Re: Help please!!! Christmas emergency!!!!!!

by JD3 on Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:50 pm

If you are looking for help soldering, maybe an amateur radio operator (or ham) in your area might be able to help.

You can look to see if there is a ham radio group in your area and ask around?

Where do you live? (general area, don't need specifics, like street)
That little black caterpillar you just stepped on will set you back a few bucks....
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Re: Help please!!! Christmas emergency!!!!!!

by Maryblake23 on Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:05 pm

I'm in Charleston, WV. I'm an artist and normally more than able to conquer new abilities, however my eye-sight was ravaged 7 years ago by a stroke. I really wanted to present my web designer husband with this gift to show him how much I appreciate him and all of his sacrifices. I've gone through four of these damn kits and I can't get it to work! This kind of stuff usually comes so easy for me, I feel like a failure and I really wanted to surprise him. I'll get it in the end if I have to go through 100 kits, it's war now.
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Re: Help please!!! Christmas emergency!!!!!!

by nginx on Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:52 pm

Don't feel bad. Sometimes its the good intentions that matter more than the actual gift. You can even work together with your husband to get this done. He will appreciate you for trying so hard.
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Re: Help please!!! Christmas emergency!!!!!!

by john444 on Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:37 am

Hi MaryBlake23,

Your connections look as if your solder does not have flux.

Are you using Lead Solder that includes flux in the center?
For general electronics such as circuit boards, i would recommend Ersin Multicore 63/37.
Also readily available is Kester 60/40. The first number represents the % of tin.
the second is the % of lead.

Solders to avoid are 'plumbing solder', 40/60, 50/50, acid core and solder with no flux in the core.
Avoid "lead free" solders until you have significant experience soldering.
As a hobbiest, the amount of lead you would expose to the environment is trivial - IMHO.

The rosin flux greatly helps the solder behave. The flux helps the solder flow easily.
Adding a little solder with flux will often 'clean up' a joint that was all pointy.

You can also purchase just the flux. If you buy flux, get "activated" rosin flux.
This rosin flux is often available in the plumbing section of hardware stores.
Look for it in a small round metal can similar to what 'smokeless tobacco' comes in.
A tiny amount on the tip of a toothpick or match-stick will probably be more than enough
to make a single solder joint look all smooth and shiny as it should.

Good Luck, John
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Re: Help please!!! Christmas emergency!!!!!!

by Maryblake23 on Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:59 am

I was going to get a solder wick to suck up the extra solder. Thoughts?
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Re: Help please!!! Christmas emergency!!!!!!

by adafruit_support_bill on Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:13 am

Solder wick works. I also like the solder-sucker. https://www.adafruit.com/products/148

What kind of soldering iron are you using?
And what kind of solder?
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Re: Help please!!! Christmas emergency!!!!!!

by NathanJ on Mon Dec 24, 2012 2:04 am

Just thought I would post some friendly advice and encouragement!

After putting 5 of these together today I found it worked best for me that when I got frustrated to (unplug my iron for saftey) and step away for a while. also to help keep your soldering iron clean you need either a damp sponge or you can go to your local Radio Shack and get a brass sponge for a few bucks (I strongly recommend this). finally, don't feel like a failure! you are giving it your best and that (as cliche as it sounds) is all anyone can ask of you.

Sincerely, NathanJ
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