Do I really need a college or university course to learn how to solder? I'd like to learn and become proficient and do repairs in the future. But holy tits even the bottom of the barrel shitty college courses here are $10,000 for a 2 year courses. That's a ridiculous amount of money to throw out without a guarantee that I'll make it back quickly. It's not really an option anyway as my credit is shit since I have a few things in collections. (Fun fact the last time I went to school for something they let me in the course before my student loan was completed and I ended up with 8,000 dollars in debt that never went on a loan)
So the bottom line is, I want to learn. Are there free online resources that can help me build my skills without sinking money into colleges, or perhaps alternative more reasonable courses?
Here at my work we manufacture pcb's. We can typically teach some one off the street to solder well in two weeks or less.
But to understand the "why's & how's" I would recommend going to school.
You want to learn how to solder?
Buy a cheap 20-30 watt iron + stand, some 60/40 lead solder a roll of equipment wire and one of those wire strippers with just the one hole.
First you practice stripping insulation off the wire until you can do it without marking the conductor at all. This is harder than it sounds.
Then you try soldering bits together.
Heat up the wire with the iron then feed the solder onto the wire, not the iron.
Simple as that.
Wipe the tip on a wet sponge to clean it, put a little solder on the tip to keep it'wet' at all times, eg don't sponge clean then leave the tip or it will go rusty
It doesn't take a two year course to learn soldering, I used to help out on electrical courses, most people pick it up in about 3-5 minutes.
If you want to learn electronics go to a library and find the oldest book they have. Ideally ask if they have any withdrawn from stock books they are getting rid of. New books are all shite.
I've watched a few tutorials for laptop soldering and took note of some of the tools they were using. There's a lot I don't understand that I want to be sure about.
Like in terms of a power jack replacement on a motherboard. I'm essentially melting down small conductive metal no? Then how is it that I'm not also damaging the surrounding materials, other metals or the silicone of the board? Is this where just being precise comes in?
What about fragments left over? If I miss even a little bit on cleanup or it hardens and gets into a crevice am I at serious risk for electrical damage?
Any answers are appreciated with much thanks
A laptop is going to be mostly surface mount, so a hot air station might be needed, not sure if the power jack is through hole.
Solder is pretty amazing stuff.
You just need to jump in and practice.
Another thing I was wondering about. I recently had an alienware power supply break between the wires on each side. (See photo) I may potentially sound like a huge retard here, but is it possible to melt the wires back together and seal them in with electrical tape? Or is that not a working solution?
Solder is an alloy that melts at very low temperatures compared to the components so don't worry about melting anything metal, it's the plastic bits you have to avoid. You also need to be fairly proficient at soldering before trying anything you care about, you need to be able to do it fairly quickly with the minimum amount of heating up and iron contact time, if you leave it on too long you might melt it. Depending on the size of the terminal it should take you 2-15 seconds, obviously bigger terminals take longer to heat up.
Saying that solder will only stick to metal and even then it doesn't like cold metal. Your PCB should have a solder mask which will repel molten solder from bits that aren't pins.
If you have a reasonably steady hand and the right sized tip on your iron you shouldn't be anywhere near anything else. A magnifying glass or microscope can be a real help if you have shaky hands for some weird reason.
If you are replacing a jack you will need at the minimum a solder pump and some de soldering braid would be helpful. Heat up the contacts one at a time then remove the iron and quickly apply the sucker thing while its still wet (melty)
If you need to clean it up more put braid between the contact and the iron and the braid will suck off the solder.
Wiggle it with pliers so got don't burn your fingers while you try to keep all the contacts wet and the old bit should fall out.
If you had some flex on the plug you could strip both ends back and then crimp and cover with heat shrink.
I wouldn't fuck about with melting physic plastic together it's not going to give a sound joint.
Really if its just one of those mains leads with a c14 on the end just take the fuse out of the plug and throw it away.
Why do you take out the fuse? Because if you throw it away some retarded kid will pick it up and plug it in and play with the live wires. Don't laugh it happens.
What if your country doesn't have fuses in plugs? Move out of the 3rd world asap.
Ah so it's a compound, that's certainly encouraging but I'll try to be precise regardless.
Could you explain a bit more about solder mask? Also in the particular tutorial I watched they just used soldering braid for clean up after wiping out excess with something else. It looked time consuming but effective.
Can you recommend a good soldering iron to start with on the electronic repairs I'm working on? I've heard some get too hot or take too long to heat up etc.
I don't quite understand what you mean by 'flex' I assume heat shrink is to insulate the wires. As for melting plastic I wasn't really thinking of doing that. I meant stripping back each wire on either side then melting them together at the ends.
I also don't get what you mean about fuses, I have to remove a fuse when reattaching a cord? In all the videos I've seen of a box's interior it's just been soldering a couple of wires on the inside.
Solder mask is what makes the PCB green. Or whatever colour.
When you make a PCB you start with some fibreglass or something covered in copper then you etch away the copper you don't want. Pretty wasteful right? Anyway if you solder it like that it gets messy because you when you heat up the contact the heat conducts along the track so when you apply the solder it wicks and spreads along the track.
A solder mask is just a covering that covers the track but doesn't cover the contacts so it stops the solder making an ugly mess basically.
Other things PCBs usually get is a bath in tin or silver or something to coat the copper connectors to make them look better and probably some other benefits?
Saying that if you are soldering wires or other big things you can tin the contacts which means you melt a little bit of solder onto the contacts before soldering it into place. This means you don't have to heat the whole pin/contact just the solder on it so it reduces time and heat to protect other bits on the board.
A wire is a single conductor, solid core wire is a conductor made of one wire usually insulated. Stranded wire is a conductor made of multiple stands which makes it flexible.
Cable is a collection of conductors used for fixed installations, usually conductors are solid core at small sizes but stranded at thicker sizes otherwise they would be unmanageable.
Flex is a collection of stranded conductors that is flexible hence the name that is normally used for appliance power leads.
I'm mostly self-taught. There is this magical place called the 'public library' where you can go to read real printed books and they don't even charge you. For a small fee you can get a magical device called a 'library card' and they'll let you take the books home to read for a while, even. Your tax dollars at work!
All kidding aside go to a major/main branch public library and start reading books on electronics. Personally I recommend 'The Art of Electronics', assuming you're out of high school and can handle a little math. So far as soldering goes if you can't learn on your own from some basic instructions there's always community college basic electronics class, cost you less than $100 even at todays prices. Buy kits to assemble for practice and fun. When you get confident enough try spinning your own circuits. Just stay away from Arduino and shit like it for a while, learn to work with discete components and analog circuits first, you'll understand everything much better in the long run that way.
Thanks for the info senpai. As vast as the internet is, thanks to content aggregation sites, Google search personalization, and my lack of imagination, I find it really hard to find detailed information in a format I can understand. Articles that assume you're more advanced than you are, having to look up every piece of jargon which is a Wikipedia article filled with more sub jargon. My memory is not powerful enough to absorb all of that. So maybe books are a decent route.
fuse protects the flex against overload
thats its only real job now
allows heavy supply cable and light flex
otherwise we would have shitty 10A breakers everywhere and thick flexes for tiny appliances and not be able to run e.g. a toaster and a kettle on the same circuit or a vacuum cleaner and a heater on the same circuit.
higher voltage = more power for less current also helps with that.
That's certainly true, a fuse in plug prevents overcurrent events and mitigates some possible fire hazard situations.
But I was reacting to your implied opinion of fused plug type in the OP's situation - stripped wires. A fuse would help only if the wires were to short themselves out or touched anything earthed and sufficiently conductive. A fuse in plug will certainly not protect anyone from a "third-world country" from being killed by holding on the stripped wire. Granted, the body probably wouldn't be cremated afterwars because the cord wouldn't catch fire from overloading:-)
But there are so many wrongs in op's picture of a fucked-up cord that unfused plugs are the least of his problem.
>A fuse in plug will certainly not protect
i said take the fuse out
if you have a plug with exposed wires you remove the fuse before you throw it out
that way even if its plugged in its not as much of a hazard because line isn't present on the bare wires.