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Old 31st December 2013, 01:39 AM   #1
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Default I've made an awful mess...

For Christmas I got the Oatley k301 RIAA preamp kit and a soldering pen.
As you might imagine, my initial work on the project has not gone well.
Here it is:

I have a series of closely related questions.
1) Though ugly, will these joints work?
2) If not, can the kit by saved? How?
3) What is the most likely cause of this ugliness and how can I avoid it?

My knowledge here is very limited. I've watched a couple of youtube tutorials and tried to read up on how tubes work, but aside from that my knowledge of electronics is limited to a year of HS physics.
Thanks for any answers you can give me.
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Old 31st December 2013, 01:54 AM   #2
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1/ You need proper electronics solder with flux in it.
2/ The iron needs to be hot enough to melt the solder properly.
3/ Clean the tip then tin the tip with a little solder before starting the joint.
4/ Heat up the component leg and the pcb at the same time.
5/ Keep the iron on the joint for a bout 5 seconds to ensure the joint is cooked enough.
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Old 31st December 2013, 02:01 AM   #3
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Oh my

No. You need to start over. Those joints are going to be problematic right from the get-go.!

What type of soldering iron are you using?
What type of tip is on the soldering iron? Is it clean? and prepped?
What type of solder are you using?

Clean the mess you have there immediately with some isopropyl alcohol and a small toothbrush or chamois swab.

Then get a flux removal bulb or piece of flux removal braid and remove that mess of old solder pronto!

Once you've done that...get back to us with pics of the board cleaned up...we can go from there.

Nigel's advice is bang on, but I fear well beyond your level of expertise given the first result. Slow and steady..preparation is the key!

IF you go at this again in the same way you are in danger of the board traces lifting off the PCB itself and then you will have real problems!
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Last edited by devilsindetails; 31st December 2013 at 02:18 AM. Reason: clarification
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Old 31st December 2013, 02:07 AM   #4
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I would say that your iron was not hot enough. Also, the wire leads look tarnished and needed cleaning. Lightly scraping with a pen knife works well. Also Scotch Brite or one or those green scrub pads for pots and pans. Just be careful not to break the leads if using the knife. The board can be saved. Use a hotter iron with solder wick to remove the old solder. Keep the iron tip clean. (bright with solder) Clean the trace pads if needed with very fine emery paper or Scotch Brite.
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Old 31st December 2013, 03:14 AM   #5
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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What sort of solder, and what sort of iron are you using? I've never heard of a soldering pen (do you mean soldering pencil?)

Since you live in the U.S. get yourself some Kester solder either 60/40 or 63/37 (eutectic) solder with flux. Do not get lead free solder as it is difficult and unforgiving to work with as a newbie, and is not required in the U.S. except in plumbing. And do NOT use plumbing solder or flux! I have run across more than one newbie who did not understand the difference.

Get a nice set of small wire cutters or nippers - these are what I use to cut leads and small wires as well as to scrape the oxidization off of older component leads - new parts with bright tin do not need to be scraped, but your parts look like surplus based on the lead condition.

Solder iron, either an inexpensive Weller or one of the many similar irons - some good deals to be found on eBay.. Stay away from Rat Shat irons they are rubbish..
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Old 31st December 2013, 06:19 AM   #6
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I would get a solder sucker and get rid of all that, then clean it all out with alcohol, scuff the leads as mentioned and re-solder with a proper soldering iron and solder. I'm not exactly sure what a soldering pen is, but as easy as it is to get reasonably good solder joints with this stuff, I'm sure it's the equipment or solder, not you!
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Old 31st December 2013, 06:35 AM   #7
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Try practicing with a short length of component lead first.

Clean it with a bit of abrasive paper so that it is shiny, then just try soldering two bits of lead together. If all is well you should get a nice shiny ball.
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Old 31st December 2013, 07:00 AM   #8
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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get a proto type board, and a bag of cheap components
and start practicing
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Old 31st December 2013, 07:37 AM   #9
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wizardidit View Post
For Christmas I got the Oatley k301 RIAA preamp kit and a soldering pen.
As you might imagine, my initial work on the project has not gone well.

I have a series of closely related questions.
1) Though ugly, will these joints work?
2) If not, can the kit by saved? How?
3) What is the most likely cause of this ugliness and how can I avoid it?

My knowledge here is very limited. I've watched a couple of youtube tutorials and tried to read up on how tubes work, but aside from that my knowledge of electronics is limited to a year of HS physics.
Thanks for any answers you can give me.
If I was given that to clean up here is what I would do... and as it stands now it can be made like new.

(You've been given a lot of good advice, in particular about the correct solders to use... that's vitally important, and also on practicing soldering first with scrap parts).


1) The leads that haven't been soldered should be gently pulled back so that they are at 90 degrees to the board.

2) Make sure the components that haven't been soldered are fitted correctly and flush to the PCB.

3) Snip the leads before soldering leaving about 2.5mm protruding.

4) Make sure the leads are clean and bright where you are going to apply solder. Most modern parts need no attention but those do look a bit crusty and tarnished. A knife as suggested or the finest wet and dry paper to just rub the leads will work well.

5) Get some solder braid to assist with desoldering.

6) The joints already made need all the solder removing and the parts refitting. Get an old scrap remote or anything electronic and practice desoldering. I would apply more solder of the correct type first to the joint while at the same time using the braid to remove all the solder. Once you try it you'll soon get the hang of it.

7) When you come to solder the parts in again slightly bend each cropped lead to around 45 degrees so that it "holds" the part and stops it falling from the PCB.

8) Use a hot iron with a largish tip and simultaneously apply heat to the component while at the same time applying solder. Do not carry solder on the tip to the joint. Apply the solder at the joint as you heat it. It should take around 1.5 seconds per joint of heating to make a perfect joint, any more and you risk overheating the board and components.
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Old 31st December 2013, 08:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HollowState View Post
I would say that your iron was not hot enough. Also, the wire leads look tarnished and needed cleaning. Lightly scraping with a pen knife works well. Also Scotch Brite or one or those green scrub pads for pots and pans. Just be careful not to break the leads if using the knife. The board can be saved. Use a hotter iron with solder wick to remove the old solder. Keep the iron tip clean. (bright with solder) Clean the trace pads if needed with very fine emery paper or Scotch Brite.
I agree with everything except the abrasives. A 'newbie' doesn't yet have the experience and might cause some damage with too much 'enthusiasm'. There is no damage to the board yet and any of us could have it cleaned up in minutes.

What _I_ would do at this point is to find a junk PCB and try simply heating an existing joint to verify the soldering tool is behaving and get an Edsyn or Paladin solder sucker (I prefer the Edsyn - more power) and try clearing a few holes on the junk board. Then go back to the new board and clean up the old solder. He may simply be too timid to let the parts heat up enough. Solder Wick can be a little more damaging with a newbie than a sucker but that it what practice is for - on the junk. They both have their uses and ends up as a preference. I've seen good and bad work with both. Bad wick doesn't have flux and that WILL frustrate the newbies.

Don't despair. It's only ugly right now. At least you're asking _before_ it's difficult to salvage.

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