Let's Make Robots!

How did you guys learn soldering?

Hi all,

I again :). 

So, I now got all parts I need to build the SHR but with Arduino. But, I forgot something important... I do have a soldering station and solder, I don't have experience with soldering at all though.
Now before I start to solder my Arduino board and probably destroy it, I want to get comfortable with soldering first. But how? I thought of buying a prototype board like this: Click and just begin to solder some random components on to it.
But I think there has to be a better way to learn soldering, with a better way I mean not just soldering random components but soldering components together that actualy can do something together and result in a working electronic something.

That's when I thought, lets ask the forum once again :). 

Thank you.

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Oh! Oh! I know this one! ; j

Check out the LMR Primer, and look under the heading, "How do I... ?". There's a link to some good instructional videos. Or just search YouTube for 'how to solder'. It is worth the time.

There are a few things to remember about soldering.  You're not melting the solder with your iron, you're heating the connection until it's hot enough to melt solder.  A small amount of solder on the tip of the iron ('wetting") helps transfer the heat.  Just remember that you're NOT carrying melted solder on your iron to "glue" the connection together.

Basically, you touch the hot iron to the connection, and then the solder to the area between the parts (lugs, wires, component, board--etc.) that you're soldering,  and the tip of the iron.  It should melt and flow into the connection.

When you get it right, it flows into the connection and looks shiny and smooth.  It should follow the contours of the parts and not look like a glob or ball.  You shouldn't use so much that it flows onto nearby connections.

It's the kind of thing that looks obvious once you've done it.  And once you get it a couple times, you absolutely understand it.

Of course, I'm talking about your typical circuit board/lugs and wires type soldering.  Surface mount components use different techniques and it goes without saying that you're out of that league for a while.

Actually, your idea of soldering some random parts to a piece of prototyping board isn't a bad one.

Mitch Altman got a pretty good comic style "How to solder" book. It's even available in different languages.

Just buy a soldering kit and try it on a old PCB  to make sure you got it right. There is nothing special, just try.

 

Here is my favorite soldering tutorial vid. His voice is very peaceful too lol.

If you are just starting out then maybe you should buy some perfboard from Radio Shack or the like and make some basic circuits. I'd say LED flasher circuits and op-amp circuits are both good genres to find some simple but not worthless circuits to hone your talents on. Both are cheap to populate with commonly available components and you could end up with something useful for later down the road. BEAM circuits are usually made of cheap components as well and aren't terribly difficult to make. Some make for interesting robots. Making a switch panel is something you will definitely use later. Most switches are relatively robust when compared with some of the more delicate components we work with. They could take more "getting-my-skills" abuse. Just some ideas.

You can watch how I assemble the board in this video. But remember, I took the video while soldering version 2 of the board, there are a few differencies between V2 and V3.

Thanks for all the tips!

I think I'll just order some kits like this one (I assume they are ment to be built and aren't already built together?) and get used to soldering before starting with my Robot. Dear I can't wait to start.
As you can tell, the kit I linked is from Jameco, as I live in Canada, are you aware of any online stores like Jameco from Canada?

Great help as usual! 

NVM, found an online shop located in at my place Vancouver :).
http://www.canakit.com