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DIY General Knowledge Thread Modular Synthesizers
Old 11th October 2017
  #1
DIY General Knowledge Thread

I'll start off with some videos about soldering




Old 11th October 2017
  #2
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gruvsyco's Avatar
I like the eevblog guy too. I don't know if he's actually super knowledgeable or if his yelling at you leads you to believe that. I like these 2 videos a lot.





Tips
  • It's quite popular to use Kester 331 solder for all your parts that can tolerate a water wash (nothing with moving components), as the solder is easily cleaned up with water, just bath the board in hot water and scrub with a toothbrush if needed. I haven't done this yet but will on my next build. Everything else, Kester 245 is recommended as the flux is minimal and easy to clean up.

Components
  • Check your polarity. Diodes, Electrolytic caps have an orientation when installing.
  • Matched transistors. While building my TTSH a few builders said if you don't have anything to properly match transistors, modern production is good enough that if you take your transistors of a strip, they should be close enough. This would not apply to bulk or NOS. So if you can't match don't stress.
  • Transistors that sit in pairs flat to flat (matches) can be zip tied together. this makes them easier to solder in and keep clean looking.

Last edited by gruvsyco; 12th October 2017 at 01:52 AM..
Old 12th October 2017
  #3
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Derp's Avatar
This sounds like a thread for @ cane creek
Old 12th October 2017
  #4
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I have a few rules that work for me,

Rule 1
Use a fat tip, soldering is all about applying heat quickly and this cannot be done with one of those useless pointed tips.

Rule 2
Don't not use a wet sponge to clean your tip, wet sponge applied to a hot tip causes thermal shock, ok it will clean the tip but will also ruin it at the same time.
You end up needing to change your tip every couple of builds.

Since i started using a tip tinner called "Qualitek Delta Tip tinner" its now a question of how many years do i get out of a single tip, this stuff is really worth its weight in gold, you can find it HERE

Rule 3
When soldering SMT/SMD chips use lots of flux and the solder will find its way, i just use a "electrolube smf flux pen"

Rule 4
Get a smoke absorber/extractor, when i first started DIY after a build id feel nauseated off the fume, since getting a "solderwerks black jack BK486" smoke absorber I've never had a problem since as it sucks the lot up.

Rule 5
When doing SMT/SMD you need a 10x Loupe to examine your work, I've looked at my work through a magnifying glass and it looks fine then look again with a loupe and find all sorts of problems, i use a "belomo triplet 10x" and swear by it.

Old 12th October 2017
  #5
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I bought this LCR-T4 off Ebay about 2 years ago it was £6 at the time and its superb.
It measures Resistors, Capacitors, Diodes, Transistors, Thu-hole & SMD

Old 12th October 2017
  #6
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Me doing a bit of SMD, notice I'm using a fat tip.

Old 13th October 2017
  #7
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I wouldn't waste your money on any of these fancy clamps to hold your PCB, I've spent a fortune on them the last few years and find you can't beat putting your PCB flat on a bench then at least you can rest your elbows which then leave you with a steady hand.
Old 14th October 2017
  #8
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I use a flat wooden breakfast plate. Put resistors into PCB... flip it.. solder .. rinse repeat.

Proper desolder equipment however is worth investing money in! Else you might end up ruining a 400 Euro build... I know a guy, who knows a guy, that might know another guy to whom this may have happened
Old 20th October 2017
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cane creek View Post
I have a few rules that work for me,

Rule 1
Use a fat tip, soldering is all about applying heat quickly and this cannot be done with one of those useless pointed tips.

Rule 2
Don't not use a wet sponge to clean your tip, wet sponge applied to a hot tip causes thermal shock, ok it will clean the tip but will also ruin it at the same time.
You end up needing to change your tip every couple of builds.

Since i started using a tip tinner called "Qualitek Delta Tip tinner" its now a question of how many years do i get out of a single tip, this stuff is really worth its weight in gold, you can find it HERE

Rule 3
When soldering SMT/SMD chips use lots of flux and the solder will find its way, i just use a "electrolube smf flux pen"

Rule 4
Get a smoke absorber/extractor, when i first started DIY after a build id feel nauseated off the fume, since getting a "solderwerks black jack BK486" smoke absorber I've never had a problem since as it sucks the lot up.

Rule 5
When doing SMT/SMD you need a 10x Loupe to examine your work, I've looked at my work through a magnifying glass and it looks fine then look again with a loupe and find all sorts of problems, i use a "belomo triplet 10x" and swear by it.
Great advice. I learned every one of these lessons the hard way.
Old 25th October 2017
  #10
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I did some work this weekend with some new tool acquisitions and have to say, it really felt like it helped my workflow.
  • Flush cutters: These are the best-rated ones on Amazon and seem to fare very well in reviews. They are less expensive than the Xuron or Xcelite cutters we use at work and feel much nicer IMO.
  • IC straightener: Not much to say here, it straightens the legs on the ICs so they line right up with sockets. No pins folding under the chip.
  • Lead forming tool: It's not hard to do this without the tool but it's wicked fast and helps make everything look cleaner and more uniform.

It's the little things I guess. I'd kinda like to get one of those solder spool holders too.
Old 25th October 2017
  #11
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If you're serious about SMD then get an oven. It's easy to modify an existing toaster oven with a controleo 3 or find a temp controller with thermocouple to retrofit an oven.
If you're doing any repair work then you need hot air.
Use tacky flux for soldering by hand. Pens dry out quickly and just a dab of tacky flux is more than enough to keep a component fixed in place and for solder to flow.

For through-hole I always try to impress upon timing. It's critical. Hold the tip to the component and pad, heat, add a tiny bit of solder to wet the pad and component, add a little more to solder component to pad fully, then take the iron off. Do it this way and you'll never have a cold joint.

I use 4 varying sized tips depending on the job. For fine smd work I don't drag solder either. I use a binoc scope to solder each pin individually with a very fine point if hand soldering TQFP/TSSOP/SOIC sized stuff.

stuff always being used:
lead bender
kester 331/245/EP256
flush cutters (several)
ESD safe tweezers (angled ones get used most)
hemostats
3rd hand tool for holding wires if you're doing any panel wiring
tacky flux
ISP for cleaning boards (I clean off kester no cleans)
mobile phone screwdriver set (has 60 or so different tips)
3/8" drive sockets for panel fixings (no need for hand driver because in most cases the pot shaft will make it through)
rat tail and various fine files

big stuff:
soldering station
desoldering gun (hakko 808)
hot air station
toaster oven
drill press
and most importantly OKi fume extractor!!!!!

If you're going to do any amount of soldering please get a good fume extractor! Once you buy a decent extractor and you clean it just once you'll think to yourself holy crap I was sucking all of this garbage into my lungs before getting this thing and then curse yourself for not doing it sooner.

Last edited by keninverse; 25th October 2017 at 03:09 PM.. Reason: added tools
Old 26th October 2017
  #12
The window fan I use to drain the pot smoke out of my room should suffice for ventilation, yes? My workbench is situated right at the window...
Old 26th October 2017
  #13
Sadly I don't have that luxury. I'm on the ground floor in a busy city, and had to put wooden panels in front of the windows to keep uninvited people out.
Old 26th October 2017
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil View Post
Sadly I don't have that luxury. I'm on the ground floor in a busy city, and had to put wooden panels in front of the windows to keep uninvited people out.
Yeah, I have free-range yard wolves for security. Lots of tweakers looking for anything metal not bolted down. They ripped the mailboxes up most recently, and tried to actually steal a piece of the fence that separates the beasts from their throats.

Old 26th October 2017
  #15
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Derp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil View Post
Sadly I don't have that luxury. I'm on the ground floor in a busy city, and had to put wooden panels in front of the windows to keep uninvited people out.
I'm sorry, bro. I used to live in a place like that. Not exactly my most pleasant memories and it's left me twitchy about security.
Old 26th October 2017
  #16
Seeing that dog bed made me laugh when I remembered she ate that bed a few months ago.
Old 27th October 2017
  #17
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When your new to soldering its sometime hard to get components to sit nice and flush with the PCB (not that they have to of course)

However its really simple, weather its a 16 legged socket or a 2 leg capacitors its really simple to get them to sit flush with a little technique i came up with after many builds.

All you do it just solder one leg and it doesn't matter if the component is wonky or not flush just as long as one leg is soldered.

Then hold your PCB in one hand with your hand crab shaped and with your index finger apply slight pressure on the component, then with your other hand your free to hold your iron and just touch the leg you have already soldered with the iron till it has heated up and because you are applying pressure with your index finger as soon as the old solder melts the component will instantly fall into place nice and flush, then after that you can solder all the other legs.

Id of loved to of done a quick video but i just don't have the time.

Heres a quick picture I've took which explains things, so I'm simply applying pressure to that electrolytic capacitor with my index finger and then i can get at the back of the PCB with my other hand/solder iron to heat up the leg in order to get it flush to PCB.

Old 27th October 2017
  #18
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From the building experience I've had up to now i do think bad soldering it just a result of wrong temperature, a crap soldering iron or poor maintenance of your tip

I had a Duratool soldering Iron which i used on many builds and i soldered perfectly well at 360C until its finally went to solder iron heaven.

The next Iron i went for a Hakko FX888 because everybody is hyping them, Ive had nothing but trouble wit my 888 its solders nowhere near as good as the Duratool the tip just doesnt seem to get as hot and what the screen is reporting. I don't think the Hakko FX888 is a bad iron i just think the one i have is faulty and has put me off building at the moment as soldering with a $hit iron takes away all the fun.

Its sad because if you were new to soldering and owned my Hakko 888 you would be under the illusion you were rubbish at soldering when infact its the iron which is rubbish.
Old 27th October 2017
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slaughtrhaus View Post
The window fan I use to drain the pot smoke out of my room should suffice for ventilation, yes? My workbench is situated right at the window...
If when you're soldering it draws the smoke immediately out then you're good. I've seen plenty of people rig up some dryer venting to direct smoke out the window with a bathroom fan. I don't have that luxury so I have one of these. You can pick them up on ebay for a decent price once in a while.
Old 3rd November 2017
  #20
This is a fun series:
Old 19th November 2017
  #21
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I've got that many components laying around the house and sick of making orders for items i already have or not ordering thinking i have certain items only to find I've already used them.
Yesterday I started a Excel sheet so i can quickly keep track of things, i got all the SMD Rectifiers/Regulators/Transistors/Crystals/Op Amps/Diodes catalogued yesterday and today i'm going through all the DIP IC's, oh what fun.
Old 19th November 2017
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cane creek View Post
Rule 2
Don't not use a wet sponge to clean your tip, wet sponge applied to a hot tip causes thermal shock, ok it will clean the tip but will also ruin it at the same time.
You end up needing to change your tip every couple of builds.
While I don't intend to be argumentative my friend and what ever works well for someone is worth continuing with but, I often read the comment that a wet sponge will shorten the life of the tip but I've been using the same tip on my Hakko 936 station for as long as I've had it which is almost 10 years and a majority of the time I use a wet sponge. A few years ago I got one of the brass colored coiled metal cleaners but I only use it occasionally, maybe only 20% of the 'wipes' or less, because I like the way the wet sponge cleans the tip better.

Now, I don't do a lot of builds so the tip has had it easy, and maybe my 9 to 10 years of occasional use is only equivalent to a year's worth of daily use, but I can't imagine a tip only lasting two builds?
Old 19th November 2017
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil View Post
I'll start off with some videos about soldering


This is my favorite soldering tutorial:
Old 19th November 2017
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImJohn View Post
I've been using the same tip on my Hakko 936 station for as long as I've had it which is almost 10 years and a majority of the time I use a wet sponge.
If it works for you then thats great, My Grandad never had a pipe out of his mouth and lived to 92, i often wonder if he never touched a pipe would he of lived to 102
Old 20th November 2017
  #25
A cool one from the seventies:
Old 5th December 2017
  #26
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I've been curious for sometime about the TouellSkouarn Skorn Da Bask, it's some sort of 3 Oscillator Drone/Rhythm module but at £280 - £320 depending where you see it for sale I've gave it a miss.
I've just noticed Thonk are doing a DIY kit version for £156 and seems theres currently a free P&P offer I snapped one up
Old 5th December 2017
  #27
I heard it at a festival here. It's got some very interesting timbres.
Old 8th December 2017
  #28
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Does anyone know the correct name or how to find the 10 pins for power that i solder to the board? A mouser part number would be perfect, but any name or whatever helps will do. I am out and seem too stupid to find them myself again.

That being saids, are there any other standard parts we should have a list of here?

So far i always built kits and started just recently to source parts on my own.And at least to me its a PITA because i have a hard time translating english part names to german source sites etc.. and them having not ideal search engines doesnt help too.
Old 8th December 2017
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coorec View Post
Does anyone know the correct name or how to find the 10 pins for power that i solder to the board? A mouser part number would be perfect, but any name or whatever helps will do. I am out and seem too stupid to find them myself again.

That being saids, are there any other standard parts we should have a list of here?

So far i always built kits and started just recently to source parts on my own.And at least to me its a PITA because i have a hard time translating english part names to german source sites etc.. and them having not ideal search engines doesnt help too.
They are called headers I believe.
Old 9th December 2017
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slaughtrhaus View Post
They are called headers I believe.
Header Type: Pin Strip or Shrouded
# of Positions: 10
Pitch: 2.54 mm
# of Rows: 2 Row
Style: Through Hole
Gender: Pin (Male)

So probably one of these? But verify before you buy!:
M20-9720546 Harwin | Mouser Europe
70247-1051 Molex | Mouser Europe
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