An Interlude: Confronting Demons and SkeletonsBy Bobby Winters
I may have shared with you before the brain block I have with regard to soldering. When I was a kid, I’d gotten a computer kit that required soldering. I made a mess of it and it wouldn’t work. It cost a lot of money, and we didn’t have all that much. So, in my shame, I put it aside.
Since I’ve begun playing with microcontrollers, it’s become clear to me that beyond a certain point I will need to know how to solder. Breadboards are nice, but anything that’s not going to be taken apart eventually will need to be soldered together. I’ve taken to a program of learning the manly skill of soldering. I’ve confronted the soldering demon.
I will never be an artist. Heck, I may never actually solder anything that works. But I am beyond the “Oh my gosh, what a mess” stage. It boils down to those three words people have been telling me all my life: “Take your time!” Yes, that’s it. That’s the secret. One must decide that soldering is a thing that one must do and then set out the preparations to do it.
The first thing is to prepare a place. You’ve got to have a place to do your work. The second is to have all of your materials around you. You need your soldering iron, its stand, a little wet sponge to clean your tip on, and--this helped me a lot--a desoldering iron complete with attached desoldering bulb. I always do a better job writing when I have an eraser, so it figures I do a better job soldering when I have a desoldering iron.
All of that having been said, I’ve not been able to solder a heat sensor to the pc board yet. I think that I’m frying them. I hook them to my thermometer program and they read -196.6. I tried three times and got this result three times with three different ruined sensors--and I’ve tried using a alligator clip as a heat sink. In the world of digital thermal sensors, I am now known as He-who-brings-hot-death. I am now looking for conductive glue on Amazon.
On other news, I’ve gotten a skeleton for my ProtoCylon. There’s a picture below. My experience in opening the box and thinking about putting it together made me think of building the pyramids. I knew it could be done, but thousands might die in the process. There were parts--nuts, bolts, wheels, motors, plates--but no directions. I have got something screwed--such a versatile word--together, but it was interesting. I suppose they thought it would be more interesting without the directions.