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Soldering tips???


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#1 Dauber OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 21, 2003 10:41 AM

So, my old VCS works great, even though it spent about six years in my parents' limestone basement until I rescued it about a year ago...except the left joystick port is kind of shaky. I knew about that problem; it had that problem when I still used it regulary. Basically, I'd have to adjust the joystick cable to a certain position before the port worked. [Yes, it's the port and NOT the joystick.] So I figured there must be a short in a connection.

Just got a soldering iron for Christmas, and I'd love to fix this port. Any tips for someone who, so far, has never ever EVER soldered anything in his life? :ponder:

#2 Snider-man OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 21, 2003 11:35 AM

I've done some soldering, but only on a very, very minor scale. My biggest piece of advice:

"Make sure the freaking thing is unplugged and cooled before picking it up."

Went to put it back in the toolbox and it was still branding-iron-hot. I actually lost flesh on that blunder.

#3 CPUWIZ OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 21, 2003 11:42 AM

So, my old VCS works great, even though it spent about six years in my parents' limestone basement until I rescued it about a year ago...except the left joystick port is kind of shaky. I knew about that problem; it had that problem when I still used it regulary. Basically, I'd have to adjust the joystick cable to a certain position before the port worked. [Yes, it's the port and NOT the joystick.] So I figured there must be a short in a connection.

Just got a soldering iron for Christmas, and I'd love to fix this port. Any tips for someone who, so far, has never ever EVER soldered anything in his life?  :ponder:


My advice is to experiment on a piece of equipment that is beyond repair before working on the real deal. Something like a broken radio, PC motherboard or similar.

@Snider-man: LOL

#4 Paul Slocum OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 21, 2003 11:43 AM

I bet the solder joints are cracked where the joystick connector is soldered to the board. If that's the problem, then just reheat them for a second.

For more advanced soldering, get some soldering flux. It makes it a lot easier.

-Paul

#5 Nukey Shay OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 21, 2003 1:59 PM

I was pretty lucky in that the only thing that I've owned that needed soldering was copper tubing for a new water heater. How's that for practicing large? :D

#6 DanBoris OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 21, 2003 3:30 PM

I've done soldering professionally for a lot of years so here are a few tips:

- For fixing solder joints on circuit boards use a low wattage (30W or under) soldering iron. Don't use those big 100W soldering guns that Radio Shack sells, you will risk damaging the circuit board. The higher wattage can be good for larger solder joints, like the switches, but the smaller one will work, it will just take more time.

- Keep your iron clean. Use a moist sponge while you are working with the iron, and some steel wool if it gets really dirty.

- "Tin" the iron after each time you clean it. Tinning means to melt a little fresh solder on the tip.

- The biggest mistake I see people doing when soldering is to touch the solder directly to the iron when soldring a joint. Instead, put the iron on one side of the pin and the solder on the opposite side. When the solder starts melting the heat of the iron will pull the solder around the pin giving you a good joint.

- When you are done inspect carefully to be sure you didn't bridge the solder to a second pin.

As someone else recommended, if you have a circuit board you don't mind trashing, practice on that first. (ET and Pac-Man carts are good for this!) The circuit boards in older game system where pretty resiliant and as long as you are careful you probably won't damage the board.

Dan

#7 Dauber OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 22, 2003 7:35 AM

I've done soldering professionally for a lot of years so here are a few tips:

- The biggest mistake I see people doing when soldering is to touch the solder directly to the iron when soldring a joint. Instead, put the iron on one side of the pin and the solder on the opposite side. When the solder starts melting the heat of the iron will pull the solder around the pin giving you a good joint.  

Dan


HUH?? What pin?? If the iron is on one side, how does the solder stick to the other side???

#8 Raijin Z OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 22, 2003 2:21 PM

Heat the element, not the solder, then touch the solder to the element. If the metal is hot enough, the solder will bind to it immediately. Try heating a braided wire, and applying solder to it. CAPPILARY ACTION. Woot.

#9 D.Yancey OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 23, 2003 12:01 PM

Thanks for the great professional tips! My iron got dirty-I'll use the steel wool trick and "tin" it when I'm done from now on. :wink:

#10 z28in82 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 27, 2003 7:13 AM

Stuff like this is always good to know anymore tips for those of us just trying our hands in soldering?

#11 ATARI TROLL OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 27, 2003 9:02 AM

Thanks again. Great info here!

#12 Nathan Strum ONLINE  

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Posted Tue May 27, 2003 3:19 PM

I've done soldering professionally for a lot of years so here are a few tips:


Great tips! The only thing I could add to that, is if you're going to do a lot of soldering (or resoldering) is invest a few bucks in a desoldering iron. Radio Shack sells one. These work great for desoldering connections for replacing components. They take some time to heat up, but once they're at temperature, you can desolder a lot of connections quickly and completely. I wouldn't have wanted to replace the switches in my 2600 without one.

#13 ussexplorer OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 29, 2003 3:09 AM

My tips for soldering is. Make sure you have alot of bandages and cold water/gell. :)

Laters,

Josh

P.S. Thanks for the tin tip. I forgot all about that. The rest is common sense. :)

#14 Raijin Z OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 30, 2003 5:18 AM

I do all of my soldering on a sheet of corrugated, on my bed.




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