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Soldering Course & Competition at EE Live! 2014?

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Max The Magnificent
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What competition circuit
Max The Magnificent   11/26/2013 3:26:26 PM
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Now I have the idea of a small soldering competition circuit board floating around in my head. It woudl be great is we had a tri-colored LED (or maybe a number of individual LEDs) and we could arrange it so that bad solder joints affected the LEDs in some way ... but maybe I'm over-thinking this...

David Ashton
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Soldering
David Ashton   11/26/2013 3:56:52 PM
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Max - "....if we were to hold a soldering competition at EE Live! 2014,"

If I make it I'd give it a go.  Time us Aussies took something else off you guys besides the Americas Cup :-)

I recently constructed a 4x4x4 tri-colored 3D LED cube kit that required 400-plus soldered joints... needless to say it worked the first time I powered it up (well, actually, if truth be told, this was the first project I've ever built that worked the first time, but let's not rain on my parade as it were)."

Rats!  I was looking forward to you sending it to me for final commissioning..... :-)

zeeglen
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Re: What competition circuit
zeeglen   11/26/2013 4:22:53 PM
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All this talk about soldering reminds me of Day 2 at college.  The instructor passed around squares of plywood filled with nails along the edges.  We had to create a criss-crossed array of bare wires using the nails as anchors and solder them at every junction.

Many folks learned soldering through building of kits, Heathkit included a soldering how-to manual with every kit.  Funny how the worst solderers were TV repairmen, followed by ham radio operators.  Most first-timers followed the tips and did a decent job.

Rcurl
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Re: What competition circuit
Rcurl   11/26/2013 4:51:31 PM
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@Max:"It would be great is we had a tri-colored LED (or maybe a number of individual LEDs) and we could arrange it so that bad solder joints affected the LEDs in some way"

Practical Components: http://www.practicalcomponents.com/ offers some soldering training kits.  Some of their kits come with a PC board and a special quad flatpack "dummy" chip that has some pins internally connected to each other. The idea is that you solder it to the board and then check the continuity between two pads on the PCB.  The circuit zigzags in and out of the chip package through all of the pins, so if you've got continuity, you've either got all the solder joints right (or at least conducting), or you've got a solder bridge.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: What competition circuit
Max The Magnificent   11/26/2013 4:57:10 PM
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@Rick: Practical Components: http://www.practicalcomponents.com/ offers some soldering training kits.

That's an interesting idea about the special quad flatpack thingies ... I shall ponder furiously on this...

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Soldering
Max The Magnificent   11/26/2013 4:58:33 PM
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@David: If I make it I'd give it a go.

I cannot imagine anyone I'd prefer as my "runner-up" LOL

steveDS
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Soldering challange
steveDS   11/26/2013 7:30:22 PM
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To make it really interesting you need to dead bug a chip on the board with blue wires!

antedeluvian
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Getting nasty
antedeluvian   11/26/2013 7:33:28 PM
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If you want to separate the wheat from the chaff, try getting them to solder magnet wire.

antedeluvian
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How would you judge?
antedeluvian   11/26/2013 7:39:19 PM
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If such a competition were to take place, would you be interested in taking part?

How would you judge the solder joins? neatness, connectivity, symmetry, strength, "blobiness"? Seems a bit subjective, like gymnastics. "A 7 from the Russian judge"

I would take part, but I have no illusions about winning!

zeeglen
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Re: Getting nasty
zeeglen   11/26/2013 11:29:13 PM
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How about ultra-fine-ptch SMT with a 3/16" tip 'cuz the boss won't invest in a real soldering station - and without a microscope!  The ultimate soldering challenge!  (And yes, been there...)

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