Should DIYAutoTune.com offer a learn to solder kit? - Page 2 - Miata Turbo Forum - Boost cars, acquire cats.

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Old 07-16-2011, 08:05 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kotomile View Post
Thanks for the tips. I'd still want to practice on something less expensive first
Me too.

I built a 14point7 wideband as my first soldering project. It worked great until it shot sparks and smoke after a week or so. Paid Brain to build my MS...

Edit: Matt, I would have bought something like this from you if it was available.

Last edited by 94mx5red; 07-16-2011 at 08:13 AM. Reason: .
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Old 07-16-2011, 12:29 PM   #22
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I'd definitely want this. I'm considering a DIYPNP, but my lack of soldering skills are making me consider an assembled ECU.
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Old 07-16-2011, 12:44 PM   #23
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I think it's a good idea, but I'm not sure that I would buy it.

The big thing keeping me from building PCB's is the ignorance to electronics. I see these PCB's and all the stuff that goes on them and I have no clue what they're doing. They'e all basically "little magical boxes and tubes" that make sparks go through wires and make my car go fast. Maybe if I learned something I'd be more interested.
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Old 07-16-2011, 01:21 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tasty danish View Post
get a pencil tip for your iron, and really skinny silver solder.
^^^ this.

The biggest single mistake I see people making is using crappy irons and solder that's too large. The tip of your iron is the single biggest factor in determining how easy of build you're going to have, and unfortunately, cheap irons use cheap tips. You simply cannot buy a good tip for a crappy iron, because they don't make them. (It's sort of an inverse-Gillette model; they make you buy an expensive iron to have access to the good tips.)

I'm perhaps a little out-of-touch with reality on the subject of irons, since I do this stuff for a living. Thus, even the iron in my garage at home is a pro-grade Weller unit, and at work, I have access to a pair of $800 Metcal MX500s. I've had the same tip on my iron at home for about ten years now, and it's still in near-perfect condition. A the tip on a Radio-Shack iron will be corroded and useless within the first hour of operation.

How much do you guys think is reasonable for a good iron?

As an example, with a better tip on it, this unit would probably be "adequate" for building an ECU.

If you want a really good iron, this one is the current-gen equivalent of the one I use. It's $83.55. Is that too much to pay to have a really good iron to assemble your $450 ECU with, and that'll last for decades?



Now, I will differ slightly on the matter of solder. Silver-bearing solder, and especially the lead-free variety, just isn't as good as the old stuff. The absolute best solder for general-purpose electronics work is what's known simply as 63/37 (63% tin, 37% lead).

Why is this? Because it's idiot-proof. 63/37 has the lowest melting point of all solder alloys, and more importantly, it has virtually no plastic range. Most solder alloys go through a gradual phase change from liquid to solid as they cool, and so there's a point where, if you move the parts at all, you wind up with a crappy, crystalline-looking joint which is likely to break. 63/37 is unique in that it transitions from a liquid to a solid almost in a single step, so the chance of producing a bad joint is reduced.

60/40 is the more traditional blend for electronics work, and it's fine, too. Still has a low melting point, you just have to be more careful with it as it solidifies.

Also, don't screw around with the fancy "clear flux" or "no-kleen" ****. You want plain ole' rosin core, icky-brown-flux solder.

Diameter-wise? .062" seems to still be the most common, and this was fine back in the days of tabbbed point-to-point wiring inside console radios (eg: the 60s.) For delicate stuff, you want something in the vicinity of .020" to .032". You have to feed a lot more of it in to cover large joints (like the legs of TO220 FETs) however it makes things a lot easier on small parts, especially those damn TO-92 transistor pads on the 3.0 board. (I don't know why they designed the pads that way. TO-92s are a lot easier to solder when the pads are spaced out in a triangular shape.)

If you live in an area where Radio Shack is the only option, they only have one solder that you'll want: http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...erValue=Solder It's a 60/40 blend at .032", so it's not perfect, but it's good enough.





Quote:
Originally Posted by hustler View Post
The big thing keeping me from building PCB's is the ignorance to electronics. I see these PCB's and all the stuff that goes on them and I have no clue what they're doing.
They're quite simple, really. All electronic components are powered by smoke. So long as the smoke stays inside them, they work. If you let the smoke out, they stop working.
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Old 07-16-2011, 01:41 PM   #25
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Solder: I prefer SN60PBCu2 myself, 0.5mm. I tried to stick with lead-free for awhile, failed miserably when trying to solder little parts.

An expensive, fine tip does work wonders, yes.
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Old 07-16-2011, 02:12 PM   #26
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I have some nice, actual lead 60/40 1.0mm I use for general wire splicing.

I found it was WAY too thick when I started doing my first circuit board. I only have radio shack around so I went there looking. I got 60/38/2 silver solder in .015 diameter and it works pretty nice.

In my experience RS has crap solder, but if you pay a little extra for their silver stuff it's actually pretty good. I enjoyed working with the really skinny solder, as even though it's a touch more work, it's really easy to get that PERFECT amount on your joint, which really helps when you're soldering stuff that's really close together.

Hustler: I have NO electronic knowledge like Joe or Rev do. I got into this stuff because I hated butt splices and wanted to learn a cleaner way to work with splicing wires in my motorcycles.

Eventually that evolved to me building full wiring harnesses, and now, making megasquirts. I never got into MS before the ms3, and I'm not sure if I could, as I have no desire to learn custom circuits/etc. But I have found, if you are very tedious about following the directions for assembly, it damn near builds itself.

When I hooked it up to the stim for the first time and everything "just worked" I couldn't believe it.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:33 PM   #27
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In to learn to solder.

"Hooked on Solder worked for me!" <you can use this

Last edited by Rocky64; 07-16-2011 at 11:36 PM. Reason: hooked on solder
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Old 07-17-2011, 01:30 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanRaduechel View Post
I like the idea of building your own shift light, would it be a sequential shift light, or just a simple set to x RPMs and it comes on?
Sequential.

Also thinking about sequential lights to hook up to any 0-5V sensor for the track crew (think TPS or a pressure sensor mounted on a brake line). I see plenty of track cars that have a simple brake light on the dash to get picked up by the in car camera so the driver can see when they applied the brakes. One of the ideas we tossed around would be a sequential, multiple led display that would light up depending on how hard you hit the throttle or brake. The kit would be cheap, but would also require an inexpensive pressure sensor if used as a brake display.
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:46 AM   #29
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Sounds like you are looking to supply kits like these-
http://www.maplin.co.uk/components/electronic-kits

Det cans ?????
http://www.maplin.co.uk/super-stereo-ear-kit-32208
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:31 AM   #30
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I have this $30 wonder:
http://www.circuitspecialists.com/so...g-station.html

which is the cheap version of Joe's favorite above. and if you scroll down, you'll see you can get replacement tips for it. the long conical tip is fine for doing stuff like replacing the dinky, fine pitch surface mount stuff.

But just as important for normal soldering is this jazz:
http://www.circuitspecialists.com/null/csi927.html

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Old 07-17-2011, 04:08 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by y8s View Post
I have this $30 wonder:
http://www.circuitspecialists.com/so...g-station.html

which is the cheap version of Joe's favorite above. and if you scroll down, you'll see you can get replacement tips for it. the long conical tip is fine for doing stuff like replacing the dinky, fine pitch surface mount stuff.

But just as important for normal soldering is this jazz:
http://www.circuitspecialists.com/null/csi927.html

How often do you need to change tips?
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:59 PM   #32
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Rather than a shift light, is a turbo timer reasonable? Or, would that be too complicated?

How about a dash dial that allows us to pick our windshield wiper delay?
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:42 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben View Post
Sequential.
I'm in for this, and I know how to solder. Prices for commercial shift lights are redonkulous.

C
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:48 PM   #34
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I would like that too. Most of the stuff I have soldered has been for making longer lengths of cord for kids to put inline with light bulbs and batters in class to make a circuit. It did matter how sloppy my solders were as the kids would play with the wire and screw them up anyway.
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:49 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenzo42 View Post
How often do you need to change tips?
almost never. maybe once since I got the thing in 06. my current tip is a little mashed up but it's perfectly tinned and totally useable.
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Old 07-18-2011, 12:17 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by y8s View Post
I hate judging by sight alone, but that looks like a pretty decent soldering station, actually. And if the tips are durable, all the better.

I've used some that look pretty good, and even cost more than my Weller, that are damn near garbage. This one is a good example:



http://www.amazon.com/Hakko-Solderin...958829&sr=1-11

The chief down at *** Radio in Birmingham bought one last month while I was down there. Well-built, but the tip didn't flow well (solder didn't like to stick to it) and it had really poor recovery; if you put it onto a large terminal (like one of the pins on a male XLR connector) and tried to flow solder into the joint, all the heat got sucked out of the tip and it took forever to heat up again so that you could continue.
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Old 07-18-2011, 01:03 AM   #37
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Metco? Damn Joe I thought my adjustable temp weller was baller.
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Old 07-18-2011, 01:08 AM   #38
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I took a gamble and bought this one a while back:



works really well compared to the weller stations I grew up using. its even a PWM based heater circuit
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Old 07-18-2011, 01:11 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faeflora View Post
Metco? Damn Joe I thought my adjustable temp weller was baller.
What the heck is Metco?
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Old 07-18-2011, 01:40 AM   #40
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Wait, you mean Metcal?

Yeah, the MX500 is without a doubt the best soldering station I have ever used.

One nice thing about it is that the "tips" are actually cartridges about 6" long, which contain their own heater and temp sensor. To change tips, you just yank out the old one (with needle-nose pliers) and then shove the new one in. Takes about five seconds. And because each tip is calibrated to its own specs, there is no need for a manual temperature control. You put a big tip in, and it heats up to "big tip" specs. Put in the 0.4mm tip, and it heats up to "tiny tip" specs.

Warmup and recovery? Instantaneous. I turn the iron on, and in the time it takes me to focus the microscope it's ready to go.

With the right iron, you can pull a TO252 off of a 1" pad with vias every 5mm, then change tips and lift a single leg on an LQFP-144 in under a minute.

Badass iron:




But so as not to totally derail the thread, the key point is this: apart from knowing what you are doing, having a good-quality iron and the right solder is the single most important factor in determining whether you are going to have an easy build and a good-looking finished product, or a frustrating time and a crappy, unreliable board. You don't have to spend a thousand bucks, but don't expect to find what you are looking for at Radio Shack, either.


Sidebar: I just realized that the two Metcal irons that we have at work, combined, are worth more than my car. Of course, every single one of the PCBs that we use those irons on are also worth more than my car, so I guess it evens out.
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