The first thing that you'll do as a part of the Spencer assembly process is soldering!
- Adafruit’s video tutorial featuring Collin Cunningham – A tutorial featuring Collin Cunningham, a super charismatic electronics guru.
- Adafruit’s standard soldering tutorial – A great and thorough video tutorial. An absolute must-read, even if you know how to solder. Make sure to check the “common soldering mistakes” section at the end.
- Sparkfun’s video soldering tutorial – Another well-made how-to-solder video tutorial.
- Sparkfun’s standard soldering tutorial – A detailed tutorial made by Sparkfun
Here are the pictures that can help you recognize good and bad solder joints:
There are several rules of soldering that everybody, regardless of their skill level, should follow at all times.
- Never inhale the dust and the fumes that can be produced by the soldering iron! These can be hazardous, so please don't inhale them.
- Never touch the tip of the soldering iron! Even if the soldering iron is turned off or completely disconnected from the power source, there is still a possibility that it’s very hot and, therefore, can cause very uncomfortable pain if touched. Always keep it facing away from your hands. If you’re finished with the soldering iron, unplug it from the power source and leave it to cool off for at least five minutes before putting it back in the box.
- Clean the soldering iron! The sponge is your best friend while soldering. Make sure to use it often and clean your soldering iron if you wish to have an easy and simple soldering experience. Carefully hold one part of the sponge with one hand and wipe the tip of the soldering iron on the other part of the sponge to remove the extra solder. Repeat the process until the tip of the iron is nice and clean from the old solder.
- Check your solder joints twice (at least)! Most of the malfunctions in the world of electronics are due to bad solder joints, so regardless if this is your first or 100th soldering project, always make sure to inspect your joints multiple times before proceeding to the next step.
- Keep the soldering iron on the stand when you’re not using it.
- Know how much solder is needed! Make sure to put just enough solder, not too much, and not too little, since both can cause the device to malfunction.
- Don’t leave any residual solder on the board! The solder should only be on the parts where the pins connect to the board. Everything else should be clean. Little pieces of solder all over the board are a big no-no!
Using the soldering iron
- White soldering iron with a temperature regulator
- Blue soldering iron with a small metal button
White soldering iron with temperature regulator
Soldering iron with a small metal button
Soldering iron with a small metal button
The correct way of taking the plastic cap off
Plug the power brick into a power outlet
The blue light means that the soldering iron is turned on
If the blue light is off, this means that the soldering iron is turned off as well.
- Tighten the metal ring with needle-nose pliers from your Tools pack.
- Secondly, melt some solder so that the tip of the iron gets covered with the solder. You should then see a shiny metal layer on the tip that will prevent overheating and burning.
Keep the soldering iron on the stand when you’re not using it!
The safest place to put the soldering iron is the stand, facing away from your hands
Use the sponge for cleaning the soldering iron after a few solder joints!
Repeat the process until the tip of the iron is nice and clean from the old solder.
Cleaning the tip of the soldering iron
The first important step is to make your little soldering space.
Remove everything from the table beside the soldering iron, sponge, stand, solder, and the components that you will use for soldering. Have at least 1 meter (3 feet) of space in all directions cleared.
Do not use any type of fabric since it can easily catch fire! You can also use an old desk that you don’t care about damaging or a clean piece of stone if you have a yard.
Now make sure to connect your soldering iron to the power source and prepare it for use by following the instructions provided.
You must be eager to start soldering by now! Go to the next chapter to see what you should be soldering, and we can start assembling!