Soldering: no more stage fright

15. May 2014 13:39 by outbackuav in Hardware, Posts

I used to hate soldering, now I love it.  Sometime in the early eighties I tried to make a Centronics adaptor for my Sinclair Spectrum microcomputer.  The soldering was horrible and it never worked and not long after I plonked down $3,500 for an IBM PC clone with two floppy disk drives and no hard disk.  The ESCs in my planes probably have more CPU power than that PC.

My main problem was that YouTube hadn't been invented yet.  Now there's many good soldering videos there, like the ones made by Dave Jones of EEVBlog fame and Bruce Simpson (XJet):


My suggestions are:

  • Get the right gear: if you can afford it, a temperature controlled iron is a must.  It stops your flux (and your work) going up in smoke.
  • Soldering iron tips - use the right size and shape for the job
  • Helping hand: very useful unless you have three hands already
  • Pre-tinning: essential for a good bond
  • Chemist glasses: the best $2.50 ever spent!  I only need the weakest ones but they make a huge difference
  • Start simple with things like cables and battery connectors, leave the micro servo mods for later

When I got my ArduPilot it was of course the cheapo version from RCTimer - which required soldering the pins.  I was terrified of destroying my new $70 baby but it was all over in about 20 minutes.  I almost wished there was more to do.

Trivia Corner:
Why don’t Americans pronounce the ‘L’ in soLder?  Is it the French influence on American English, like the way they say “herb”?