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Electronic ignoramous, first project JimStim.

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  • Electronic ignoramous, first project JimStim.

    Well with time on my hands, I thought I'd finally tackle my first circuit board to final project.

    So I thought I'd try a JimStim v1.5 kit.

    Let's be very clear: I have no idea what I'm doing!

    I've got the kit in hand and will be going over to Radio Shack to get some items so that I can start working.

    A couple of questions:
    Is there a youtube video about how to properly solder things to the board? The instructions say, solder this to that. Seems easy, right? Probably so for those that have soldered this to that before, do you properly solder this to that?

    What solder do you use? I saw a recommendation for 63/37

    Do I need an anti-static strap?

    Any recommendations on soldering irons?

    Is it helpful to get one of those lighted magnifying lamps? (those of you with good eyesight need not comment )

    What am I missing and should get when I go to RS? Currently riding in a car is very unpleasant, so I want to do this once.

    Thanks for your help.

    Last edited by Bob Holmes; April 27th, 2012, 11:04 AM.
    I'm still learning

  • #2

    Re: Electronic ignoramous, first project JimStim.

    I have a simple soldering iron that has a switch between 15w and 30w. I use the 15w for parts that look sensitive to heat, 30w for everything else. I have a roll of very small gauge solder and a roll of some kind of medium gauge diameter. I only use the small stuff when the things I'm soldering are very close to each other or the leads are very thin. I highly recommend the copper braid that absorbs solder when you need to remove or redo something. With that you'll want some sharp wire cutters to trim it as it's used. The actual soldering of the joints is pretty simple. Apply small dab of solder to the iron just enough to create a heat conductive surface, gently try and touch both the circuit board contact and the part at the same time (not always possible but try), then apply the solder to the part and/or board contact letting it melt there rather than touching the iron with it. Add solder until there is an adequate blob covering the board contact on both sides of the board. You'll know when it looks right, too much and too little is pretty apparent when you look at both sides of the board.

    I assembled all the megasquirts using an anti-static mat and strap, but I will admit this last week I did some MegaSquirt soldering work with out using it. If nothing else it does protect the working table surface from errant hot pieces of solder.

    I like lots of lighting and have a very small flexible desk lamp I use for lighting. I like the soldering iron holder with the alligator clips and magnifying glass, though I've rarely used the magnifying glass (good eyes ).

    The other tool I really liked having is a very small pair of needle nosed pliers. I used these to bend the leads 90* with good accuracy and no breaking the lead. Helps as well when needing to remove a part too, soldering iron melting the solder (after removing as much as possible with the copper braid) and the pliers to pull lead through the board.

    I don't know if it's a radioshack thing or not, but I got a bottle of high percentage rubbing alcohol and a stiff bristled tooth brush from the local hardware/variety store for cleaning the board when done and resin splater everywhere.

    That's my 2 cents.
    Escaped on a technicality.


    • #3

      Re: Electronic ignoramous, first project JimStim.

      ^^^^^ What he said.

      Only exception is that I didn't bother with the anti-static mat/strap thing. I've messed around soldering since I was a kid, always in a super dry-air house in the middle of winter when the cat was afraid to get close for fear of a lightning bolt of static, and I never had any trouble.

      And I just assembled my MSII, stim, and relay board, starting shortly after Christmas up to now - most of the heavy soldering was in the dryest season for us. Everything went well, and am about ready to start bolting stuff to the car.

      I assume you've seen my adventures in learning EFI?

      Recommendation for a soldering iron - get an adjustable one with a holder and a wipe pad. is where I got mine for $16, and I didn't have to leave the house, except to get the mail.
      Last edited by STINEY; April 27th, 2012, 11:38 AM.
      Of all the paths you take in life - make sure a few of them are dirt.


      • #4

        Re: Electronic ignoramous, first project JimStim.

        I've used an adjustable iron with sponge wipe, a fume fan (because that solder smoke invariably goes right up your nose), no antistatic anything, a solder sucker for oopsies and a small pair of wire cutters for clipping pins after you solder.

        Solder sucker:

        Heat up solder, push the button and the sucker sucks the solder away. Works very well.
        Life is short. Be a do'er and not a shoulda done'er.
        1983 Mustang GT 302/T5
        1973 F-250 BBF Turbo Truck
        1986 Ford Ranger EFI 545/C6


        • #5

          Re: Electronic ignoramous, first project JimStim.

          You may find this thread helpful.........

          Last edited by TC; April 27th, 2012, 12:38 PM.


          • #6

            Re: Electronic ignoramous, first project JimStim.

            I've been using a 50w Weller forever. It's got a smallish tip, 1/8 iirc. I never liked the pointy tips. I also am impatient with smaller irons. You put this thing on, let it draw solder the same way a copper pipe will pull solder when sweated. I use a wet paper towel to clean / tin it. 60/40 LEAD solder is the easiest I've found to work with. I like the rosin core (has a flux core) for ease of use. The lead free stuff I've never gotten used to. Flux is a good idea if you can't get the solder to stick to your part. Basically an acid that is a metal prep.

            The 30w may be an okay idea to learn with , maybe a 15, but I never did get used to one. I don't leave the heat on the part any longer than it takes the solder to flow. I'd get a third arm thingy with a magnifying glass for what you are doing, it can't hurt. Sometimes 3 arms aren't available.
            Flying south, with a flock of bird dogs.


            • #7

              Re: Electronic ignoramous, first project JimStim.

              Harbor Freight has the de-solder tool James mentions, as well as this thing:

              I don't know if you can see the tip size on that iron, but it works pretty good for most anything I work with. Including the biscotti behind it. Some rednecks like cookies with their Latte's.

              You might want to consider getting a couple of tip sizes to see what you like. They should have several. If not, Lowes has an electronics of sorts aisle near their lighting. They should have some irons over there, some Klein tools too. I recommend a good stripper (wire stripper) and if you've never done copper, play with "tinning" some before putting the board together. I usually let the part take most of the heat and let it pull the lead to the board. I guess I sort of push them together the more I think about it. I push the wire against the board with the iron, and put the solder off iron , where it's not touching the iron, but the parts heat melts it.

              The lead solder may have to come from Lowes or somewhere not "eco-freaky" ... Radio Shack has turned into a phone sales store, they may not have Radio componentry or solder any more.

              I guess I can model my redneck iron holder too.

              Ashtray works great, just don't put the hot part of the iron on it... cork part and cord, okay. Hot part=busted ashtray=dad kicking beagle's ass as a child. Cough.
              Last edited by Beagle; April 27th, 2012, 02:09 PM.
              Flying south, with a flock of bird dogs.


              • #8

                Re: Electronic ignoramous, first project JimStim.

                Interesting basic tutorials from Pace:


                They're dated but are illustrative of the process.
                I'm still learning


                • #9

                  Re: Electronic ignoramous, first project JimStim.

                  Finally gathered up all the tools, Amazoned just about everything. I'll see if I can get started on putting it together this week.
                  I'm still learning