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First reasonably successful soldering


Kevin Reid
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First reasonably successful soldering

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Back to electronics, at least for a weekend...

After making sure to have fresh or cleaned parts, and using fresh (rather than two and a half decades old) solder, I have managed to solder several joints reasonably successfully. I completed two tiny projects:

  • I assembled a WiiChuck Adapter (it imitates a Nintendo Wii controller accessory socket and plugs into a breadboard; the accessory protocol is just I²C).
  • I soldered wires onto a rotary encoder which is part of rev. 2 of my timer project (which I should post about), which was designed for PCB mounting and doesn't fit firmly into a breadboard due to the mounting clips. (It fits, loosely, into a wide DIP socket.) Having these wires, terminated with header pin sockets, I can now mount the encoder in a box. So, I now have a nice box with a knob on it. (The rest of the project hasn't fit into the box yet.)
WiiChuck adapter
WiiChuck joints slant view
WiiChuck joints side view
Encoder joints image #1
Encoder joints image #2
Encoder joints image #3
Encoder joints image #4
Encoder joints image #5
Encoder joints image #6
Encoder joints image #7

As you can see from the pictures, the WiiChuck Adapter went together nearly perfectly. The header and board were held in position by a standard two-alligator-clip helping hands. The one ugly-looking solder joint on the “–” pin is the way it is because it was the first joint I made, and I fed too much solder into it when it started melting. I removed most of the excess, but didn't attempt to fiddle it into looking perfect.

The rotary encoder turned out considerably uglier, but then, it was a harder problem: instead of joining PCB through-holes to pins designed to fit them, I was joining wires to pins. I had the helping hands to hold the wire against the pin, but it still shifted around a bit while I was working. Overall, I'm considering the results non-disastrous and a reasonable first try. The joint on the top in the first image (with lots of copper visible) might be a bit “cold” though. I did make one mistake I recognized afterward: I did not tin either of the surfaces before soldering them, which probably would have resulted in cleaner, quicker joins and less melted insulation.

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