Sunday, April 8, 2018

Soldering - my first steps

Last winter holiday I got a soldering station. Time to play a bit with it.

Why I started with soldering?

I was starting to explore the world of programming for physical devices when I started building my Smart Mirror with a Raspberry Pi. When I build in the Voice Assistant in the next step, I got confronted with hardware again.
Also, I realized the huge potential of tinkering and the fun in it when I could build stuff for my vision of a smart home my self.
But there are limits on how far it is possible to go without more knowledge about electronics and the right tools as well.

What was the next step?

First, I got a bit of basic equipment to start with.
I got a HAKKO FX-888D soldering station, recommended to me by a colleague of mine, Jörn Bögeholz (you can find his blog here).
This soldering station might not be the cheapest, but for what you get it's absolute worth. The option to regulate the temperature actually is something I already use depending on the objects I am working on.

Further on, I got some accessories like a heat resistant pad, some tin, a third hand, and other stuff.

Third hand and other tools

A bit later on I also got a multimeter, recommended by Jörn as well. This enables to even deeper understand the electronic basics.

Also, we were building a little working space in order to have some room to work at and to clean up when I am done so our cat doesn't get the tin or anything else that doesn't belong to her.

My tinkering station

What next?

Since then, I was reading and watching videos a lot on the web about electronics and the proper use of a soldering iron. To get some exercise, I also ordered a few of this little exercise boards to get used to soldering of different elements.

For example, this little digital dice project to get started with.
Working on the dice

The parts of the dice after putting all the components in

The final dice

Or a set of stereo speakers, which was a present of my wife for me to start with my soldering.

How the speakers started out

The final test at the speakers before putting the case together

Finished speakers


Soldering is a lot of fun itself but it also enables so much more possibilities in the field of electronics and tinkering your own smart home. Do It Yourself (DIY) is the huge slogan which I was recognizing on the web more and more as well.

Also, when we renovated our office, we extended the tinkering area quite a bit.

The extended tinkering area
For now, I got some first practice with soldering and electronics. I also started to build a few first smart home projects, mostly containing some programmable RGB LED straps, but more on this in a different article :)