Soldering Your Way to Nirvana in .NET

Access Code 39 in .NET Soldering Your Way to Nirvana
8 Soldering Your Way to Nirvana
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A Beginning: Splicing Wires
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If you re already solder savvy, great! Feel free to skip on ahead. If not, here are a couple of exercises to get you started. 1. Using your wire stripper, strip about 3 4" of the insulation off the ends of a couple of short lengths of wire-wrap wire (see Figure 8-1).
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FIGURE 8-1: Stripped 25-30 gauge wire-wrap wires
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2. Twist the bare ends together, as illustrated in Figure 8-2.
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FIGURE 8-2: Twisted wire-wrap wires
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3. Place the tip of your hot soldering pencil against the bare wire junction, about in the middle (see Figure 8-3).
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FIGURE 8-3: Heating the wires
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4. After two to three seconds, touch the end of the solder strand to the hot junction (see Figure 8-4).
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Solder
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FIGURE 8-4: Applying solder
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Part III Dr. Frankenstein, May We Proceed
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5. Keeping the soldering tip in place, feed the solder into the junction as it melts until the twisted wires are coated with solder (see Figure 8-5).
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FIGURE 8-5: Solder melting into hot wires
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6. Remove the solder and then the pencil tip; allow the junction to cool for a few seconds before moving. Remember, good connections use solder modestly, not excessively (see Figure 8-6).
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FIGURE 8-6: Solder should coat junction without much excess.
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Keep practicing this connection with new sections of wire until you feel confident. When you have this down, you re over the hump. In this example, the soldering time is quick because there s not very much metal to bring up to temperature. Be aware though that in many soldering applications, you ll have to warm much more metal than the thin wire-wrap wire you re practicing on in the preceding example. Still, the technique is the same.
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Everyday Bent Soldering Needs
As you build the projects in this book and continue on your own, you ll employ all the common soldering techniques. Here are the most important ones to know.
What s Tinning
A term you ll see often in electronics, tinning simply means to thinly coat with solder. Melting a little solder onto the tip of your soldering pencil after cleaning it is tinning it, a process that helps keep the tip in good condition and solder-ready. More often, tinning is done to metals to be joined prior to actual soldering. This tinning makes the connection quicker, easier, and more electronically secure. Try the following if you re not already familiar with tinning.
8 Soldering Your Way to Nirvana
1. Strip about 3 4" of the insulation off the end of a multistrand wire (see Figure 8-7).
FIGURE 8-7: Stripped multistrand wire
2. Twist the bare wire strands tightly together by holding them still between thumb and forefinger and spinning the wire where the cut insulation begins with your other hand (see Figure 8-8).
Twist insulation
Hold bare wires still
FIGURE 8-8: Twist insulation while holding stripped wires.
3. Hold the hot soldering tip against the bare twisted wire (see Figure 8-9).
FIGURE 8-9: Heating the twisted wires
4. After a few seconds, feed solder into the tip/wire junction until melted solder flows into the twisted bare wires (see Figure 8-10).
FIGURE 8-10: Solder flowing into twisted wires
Part III Dr. Frankenstein, May We Proceed
5. Remove solder and then tip; allow tinned wire to cool (see Figure 8-11).
FIGURE 8-11: Tinned, stranded wire should be firm with even solder coating and penetration
6. Inspect tinned wire to confirm that solder has flowed evenly into the wire, providing a uniform coating. The loose wires have now been joined together to prevent fraying and straying against other parts of the circuit next to where the wire is meant to be soldered. Important: Always tin stranded wire before soldering it to whatever.
Soldering to Switches and Pots
I already covered the wiring of switches and pots back in 6. The actual soldering is simple. Both these components have soldering lugs ready for soldering to; some are even pre-tinned. Just run your stripped (and pre-tinned, in the case of stranded) wire through the hole in the lug and crimp it to hold it firmly in place (see Figure 8-12).
Solder
Crimp
FIGURE 8-12: First crimp wire, then solder. Clip away any excess wire.
Solder this junction just as you did the wire connection in the first exercise.
8 Soldering Your Way to Nirvana
Soldering to LEDs
Soldering wires to LEDs is just about the same as soldering wires to wires. The two leads of an LED are usually pre-tinned. Just wrap the stripped wire around the LED lead a few times and solder as usual. Here, though, be sure to solder as quickly as possible, because an LED is a heat-sensitive component and will fry if it gets too hot. In fact, the actual lead construction of LEDs is metal heavy in an attempt to absorb heat away from the actual light-emitting element. Because we ll always be using thin wire to solder to LEDs, wire that heats quickly, heat buildup shouldn t be a problem. Soldering to the far ends of the LED s leads, away from the LED housing itself, will keep heat down. If you still want a little added protection, there s always the heat sink.