Learning To Do Electrical Soldering

My dad was an electronic instrument tech in the air force, and later ran
a side business (among a few) repairing CB radios. He never taught me
to solder. I watched him work a few times, and did a few solder jobs as
a kid, but he never sat down and said, "Do this, don't do that, this is
why." My first actual soldering iron was repairing some camera shutter
switches (or something like that I forget) with my Uncle John. John is
not typically a handy person. He taught me about tinning both parts
letting them flow together and making sure you had a continuous shiny
finish. With those limited skills I was able to do a lot of work. I
repaired guitar cables, fixed my own radios, and managed to muddle my
way through simple control hardware, and got things done. I favored a
small lower power iron. I really favored the low power iron when I did
my first soldering intensive work for myself and others for fun and
profit. Making parallel cross over cables for PC to PC data transfer.
Much faster than serial null modem communication.
I never really liked those big clunky solder guns. I own two of them.
One was still in the cellophane inside the box until a couple days ago.
Whenever I needed to solder something heavy I always went right to the
torch. Well, a few days ago my son volunteered to install a new brush
assembly in one of my Milwaukee cordless drills. Rather than splice the
wires we went right to the trigger switch where my little pencil irons
just wouldn't touch solder on the terminals. I broke out the big old
solder gun, and handed it to him. Before I could make it thru the door
back into my office he was saying it worked almost instantly and asking
why I never taught him to use that before. LOL.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
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Like father ---- like son ---- right?
We are our parents --- no matter how much we try to deny it. LOL
I started soldering all by myself when I was about 10 years old. I don't re member if I saw my father do it or someone else. But I had an idea how it w as supposed to work. I've always been inquisitive and experimented with thi ngs. When I was 10 I was really into electric trains. I had two Lionel engi nes and a lot of track from the two complete sets that I had. I very quickl y got tired of them going in circles and got a 4X8 compressed cardboard (I think) board to do a layout with trees and tunnels etc. Well, I got tired o f that too and tired of the trains falling off the tracks when they went ar ound corners. So, I got some boards, laid them on the ground outside and ta cked all my straight tracks to the boards. I attached my transformer to the tracks with the intention of gaining as much speed as possible without fa lling off on a curve. Well, what I didn't count on was that the transformer power got less as the train got further down the track which caused the en gine to go slower at the end of the track. So then I added my other transfo rmer near the end of the track and had that engine zipping along pretty fas t. Then my friend George came over with his trains and we set them up paral lel to mine with the intention of having races. Since he had bigger transfo rmers, he would always win. So I did some reading and found out a little bi t about voltages and current and resistance and figured out that if I remov ed some of the coils from the electric motor in the train it would be less resistance which would allow more current and thus go faster. I disassemble d the engine and removed some of the coils from the motor and that's when I learned to solder. I remember the soldering iron was a big old iron with a huge tip on it. Something like a plumber would use back then. It had one o f those old cloth covered cords on it.
I won the next race but burned the motor out in the engine. It was smokin l ike hell racing down the track. But I won !!!!! LOL
Later in life I got a job at a company that was doing mil spec harness wiri ng for military planes using the old amphenol multi-pin connectors and went for training to learn mil spec soldering and became the lead harness maker within a few months. We had to hand tie all the cables with nylon cord usi ng clove hitch knots. There wasn't any color coded wire either. All the wir e was white with hot stamp codes on them. All cut to specific lengths with pre-tinned tips.
I just had to solder a land on a PC board the other day. It's like riding a bike. Once you learn how, you never forget it.
Reply to
Jim Davis

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