldering skills would be an oxymoron and I need as much info as possible since I have two PC kits coming.

So keep asking, these guys really have all kinds of info to offer.
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Come on guys, Jeff is just trying to show you it is not rocket science to solder. Hell I am 50 and started on a frequency counter kit when I was 15 yrs old. And now you know how many years I have been soldering. I have to tell on myself, from time to time I still get in a hurry and do a cold one now and then (by cold one, I am speaking of a cold solder joint).

Important tips: Clean all surfaces, make the wire lead and the copper pan on the circuit board shine. If you do this, you are almost 100% guarrented a good joint. Wet the tip of the soldering iron with a small bead of solder. Then apply the tip to the lead / pad joint and apply solder wire to the oppasite side. Wait a couple of seconds and the heat will melt the solder. Wait one or two seconds more and remove the iron. It is that simple and like Jeff said, get a small cheap kit from either supplier and learn on the kit. Once you do it, you will realize how easy it is.

Why do I do it? Savings, keep in practice, satisfaction that I built it myself. Well ok the board was etched by someone else, someone elses design, and they provided the parts. But I have etched my own simple boards in the past, but that is awhole nutter art form in itself.

Do not cringe and back away from this. If you do, you are robbing yourself from a good part of this hobby. Embrace a chance to expand your abilities. Hell how do people go through life with out soldering. I do not know how many other activities that I have used this skill in.



Just Do It.



Max

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Please don't be intimidated by the soldering part. As long as you follow some simple basics and pay attention you can do it without any troubles.

Most common mistakes are putting something in backwards or in the wrong spot, but with the LOR kits it is pretty tough to do unless you don't pay attention.

I have assembled 9 of these kits so far without any problems and now am starting to build up my controller cabinets for them like this one that I have started. I built these 4 boards and am in the process of wiring them up. I plan to make 3 more of these cabinets for controllers during this summer.

Heck half the fun of this "hobby" is building things to me.

Bill




Attached files 173038=9893-controller.jpg

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I agree with Jeff and Max-Paul, soldering is not hard - and once you learn the basics, you can solder wires and circuit boards.

As suggested buy an electronics kit, and a soldering iron. You will also want to buy flux, and I recommend flux cored solder (for circuit board work or tinning wires (1/16" diameter solder). You should also have a damp (not wet) sponge handy.

The first time you plug the soldering iron in - let it get up to tempurature , then dip it into the flux - as soon as you pull it out of the flux push the solder wire against the tip until it melts and coat the tip up to about 1/8" above the bevel. The iron is now ready for use - it is tinned.

Before you solder stranded wire to any thing - you need to tin it.

- Get soldering iron hot

- Strip insulation off wire, twist the strands together, dip the wire in flux

- wipe the soldering iron on the damp sponge - tip should look like shiny silver

- put solding iron tip on one side of the wire, after a few seconds push the solder so it contacts both the tip and the wire. Once the solder starts to melt - you will see it wick towards the wire insulation - pull the solder and iron away. The wire is tinned and read for the next step.

- Most flux is now organic - use a wet paper towel to clean the flux (brown residue) off the wire.

- If you are now going to solder the wire to a circuit board, use a pencil eraser to clean the circuit pad (rub the eraser over it a few times).

- Now apply the tip so it contacts both the circuit pad and the wire - push the solder up against the other side of the wire - once solder starts to flow, remover the solder and tip when there is a concaved joint.

If done right the solder joint will be shinny, a cold solder joint will have a cloudy look to it.

Steve

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Steve,

Great job of filling in the holes that I left, very good detail discription of the process. Only thing I do differently is that once the iron has been wiped on the damp paper towel or sponge is that I put a small bead of solder on the tip. Just enough to "wet" it. This helps with the transfer of heat to what ever you are soldering. Helps with the hit it hard and fast rule that I have about soldering. Otherwise I would nominate your input to go into a sticky somewhere about soldering. (Two thumbs up emoticon goes here.)

Max

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Max,

That is another great tip - you always put a dab of solder on the tip to facilitate heat transfer.

I'm going to open new newbie thread - Building your first kit (I started my first build today) and old habits from my technician days in the Air Force and Aerospace came rushing back...

Steve

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Steve,

What did you do back in the days of the A.F. I was a 30474 at one time, a Ground Radio Repair Tech (ground rats as we were kniknamed). But I started earlier than that with soldering kits as a teenager. Been soldering ever sence. Plus an Amature Radio with Advance ticket.

Back in the earlier days I lifted a few pads myself. Esp those darn single sided board with a pad that went no where. I remember working on a few boards that were conformal coated. Had to use a xacto knife to scratch the coating off so that my iron and solder sucker could extract the solder. Found I had to scratch the best I could the coating off of the top side too. And blown away traces replaced with wire wrap wire. The only thing I refuse to work on is those new surface mount boards. No way to work on them without the expensive tools like the hot air desoldering / soldering.

Max

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Hey Max,

Very similar background, I also started with electronics in junior high and made a living of it for many years. I've had a CB license (this dates me!), Amature radio license, FCC class B license. In the Air Force I was 32450 - Precision Measuring Equipment Specialist - microwave, RF (generators & counters), O-scopes, AC & DC standards, Phase, and RADIAC calibration and repair.

The LOR controller is my first serious kit in about 20 years - and for the record it is a high quality kit with great instructions. When I started the build - all of my old good habits came to mind and I thought that it would be nice to document the build as it may fill in some gaps for a total newbie.



Steve

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Hey Max and Steve

I too "did my time" in the USAF as a 32571, Aircraft Avionics Instrument Systems Specialist.

Spent many days crawling around KC-135 tankers, B-52's, and 747's. Ahhh, the good ole days.

I started out building Heathkit kits as a kid along with model rockets and was always tinkering with TV's and whatever electronic stuff I could get my hands on. Had a CB license myself (yea doesn't that date us!) and completed a "Mil Spec" soldering course during my last 2 years in the service. Ran a shop building automated test equipment for 5 years after the service where I set up a wave soldering line for the company I worked for.

I still love to build this stuff although now my primary soldering is installing plumbing and heating systems. Just bigger solder and more heat :shock:.

I also do a lot of computer repair work for people in my spare time, but it is getting harder to keep up with the technology nowdays at the rate it is progressing. So these kits are a great way to keep the hand in practice at the basics as well as providing a new hobby.

Now if I could just find a 1000 watt magnifying light as the eyes get older things would be golden :D.

Bill

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Boy aint that the truth about eyes getting old. I now use one of them visors that have the maginfying lens built into it. And right about needing more light to see clearly. But with the use of the visor, depth perseption has gone down the tubes. Thank God I dont have any kind of shakes, LOL.

Ya, this is one of the best looking kits I have seen in a long time. I never got into the heath kits. But from what I have seen of ones that I aquired years later, along with the manuals. Would you say that LOR kits are on par with Heath kits?

This kit was so well laid out. It was even a pleasure how they thought out the sequence of what part should go in first and which should go in last. It made it much easier. Could you imagine if one was to put in the two large electrolitic caps first then tried to get in some of the other parts. Like the quick connect males stayed tight to the board once it was turned over, for the fact that they were the tallest on the board at the time.

I think i will fire up the 100 watt gun next board to do those parts that sit on the large power traces. My little 60 pen iron just barely was able to get the solder to flow at times.

Max

BTW 81 - 86 active 86 - 89 FANG MoANG to be persice

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Well since it has been 40+ years since I did the Heathkits I can't really compare these very well. :shock:

But yes I would say that overall these kits rate as some of the very best that I have ever seen for completeness, clairity of the instructions, and ease of assembly.

I used to write "tech" manuals for the automated test equipment that I worked on as well as assembly manuals for some of the fixtures that we produced, so at least I can relate to "trying to get the point across". LOR certainly has done their homework on making sure that everything is clear and informative for anyone to be able to do these.

I do have a 100 watt gun that I can use if need be, but my Weller station goes pretty hot and I haven't had any trouble with terminals taking on any of the boards that I have done so far.

I did 70 to 78 active. Boy will this date me. :cool:

Bill

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I did Active Duty 1976 - 1980 - Lowery AFB, CO for tech school, stationed at Sumpter AFB, SC for the duration - last six months TDY to Homestead AFB, FL.

In retrospect, enlisting in the USAF was the single smartest thing I did in my younger years. It set the stage for the rest of my life, maturity, technical training, discipline, team work, responsibility - more importantly the gratification that I served my country.

Jeff - Got to "fly" the F-4 sim at Sumpter AFB a dozen times or so (inst. only) - what a rush!

Back to the subject at hand - I am enjoying the build, 1/2 way there. I can't wait to finish the first kit and power it up!

Steve

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Well lets see,

After basic Jan - Mar 81, went to Bolixi for 6 mo of electronics / Radio school. 3rd day get a letter from the deputy base commander of Insirlik Turkey welcoming me. Spent 6 months saying "To phase or not to phase, this is the question".

Went to Turkey with my wife and daughter Oct 81- Sept 83.

Then off to Kelly AFB Oct 82 - Jan 86. Gee this place looks familiar! next door to Lackland if you remember.

Palace Chased and gave the manitory 2 yrs and one more to the ANG at Jefferson Baracks in an electronics installation sq.

Agree, gave me some good electronics training that up to that time did not have. It also gave me a leg up on some others looking for a job when I got out. Seems that the two who interviewed me at my first job were previous military. One just happened to have spent time at Incirlik also. Was fun to talk about the base during the interview.

Max

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May, 1967 -- Amarillo AFB, TX - Basic Training

Jul-Dec, 1967 -- Lowry AFB, CO - 461X0 Tech School (Munitions)

Dec, 67-69 -- Cigli AB, Turkey

1969 - 1970 -- Udorn AB, Thailand

1970 - 1971 -- Duluth IAP, MN

1971 - 1972 -- Break in service to get married

Dec 72 - Nov 73 -- MacDill AFB, FL

Nov 73 - Nov 74 -- Udorn AB, Thailand

Nov 74 - Nov 76 -- Eglin AFB, FL

Nov 76 - Nov 78 -- Clark AB, PI

Nov 78 - Nov 82 -- Luke AFB, AZ

Nov 82 - Nov 84 -- Homestead AB, FL

Nov 84 - Mar 86 -- Torrejon AB, Spain

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