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My first go at electronics

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by CubeRider, Mar 20, 2013.

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  1. CubeRider

    CubeRider

    32
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    Mar 15, 2013
    Evening folks.

    Well I looked long and hard for a decent soldering station and after reading some reviews and watching some video clips I finally found one I was happy with.

    I have bought a tool box and some things to get me started and tonight was my first go with the soldering station and my first go at the breadboard, couldn't get it to work at first but I thought about it logically and the led's started to light.

    Anyway here are some pics, I hope to be able to look back in 6 months and have a wealth of information and skill :)

    [​IMG]


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    My first circuit :) feel like I just taken my first steps lol.
     
  2. CocaCola

    CocaCola

    3,635
    5
    Apr 7, 2012
    One trick when soldering wire to wire like that, put a small amount of solder on each wire a little extra flux won't hurt, now when you solder you won't need any additional solder so you have a hand free to hold one wire or reposition the connection...

    You should also always use some type of current limiting when using LEDs...

    And one last thing, is that a fire resistant mat under the helping hands? If so an interesting addition, as I have said before I like using a 1x1 foot marble tile under the area I solder, I simply like the feel of natural stone...
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013
  3. Electrobrains

    Electrobrains

    259
    5
    Jan 2, 2012
    Great start!
    I wish my working table would look like that!
    (at the moment I have to shovel away approx. 1 cm of components before each new project...:()
     
  4. CubeRider

    CubeRider

    32
    0
    Mar 15, 2013
    Thanks for the tips CocaCola, the mat is a solder matting, only about £5, saves me burning a hole through the table :)

    My soldering iron started to melt the flux then when I went back to it, it wouldn't, am wondering if 300oC is enough ?

    Am looking forward to a busy table, means I will know what am doing then :D gonna start with a maplins do it yourself electronics experiment see how I get on with one of those.
     
  5. CocaCola

    CocaCola

    3,635
    5
    Apr 7, 2012
    Since I see you are in the UK, I'm assuming lead free solder? If so you will have to adjust your iron to whatever blend of lead free solder you are using, check the manufactures recommendations and don't assume your iron is calibrated... You will develop a feel for what temp works best for what application in time... You also might need to clean the tip or re-tin it to get better transfer of heat...
     
  6. CubeRider

    CubeRider

    32
    0
    Mar 15, 2013
    Yes mate I am using lead-free solder, I never knew there was a recommended heat setting for solder, thats useful thanks.

    I have just checked the ad and it says:

    Metal content: 99.3% Sn (Tin), 0.7% Cu (Copper)
    Melting point: 227°
    Flux 2.2%

    Not sure what the melting point data means ? but 300oC wasnt always doing it.

    I am not sure about ways of cleaning the tip or how to re-tin it, can you explain both of these to me please, sorry for being new lol.
     
  7. Raven Luni

    Raven Luni

    798
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    Oct 15, 2011
    Calibrated soldering iron? How posh. I just melt the stuff and be done with it :p
     
  8. Electrobrains

    Electrobrains

    259
    5
    Jan 2, 2012
    I usually solder with the thermostat on 370-380°C.
     
  9. CubeRider

    CubeRider

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    Mar 15, 2013
    Wow that much :D thats cool thanks for that, i'll crank it up then see how it goes.

    I have tried to tin the tip, I wrapped some solder around the tip and switched it on and it got hot and melted off lol its not bright and shiny at all so I must be doing something wrong still.
     
  10. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,496
    2,837
    Jan 21, 2010
    non-leaded solder often doesn't look bright and shiny.
     
  11. CubeRider

    CubeRider

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    Mar 15, 2013
    Oh right, cool :)

    So does that mean I do not have to tin the soldering iron then ? is there anything I should know about using one ?

    I dont have anything yet to clean the tip with, I am just using a damp sponge.
     
  12. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,496
    2,837
    Jan 21, 2010
    No, you still have to tin it (in this case quite literally tin it since the solder is mostly tin).

    Just expect it to look a lot more matt than shiny.

    The brass swarf tip cleaner tend to work better than a damp sponge. Have a look for one when your sponge is getting near time to replace.
     
  13. CubeRider

    CubeRider

    32
    0
    Mar 15, 2013
    Thanks for that Steve.

    I tried to tin it earlier and it didnt seem to change any, do you have any suggestions on how I can tin it correctly ?

    I have seen videos where people suggest sanding and filing the end of the tip, but with this being brand new I am a little reluctant to try that just yet.
     
  14. CocaCola

    CocaCola

    3,635
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    Apr 7, 2012
    It really depends on how far gone the tip is, if it's a new tip with little to no oxidation you won't need to sand it, if it's a tip on it's last legs and you are trying to milk it for some extra life you can try sanding it... I try to avoid sanding if at all possible as I have found it's more of a bandaid fix, and a properly maintained tip will not need it...

    Here is what I would suggest, get yourself some flux, for this I like a grease flux... Crank the iron up, not to full blast but lets say 400 for you, let it stabilize at that temp, now dip it in the flux, roll it around a bit, take it out and flood the tip with new solder solder, now immediately wipe it on a damp sponge, repeat a few times until the tip is clean and tinned properly, the tip should be a consistent dull 'tinned' color with no dark or black blemishes... Now at the end of each soldering session, put a big glob of solder on the tip and let it cool and harden on the tip, this will prevent further oxidation when not in use...
     
  15. CubeRider

    CubeRider

    32
    0
    Mar 15, 2013
    Thats really cool info Coca, thank you very much :D

    Man I hate being new haha but at the same time I love learning this stuff.

    Sorry to be a pain but when you say dip it in the flux, I am not sure what that is ? I typed Flux into Maplins and it offered me the solder I bought, I did see this in the list though, would this be adequate ?

    http://www.maplin.co.uk/tip-tinner-cleaner-3929#overview

    If that will do it I will pick some up in the morning :D
     
  16. CocaCola

    CocaCola

    3,635
    5
    Apr 7, 2012
    That is tip cleaner, I have never used it myself so I won't comment on it's effectiveness...

    As for flux I looked over the Maplin site quickly and surprisingly didn't see any flux besides the stuff in pens, and I find that odd...

    [​IMG]

    That is what I'm thinking of, something like Kester SP-44 (although I believe that the SP-44 is now discontinued) there are of course others... There are a lot of offerings on Ebay but beware, there is for some silly reason a big counterfeit flux market out there so sometimes ordering from China is hit or miss, you might get flux or you might get actual grease... A tub like the above will last you a lifetime if it's just used for tip cleaning, if you are using it for other purposes it's best to get it in a syringe for easier application...
     
  17. CubeRider

    CubeRider

    32
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    Mar 15, 2013
  18. BobK

    BobK

    7,682
    1,688
    Jan 5, 2010
    Probably not, I think the flux used for plumbing is different from that used for electronics.

    Bob
     
  19. CubeRider

    CubeRider

    32
    0
    Mar 15, 2013
    Oh yeah in the reviews one guy is on about water pipes but another said it worked well for his guitar, i'll keep looking :)
     
  20. CubeRider

    CubeRider

    32
    0
    Mar 15, 2013
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