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zeeglen
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Breadboarding
zeeglen   11/26/2013 9:37:49 AM
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Solderless breadboards are OK for many circuit designs, but when dealing with RF or low-level analog the only sure breadboard is copperclad.  This requires soldering skills.

Caleb Kraft
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Re: Other lost skills coming back
Caleb Kraft   11/26/2013 9:31:35 AM
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complexity is a killer here. On older circuits, I could visually trace things. On newer circuits, I have no idea what is going on in all the layers of the board and the more complex power routing with which I am not educated. 

Ron Neale
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Re: Soldering.....Dry Joints essential knowledge
Ron Neale   11/26/2013 6:53:38 AM
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Duane; I think the point you make when you run your soldering iron over all the joints is although it might be useful to know how to solder, it is even more useful and important for engineers to know exacltly what a dry joint is, why it occurs, what it looks like and the all the possible consequeces intermittent or otherwise.

I recently had a home motion detector fail. The symptoms: the device detected motion turned on and would not turn off unless reset at the mains. Suspected the timer and light level variable resitors rotated them about with no joy. Although a relative low cost item I decided to do my own tear-down. After solving the puzzle of getting it apart inside were a mixed collection of discrete components, ICs and a few little mystery boxes, Some of the little little PC boards had evidence of poor soldering, oxide gray-white color! I scraped at those joints that were visible and soon the detector was fully operational.  A quick dab with a hot soldering iron and flux on each joint and the device was soon back in place working. Money saved about £20 ($30) fun and satisfaction value £or$ priceless.

Crusty1
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Re: Other lost skills coming back
Crusty1   11/26/2013 5:17:26 AM
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oops seemed to get posted a number of times sorry

Crusty1
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Re: Other lost skills coming back
Crusty1   11/26/2013 5:14:37 AM
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Hi Duane: I agree I have started to repair consumer products again. There is so much more information available on the net now, such as tear downs and repair videos.

My daughters Canon Ixius camera had a problem with it's zoom switch, a similar wreck from e-bay produced the part, no soldering, but I did need the other skill I have, which is watch repair, try taking a ladies cocktail dress watch apart, to see how small they got mechanical watches.

I think just like well priced mechanical watches much consumer electronics have become very modular, so breaking down and reassembly has become easier.

That is apart from getting a seam welded case open without cosmetic damage, anyone got a tip for this?

Duane Benson
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Re: Soldering.....
Duane Benson   11/26/2013 4:09:56 AM
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David - "MANUFACTURERS should know how to solder"

I second that! More tah once, my repair has simply been to touch up a solder joint.

There really is an art to solder machines - surface mount or though hole. Proper application of flux with a wave solder or selective solder can have a big effect. The speed through the wave can. With surface mount reflow, there are a very large number of parameters to get right.

What amazes me is how many devices have ambysmal quality hand solder joints of thru-hole parts. They look like they could have been built in the 1980's. Most power supplies I've opened up - wall or car - seem to fall into this workmanship category.

David Ashton
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Soldering.....
David Ashton   11/26/2013 3:48:59 AM
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Duane... "my personal opinion is that electronics engineers should know how to solder."   Leave aside the engineers - MANUFACTURERS should know how to solder.  One of my pet peeves is the use of wave soldering on parts like power sockets, screw terminals, connectors etc.  It's never enough.  The number of things I've repaired by resoldering parts like this is unreal.  ANY component which gets mechanical stress needs proper soldering, with a bit of meat on the joint.   I don;t know much about soldering machines, but they always seem to get it wrong.

David Ashton
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Re: Other lost skills coming back
David Ashton   11/26/2013 3:39:35 AM
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@Duane.... "It's incredibly easy to find schematics or other documentation"  I wouldn't quite go along with that, there are just so many different makes and models of things around these days.   But in many ways it is easier for the hobbyist or garage repair-guy to get info than it used to be.  And the number of people who share their tricks and fixes online is great.    

I have found that often the difficulty is getting the right parts - I recall a plasma TV that needed some electrolytics (as usual in TVs) but I could NOT get the right rating and the right form factor anywhere.  Eventual;ly I had to junk it.

I also fixed a cordless drill recently - I could not find info but traced a dry joint.  But reckoning my time at what I get paid at work, I could have probably bought a couple of new drills....  which is why no one does it commercially.

Crusty1
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Re: Other lost skills coming back
Crusty1   11/26/2013 3:13:45 AM
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Hi Duane: I agree I have started to repair consumer products again. There is so much more information available on the net now, such as tear downs and repair videos.

My daughters Canon Ixius camera had a problem with it's zoom switch, a similar wreck from e-bay produced the part, no soldering, but I did need the other skill I have, which is watch repair, try taking a ladies cocktail dress watch apart, to see how small they got mechanical watches.

I think just like well priced mechanical watches much consumer electronics have become very modular, so breaking down and reassembly has become easier.

That is apart from getting a seam welded case open without cosmetic damage, anyone got a tip for this?

Duane Benson
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Re: Other lost skills coming back
Duane Benson   11/25/2013 9:18:02 PM
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Caleb - "...that I never would have found on my own, but they were documented issues."

It pretty much seems like if I've had a device fail, someone else has had the same thing fail and has posted some information on it online.

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