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My first CMoy: How am I doing?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I soldered for the first time in my life last night and I'm not sure if this is a mess or not. It's certainly a lot harder than I thought it would be that's for sure.


post #2 of 14
Take this with a grain of salt because I too am a soldering noob so to speak. It looks to me like you're using too much solder in some spots.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
I am looking for honesty. is it so bad i should start over? i bought the thinnest gauge of solder Lowes had thinking it was good enough, but having seen the overpriced super thin gauge solder at radio shack i'm thinking what i have is way to thick. as a result it kinda blobs up and goes too thick. it could be my old large tip soldering iron too. argh
post #4 of 14
I've seen much worse on the Ratshack board. Be certain that you heat both the component lead or wire, along with the pad. Pick up some of the 63/37 solder from Ratshack in a thin gauge... it isn't really that overpriced (I assume what you got at Lowes is 60/40?). This is eutectic, which means it will solidify faster, making it harder to produce cold joints. Also, while you are there, the tip size you would want is approximately what is on their 15W iron (pencil)... just for reference.
post #5 of 14
not bad for your first time... I don't see any bridges.

There is a little more solder on there than there needs to be.

A thinner solder is a must... Last I checked RS solder was only $3 for the small roll.

It's one of those things you only have to buy once and you'll have enough for 50 cmoys

Try wetting the tip of the iron with a little extra solder and then heat pad and component leg with it. The solder should flow around the two a make a decent joint.

In a perfect world you need a smaller tip as well.

Heat the tip by placing a small amount of solder on it.

With one hand heat the pad and component leg

With the other hand apply solder slowly.
post #6 of 14
A dab of non corrosive flux paste works wonders, just apply a thin film to the
surfaces to be joined and remember to clean the board with an appropriate
cleaner afterwords.

Make sure you have a decent clean soldering iron 'bit' and just as you are
about to make the joint dab a little solder on the bit, [enough to create a little bulge of solder but no more]
and then apply the bit to the parts to be soldered , trying to ensure that
the tip contacts both parts then introduce some fresh solder to the heated
If all is correct and heated properly the introduced solder will just snap into place, so to speak!
Another method is to load the iron with a just about enough solder to make
the join [if it is sufficiently small] and press the blob onto the parts to be jointed.
The above technique is fine if you are quick enough to prevent the solder
from oxidizing [when the blob discolors and skins ] but best reserved
for tiny solder joints that can be done quickly.
But ultimately one really just needs to practice lots and familiarize oneself
with how the solder behaves.
Practice, practice, practice.........Perfection

post #7 of 14
For your first time it doesn't look bad at all, particularly on those RatShack boards. You do need thinner solder for best results. You might want to check out Tangent's Pimeta, as the professional PCB is MUCH easier to solder than a RatShack board, as is just about any pre-tinned, let alone plated-hole PCBs.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tips. It got really rough on the inside points especially after having all the room I needed on the outer edges when I started. Having an iron tip too large and solder that was too thick didn't help matters. I'm a bit worried that my points are touching and will not work properly. I don't really know how that all works.
I'm also a bit confused by Tangent's tutorial where I'm at right now. It says to solder temporary 2 inch long wires to the points labeled V+ and V- then goes on to say that I should connect the battery connector to the board where it is labeled "Batt." but that's talking about the same exact locations. How would I do that? oh yeah, and where are the instructions on how to install the volume knob, input, output, and power switch? I think I'm missing something...
hey, are the irons radio shack sells any good? I think the iron i'm using is not suited to this project, It took almost 20 seconds to melt my solder and when it did it instantly turned into a blob that went everywhere! argh
thanks again
post #9 of 14
nice work. I haven't seen 'much' better from anyone on this board. The large hole pads simply makes it impossible to cleanly solder thin parts such as resistors without using a blob of solder or else there is a gap that is exposed around the leads.
post #10 of 14
One advantage of the thinnest RadioShack solder, e.g. 0.015 or 0.022 Silver Bearing Solder, is that you can tell how much solder you're using by how far your hand moves.

It looks to me like you're not working hot enough. Wait longer while touching both lead and board, so solder when finally applied spreads out clinging to everything, rather than beading up.

Staring at great pictures like you've taken is how I've gotten better. Like cooking or anything else, people stop improving when they no longer can tell the difference. With images like you have available, you'll be your own best/worst critic. You won't need us. Keep soldering, you'll nail one, you'll be going "Man! Why aren't they all like that!" and you'll remember what you did.
post #11 of 14
Very good job for your first time. But I suggest the following:

On a board with copper traces (untinned) like the one you have, I suggest cleaning it first before starting. The easiest way I found to do this is to use a plastic pot/dish scrubber to clean/polish the copper traces. Once you have cleaned/polished the copper until shiny do not touch it's surface with your fingers. You can also clean the surface afterwards with alcohol to degrease completely. You will be surprised how much better the solder will flow on a clean and degreased circuit board.


post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
hey, are the irons at radio shack any good? any model in particular that would be well suited to this project? what other large chain stores even carry irons? what about Michaels craft stores?
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
just thought I'd post an update for those that care; I went and got a new iron from RS, a dual mode 15w or 30w one, along with some of the 0.022 Silver Bearing Solder as recommended and it's like night and day. It melts quickly and is much easier to handle. I'm glad I spent the $10 now rather than later. Thanks for the help!
post #14 of 14
Let's see a pic of how the new equipment has helped!
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