Now when you learned about soldering, it's time to put that into practice. Ready?
Part One - Soldering the first component
Let's start by soldering the headphone jack.
Here are the parts necessary for this step:
The circuit board
The headphone jack.
It's important that you solder this component in the right place. Make sure that you have the circuit board facing upwards, as shown in the photos. Once you find the place for the headphone jack pins in the corner of the board (where the black and white stripes are) adjust the component so it fits all the way in.
Once the pins are in, turn the board upside down while ensuring the headphone jack doesn't fall out. There are five soldering connections you'll have to make here.
Turn the circuit board upside down and get ready to solder the first component
Now it's time to solder the first pin!
Firstly, carefully place the soldering iron on the first pin, so that it’s touching both the pin and the little plated area around the hole that the pin is going through.
Leave it like that for about ten seconds so it heats up and then apply the tip of the solder to it. The solder should easily melt and spread evenly around the joint.
Making the first connection
Repeat the process four more times after soldering the first pin to the board.
This is how your soldering connections should look
When you solder every pin, turn the board again so you can see its front side. Check if the headphone jack sits tightly in its place.
Nice! You soldered your first components on the board
Part Two - Soldering the pushbuttons
In this step, you'll solder the two small pushbuttons to the board. Here are the components you will need:
The circuit board and two pushbuttons
Now it's time to find their place on the board. Find two small black circles with four holes in places where the pins should go. These circles are located next to the LED board and the SD card socket.
Heads up - the pushbutton pins are shaped like a rectangle, so make sure to fit them accordingly. Also, ensure that the pins go all the way through the board.
This is where you should solder your first pushbutton.
Again, solder the pins from the back side of the board. Flip it and make sure the pushbutton doesn't fall out. Start by soldering the first pin and repeat the procedure for the rest of the pins.
The first pushbutton is soldered to the board
You're doing great! Now it's time to solder the second pushbutton just across the LED display. Insert all four pins and turn the board upside down so you can make the connections.
The second pushbutton is soldered to the board
Part Three - Soldering the sliders
It's time to solder the sliding potentiometers. They are crucial components that will later be used for mixing, so your board will now start looking like a real mixtable.
There are three sliders and each slider has three pins that need to be soldered to the board. There is one pin on one end of the slider and two pins on the other end, so you don't have to worry about aligning them the wrong way.
This time, there are no circles pointing to the location of where the sliders should go, but there are three thin rectangles marking their position. Find them on the board and use the photo below as a guide.
This is where the sliders should go!
Start with any of the three sliders.
As previously mentioned, there are three pins on each slider. Fit the slider so that the two pins on one side go into the two holes on the PCB board and one pin goes into the single hole on the other side of the PCB.
Insert the slider
After you've inserted the first slider, turn the board upside down and solder the three pins.
Soldering the first pin
Put the second slider potentiometer on the board and solder it like the first one.
Sliders soldered to the board from the back
Part Four - Rotary encoders
In this part, we'll show you how to solder the seven rotary encoders. Just like the sliding potentiometers, these rotary encoders will be one big step closer in finishing your mixtable.
Here are the components that you'll need for this step. Got everything? Cool, let's start!
Components you need: 7 rotary encoders + board
Start with inserting the first encoder. As you can see in the photo, each rotary encoder goes where the black circle is shown on the board - it's hard to miss it.
Also, keep in mind that all pins must be inserted into the holes to solder the encoder to the board later. In case any of the pins bend when inserting, simply straighten them out with your fingers and try again.
There are seven pins on each encoder arranged so that there is only one way to insert it. After you insert the first rotary encoder, repeat this step six more times.
Insert all the rotary encoders
When it comes to soldering the encoders, please be careful becausenot all the pins need to be soldered to the board!
You will need to solder the five small pins and leave the two big ones just like they are without soldering them to the board. In the photos below, you can see the process step by step and the final result.
Solder the first pin of the rotary encoder
Solder the rest of the pins (except for the two big ones)
Solder the five small pins and leave out the two big ones
Now repeat the soldering step six more times until all the encoders are soldered to the board.
Your soldering joints on all the rotary encoders should look like this
Part five - Soldering the screen
Soldering the screen is the last step in this chapter. This is a pretty big one, so you should treat it with care.
You’ll notice a little protective layer on top of it, which you can take off by pulling the little green tab. Don’t do that just yet, this protective layer makes sure that the screen stays protected all the way through the soldering part.
After you’ve completed your soldering, take it off so your screen can really shine! Everything will work just as well even if the protector remains on, so don’t worry too much about it. Let's start!
You'll need the screen and the pin header, to begin with.
Components you'll need for this step
Insert the pins into the board with the screen.
Be careful in how you insert the pins since the upper and the bottom part of the pins are different.The pins on the side that you should insert into the PCB are shorter than the pins on the opposite side. Use the photo below as a reference.
Insert the pin header
It's soldering time! Now, bear with us, this is important.
Pins should be solderedperpendicular to the board with the screen. There is a useful tip that you can use at this point:
1) Solder just the first pin of one row of headers
Solder only the first pin
2) When the first pin is soldered, check if the pin header is perpendicular to the board
3) If the header is slightly skewed and needs adjusting, melt the solder and tilt the headers with your fingers.
(Watch out not to burn yourself.)
Adjust the pin header by melting the solder on the first pin
Repeat the process for the last slider as well.
The second slider
The third slider
All the sliders are now soldered to the board - good job! Ready for the next step?
Sliders soldered to the board from the front
4) Check if the headers are aligned correctly, if not then repeat the process
Repeat the step if necessary until the pin header is perpendicular to the board
The first pin is soldered and should look like this
When you're confident that the pin header is perpendicular, continue to solder all the remaining pins, just like in the photo.
All the pins are soldered!
You successfully soldered the pin header that will connect the screen with the main board. Now we'll guide you through that process as well.
Here is what you need in this step:
4 big metal bolts
4 metal spacers
4 golden spacers.
All the components you need
Start by inserting the big metal bolts into one of the holes in the corner of the display board.
Take one golden spacer and place it on the opposite side of the board screwing the bolt at the same time so that the spacer sits tightly. You can do that with your hand but don't be afraid to ask for help from an adult to make sure the bolt is tightened correctly!
Tighten the bolt
Repeat the same step on each of the corners of the screen. Take one big metal bolt and one golden spacer per corner and make sure that they are tight enough.
If you wondered how are we going to tighten the screen to the board - well, it's time to give you an answer.
Turn the main board upside down while holding the screen, so it doesn't fall out. Take one metal nut and place it at the bottom of the bolt. Tighten it with your fingers, so it holds the screen in place.
Repeat that for all four bolts!
Tighten the nut so it holds the screen in place
Repeat that step until all nuts are tightened
For extra protection, tighten the bolts by screwing them with your screwdriver. It would be best if you screwed the bolt on one side of the board while holding the nut on the other side.
Tighten the bolts with the screwdriver
Alright, everyone, this is the last time you're going to use your soldering iron in this project! It's time to solder the screen to the board. Once it's finally connected, it'll be ready to show your cool music creations.
Turn the board upside down and you should see the pins of the screen poking through. It's located between the two spacers you were just tightening in the previous step.
Time to use the soldering iron one more time!
Solder the pins that connect the screen
We hope you had a great time soldering the components. Sadly, you'll have to turn off your soldering iron now, but there are fun steps ahead, and we're not quite done yet! Please turn off your soldering iron by unplugging it from the power outlet. Leave it on the soldering iron stand for at least five minutes, so it cools off before you put it away.
Ready to continue?
If you need help with cleaning the tip of your soldering iron, please check ourvideo tutorial.