Author Topic: Little things that make a big difference  (Read 6890 times)

Scruffie

  • Electron Doctor
  • *****
  • Posts: 2857
    • View Profile
Re: Little things that make a big difference
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2011, 11:52:03 AM »
I've been using 60/40 solder. What brand of 63/37 do you all use? What's the benefit of 63/37? I'm guessing it has a lower melting point?
60/40 is fine, 63/37 just has a slightly slower melting point but is made of the same stuff.

I made a mistake actually, my reel is 60/40 too, workin' fine.
Works at Lectric-FX

nzCdog

  • Electron Doctor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3877
  • Corey - Christchurch, NZ
    • View Profile
    • Soundcloud
Re: Little things that make a big difference
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2011, 01:30:37 PM »
DIGITAL MULTI METER (DMM)

Highly recommended.  Mostly cheap to buy and a great tool to troubleshoot and learn electronics as you go.  If possible try to get one that is Auto Ranging and has the functions of DC Volts, DC Current, Resistance, Continuity, Diode test, Transistor test and Capacitance as well.  I got mine pretty cheap here in NZ.

I also HIGHLY recommend you get some 'alligator clip' attachments in addition to the probes... they are essential! (unless you have 3 arms)  I use these  

Having a DMM really helps you to learn as you go, test your parts and troubleshoot your problems.  Without one it really is like flying in the dark...

jcuempire

  • Transistor Tickler
  • **
  • Posts: 124
  • Keith
    • View Profile
Re: Little things that make a big difference
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2011, 02:47:51 PM »
in my opinion - learn about the components you are buying.  There are tons of color charts for resistors but for capacitors, I print this out and have it handy:

http://www.justradios.com/uFnFpF.html

Every parts supplier seems to list caps a different way.  Knowing that 47n is .047uF and 47000p can save you from unnecessary screwups and wasted time.  As well as ruining boards by doing multiple de-solders.  I know this from experience.

I also find it helpful to keep a sheet with the pinouts and substitution qualities of the common transistors I encounter regularly.  It saves time not having to look it up all the time.

TNblueshawk

  • Electron Doctor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1410
    • View Profile
Re: Little things that make a big difference
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2011, 10:58:56 AM »
Audio probe, audio probe, audio probe.

Did I mention audio probe...unless all your pedals fire right up  :-\ Mine don't.

Regarding solder and the difference between 60/40 and 63/37 this is from a guy who is some kind of metallurgist something or other over there. Maybe he is the mechanical engineer who did some metal work something or other....
------------------------------------

Yes, it can cause a difference, but only if you move the joint while the solder is cooling.

Theory time:

Ok, so when a metal solidifies (I got a degree in this shit to bring you this distilled version, you better be appreciative ) it can happen a couple of different ways. Here are the two we care about:

Way number 1: the metal starts to solidify a little bit at a time. First you get solid little grains, then they grow, then before you know it you have solid metal. This is what 60/40 solder does.
Way number 2: the metal immediately changes from complete liquid to complete solid. Now this isn't really all that likely to happen in real life because of impurity elements and such that change the solidification temp and such, thermal mass and cooling rate, solidification front stuff, ya ya ya ya ya, but for our purposes we'll ignore all that and say that 63/37 solder solidifies immediately. This is the "eutectic" composition for the lead/tin alloy system. For those following along at home, you can read about phase diagrams, binary alloy systems, and eutectic compositions on your own with Google sitting on your lap.

Back to reality:

Ok, so if you move the joint while the solder is solidifying and you're using 60/40 solder, you have a greater chance of making a poor solder joint than if you use 63/37 solder because of how the metal solidifies and how fast that happens.




Here is the link if you want to read more

http://www.buildyourownclone.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=33518&p=278414&hilit=63%2F37+kester+solder#p278414
John

keysandguitars

  • Solder Ninja
  • ****
  • Posts: 270
  • Brandon
    • View Profile
Re: Little things that make a big difference
« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2011, 11:27:45 AM »
Thanks TN, that drives the point home. I'm not about to drop another $30 on a lb of 63/37 until I finish off my current spool. I'll just have to be steady as a rock. :P

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mzcgyk62cHU
I should still be a "diode destroyer"!

TNblueshawk

  • Electron Doctor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1410
    • View Profile
Re: Little things that make a big difference
« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2011, 01:08:37 PM »
Thanks TN, that drives the point home. I'm not about to drop another $30 on a lb of 63/37 until I finish off my current spool. I'll just have to be steady as a rock. :P

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mzcgyk62cHU

You're welcome...and um.... I know you Googled "binary alloy systems" and "eutectic composition" so if you don't mind can you give me the cliff notes version  :P
John

GermanCdn

  • Electron Doctor
  • *****
  • Posts: 2092
  • Curtis - Calgary, AB
    • View Profile
Re: Little things that make a big difference
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2012, 09:50:12 AM »
I'll add/expand a bit on what has already been said

1) Soldering iron - if you can get a variable temp soldering iron for a good price, by all means invest in one.  I was using a Weller 30W for the longest time, and while it did the job, I was blowing through tips at a pace that made it cost prohibitive (I was getting about three pedals per tip, and then had to change).  Picked up a variable temp soldering iron for 10 Euro ($13), and I've soldered up 22 pedals without a single required tip change (I have changed the tip once, but only because the solder wasn't quite flowing right off the old tip).

2) Solder - once you find what works for you, stick to it.  With the above mentioned soldering iron, I also bought some different solder, which should have been "better", because it was "higher quality".  Didn't flow right, no matter what temp I set it too.  Picked up a few scraps of my "old" solder to test, worked like a dream, promptly went out and bought two more rolls of the old stuff.

3) Desoldering iron - pumps and braids have already been covered, but if you can get your hands on a desoldering iron (essentially a hollow core soldering iron with a built in solder sucker), do it.  It makes correcting the booboos much easier, and when you solder a dpdt to the wrong side of the PCB, you will be glad you have one.

4) Heat shrink tubing - put it on all your solder lug connections.  Eliminates unwanted possible grounding issues, allows you to put items in tighter, and if you mess up, you can always cut it off.

5) Glasses - if you have prescription glasses, wear them (preferably an old pair), not so much for vision (although it helps), but for protection, otherwise, invest in a pair of safety glasses.  Hot solder/resistor legs in the eyes are a bad thing. 

6) Divorce saver - basically a desk mounted garbage receptable that you can cut your resistor legs/solder joints over to keep all those little chunks of joy from ending up in/on your feet.  Also good for fly tying.
The only known cure in the world for GAS is death.  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

jimmybjj

  • Electron Doctor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1071
  • Jim
    • View Profile
    • BeeJive Pedals
Re: Little things that make a big difference
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2012, 10:06:45 AM »
6) Divorce saver - basically a desk mounted garbage receptable that you can cut your resistor legs/solder joints over to keep all those little chunks of joy from ending up in/on your feet.  Also good for fly tying.

+1 that crap hurts, I've been stab several times by resistor leads :)
Pcbs no longer available

sgmezei

  • Electron Doctor
  • *****
  • Posts: 895
  • Scott- AB, Canada
    • View Profile
Re: Little things that make a big difference
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2012, 11:55:27 AM »
Me too! I just moved and had to spent a TON of time vaccuming and picking out resistor leads from the carpet. At the new place I got a plastic office chair mat thing ( the thing for under office chairs) to make clean up alot easier.

TNblueshawk

  • Electron Doctor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1410
    • View Profile
Re: Little things that make a big difference
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2012, 04:22:58 PM »
I actually do all my soldering on a car mat I got at Auto Zone. It has the slots so 99% of those leads fall down in the slots...pick it up over a trash can and shake. Of course when I clip I don't clip in such a way where I'm playing tiddly winks and the leads are flung into the air 5 feet or more  ;D
John