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Newbie Getting Started Reparing My Own Gear - Tools, Basic Tips, Etc.
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Question Newbie Getting Started Reparing My Own Gear - Tools, Basic Tips, Etc.

Hi all.

I've been into used and vintage audio stuff (stereos, speakers, synths, 80s/90s samplers, etc.) for years now and I've decided it's about time I start learning how to do basic repairs and refurbishing myself. I got into used gear for budgetary reasons but now (ironically) it is getting too costly to pay to have all this old stuff fixed all the time.

Though long in the making, the impetus for my decision is a mint Akai S1000 (late 80s sampler) that I recently purchased for a significant sum. At the behest of BHW, a fellow GSer, I've done some research on an extremely common problem that these units have where capacitors in the power supply leak or fail, killing the PSU and sometimes bricking the whole unit. To get out ahead of this, I intend to either replace the PSU and recap the mainboard, or just recap both of them.

I've got a handful of things on my list that I know I will need to buy:

1) Temperature-controlled soldering iron
2) Solder-sucker or wick
3) Multi-meter
4) De-oxit
5) Compressed Air
6) Q-tips and 99% Alcohol

Am I missing anything?

I'm also all ears for any basic tips, links to relevant resources, or anything else that might be helpful for somebody new to tinkering (I admit I am more than a little apprehensive about f***ing up the repair and prematurely killing the S1000).

Thanks!
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Head
 

Good for you for taking this on. My main tip is to practice on something other than the Akai! Grab a junked pice of gear, crack it open and do some practice desoldering and soldering.

Figuring out what components to replace you can find on Youtube and the forums. But soldering - and especially desoldering - takes practice. It really does.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlywhelmed View Post
Hi all.

I've been into used and vintage audio stuff (stereos, speakers, synths, 80s/90s samplers, etc.) for years now and I've decided it's about time I start learning how to do basic repairs and refurbishing myself. I got into used gear for budgetary reasons but now (ironically) it is getting too costly to pay to have all this old stuff fixed all the time.

Though long in the making, the impetus for my decision is a mint Akai S1000 (late 80s sampler) that I recently purchased for a significant sum. At the behest of BHW, a fellow GSer, I've done some research on an extremely common problem that these units have where capacitors in the power supply leak or fail, killing the PSU and sometimes bricking the whole unit. To get out ahead of this, I intend to either replace the PSU and recap the mainboard, or just recap both of them.

I've got a handful of things on my list that I know I will need to buy:

1) Temperature-controlled soldering iron
2) Solder-sucker or wick
3) Multi-meter
4) De-oxit
5) Compressed Air
6) Q-tips and 99% Alcohol

Am I missing anything?

I'm also all ears for any basic tips, links to relevant resources, or anything else that might be helpful for somebody new to tinkering (I admit I am more than a little apprehensive about f***ing up the repair and prematurely killing the S1000).

Thanks!
onlywhelmed, you'll need a Flux pen for soldering (Looks like a felt marker) you'll need some soldering tip tinner. One of the main things is keeping the tips clean and tin'd.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
You'll also want all the usual hand tools - needlenose pliers, wire cutters, wire strippers. Make sure to get the small precision kind for circuit work, not house electrical work.
A magnifying lamp and a photographers loupe can help spot cold solder joints, bad circuit traces and other hard to see problems.
If you plan on making any cables, you'll want a soldering vice, heat shrink tubing various sizes, and heat shrink gun.
If you are getting serious into power supplies or analog circuit problems you'll want an oscilloscope. It doesn't have to be super fancy, just dual channel that can sweep to 50Mhz or so. You can get a nice Tektronix on eBay for $100.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Somebodyperson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Dalton View Post
onlywhelmed, you'll need a Flux pen for soldering (Looks like a felt marker) you'll need some soldering tip tinner. One of the main things is keeping the tips clean and tin'd.
I have always just used the resin core lead-free solder, although it takes longer without adding the flux (which I think I will start using, especially for pots....I have some but I misplaced it)


I have heard some say the lead-free is more dangerous, is it? I also don't use a respirator, should I? Is it wise to solder in the same room I live/sleep in? I live in a 1 room building. Would you recommend I solder outside? Sorry for all the questions, my GF does not want me to die.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
I have been using lead solder for over 40 years. I have a bench type smoke extractor in my workshop and no problems

You may want to watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFZfNV6WBj0 or this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HicV3Z6XLFA

Best of luck!
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somebodyperson View Post
I have always just used the resin core lead-free solder, although it takes longer without adding the flux (which I think I will start using, especially for pots....I have some but I misplaced it)


I have heard some say the lead-free is more dangerous, is it? I also don't use a respirator, should I? Is it wise to solder in the same room I live/sleep in? I live in a 1 room building. Would you recommend I solder outside? Sorry for all the questions, my GF does not want me to die.
Well for what your doing with the vintage gear, that was back when solder Was solder, as in something like Kester 44 lead solder wire. One everything went leadfree is when solder lost its flexibility, thats where one see's a lot of bad solder joints, plus leadfree crap doesnt always flow/play nice, cold solder joints.

Now for the Flux, theirs a couple things, One, Thats why you keep your tips clean,,, its a acid and it will eat your tips up. As for the Flux pen, same/acid but its in liquid form, and if your doing multi pin SMD and such, you cant get by without it. (watch some youtube vid's) on soldering surface mount devices.

Its good in practice to have ventilation, I'd look at an small ionizer type of device you could set close by, but their will be times you may need a respirator/mask. But doing this as a side is one thing, doing it for a living and out of your house 24/7, yes you'll need/want ventilation Also lets not forget eye protection,,, goggles, safety glasses, and you may want to use latex gloves when jacking with chemicals, such as contact cleaners, etc,,,,. Just use common since.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Somebodyperson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Dalton View Post
Well for what your doing with the vintage gear, that was back when solder Was solder, as in something like Kester 44 lead solder wire. One everything went leadfree is when solder lost its flexibility, thats where one see's a lot of bad solder joints, plus leadfree crap doesnt always flow/play nice, cold solder joints.

Now for the Flux, theirs a couple things, One, Thats why you keep your tips clean,,, its a acid and it will eat your tips up. As for the Flux pen, same/acid but its in liquid form, and if your doing multi pin SMD and such, you cant get by without it. (watch some youtube vid's) on soldering surface mount devices.

Its good in practice to have ventilation, I'd look at an small ionizer type of device you could set close by, but their will be times you may need a respirator/mask. But doing this as a side is one thing, doing it for a living and out of your house 24/7, yes you'll need/want ventilation Also lets not forget eye protection,,, goggles, safety glasses, and you may want to use latex gloves when jacking with chemicals, such as contact cleaners, etc,,,,. Just use common since.
Yes, I have been trying to get a respirator but they are impossible to find now....for a reasonable price.

Where I live there are no windows.

I am told I smell like electronics.

I think I will just have to build a work area outside, some kind of pop up gazebo or something. I have been soldering more and more often to supplement my income.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Somebodyperson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
I have been using lead solder for over 40 years. I have a bench type smoke extractor in my workshop and no problems

You may want to watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFZfNV6WBj0 or this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HicV3Z6XLFA

Best of luck!
My question is this...not counting physical contact toxicity, but the fumes themselves...I have heard the lead is not in the fumes until a certain temperature....also that most of the fumes are from the resin and that the lead-free solder is more dangerous.

So would using a lead solder with no built in resin/flux and using flux seperatly be the safest option?
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somebodyperson View Post
Yes, I have been trying to get a respirator but they are impossible to find now....for a reasonable price.

Where I live there are no windows.

I am told I smell like electronics.

I think I will just have to build a work area outside, some kind of pop up gazebo or something. I have been soldering more and more often to supplement my income.
Somebodyperson, I wouldn't worry much about a respirator, it would be an item that you'd know when the smoke got too thick thing. You might look for a small air filter system like an ionizer just too set close by your work, or make something, but don't let having none of this, put you off from doing repairs, its not going to be that bad.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Somebodyperson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Dalton View Post
Somebodyperson, I wouldn't worry much about a respirator, it would be an item that you'd know when the smoke got too thick thing. You might look for a small air filter system like an ionizer just too set close by your work, or make something, but don't let having none of this, put you off from doing repairs, its not going to be that bad.
I have been soldering a few times a week for the past year, so I ain't stoppin! :p
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Solder fumes are not from the metals, but from the flux (the rosin burning off, along with whatever impurities or oxidation on the surfaces being soldered that the flux is there to eliminate). Soldering irons get nowhere near the boiling point of solder or lead. A fume extractor is a good tool to have, particularly if you're doing a whole lot of soldering, but at hobbiest levels it's quite reasonable to just work somewhere with halfway good ventilation. On days like today here that might mean opening a window or two, which I'd be silly not to do regardless given the beautiful weather. Dust masks, and probably many basic respirators, would do pretty nearly nothing against soldering fumes.

Soldering is as much about the skill (something acquired with a bit of practice) and decent surface preparation as it is having fancy equipment. A good soldering iron does make things easier, but it's quite possible and practical to do perfectly acceptable work with a very basic iron of a size suited to the job.

You probably could make do with only solder wick or only a solder sucker (and quite possibly with neither one), but they're both handy tools and quite inexpensive.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
Gear Nut
 

Thanks for the replies everyone. I wasn't even considering the potential toxicity of soldering fumes—never heard of that before. Duly noted. Thomas, both of those vids seem to have a lot of good info so thanks. Does anyone have any resources for learning how to read schematics or locate certain parts within a piece of gear? For instance I've cracked open the S1000 and I'm only 75% sure I've located the PSU corrrectly

I'm also wondering if there aren't any PRINT books or guides out there for the type of electrical work I am doing, considering everything I am working on is pre-internet era. I'm a fan of a good physical book, so if anyone could recommend an introductory text for these types of simple repairs, that'd be awesome.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Somebodyperson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlywhelmed View Post
Thanks for the replies everyone. I wasn't even considering the potential toxicity of soldering fumes—never heard of that before. Duly noted. Thomas, both of those vids seem to have a lot of good info so thanks. Does anyone have any resources for learning how to read schematics or locate certain parts within a piece of gear? For instance I've cracked open the S1000 and I'm only 75% sure I've located the PSU corrrectly

I'm also wondering if there aren't any PRINT books or guides out there for the type of electrical work I am doing, considering everything I am working on is pre-internet era. I'm a fan of a good physical book, so if anyone could recommend an introductory text for these types of simple repairs, that'd be awesome.
Horowitz and Hill: The Art Of Electronics
Old 1 week ago
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
uOpt's Avatar
The less experience you have the more important it is that you have good tools.

For beginning repair work I would get a really good electric desoldering gun, not just a one-shot pump. It is dangerous to the PCB and its other inhabitants to hold the iron to a component for long while you repeatedly pump.

The soldering iron should also be spot on. Too much and you damage stuff from cooking it. Too little and you damage stuff from poking around endlessly.
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