Make: Electronics Chp3 Experiment 12

Experiment 12 “Joining Two Wires Together” is the introductory step into soldering and also the start of chapter 3. Depending on what you currently have on hand in your lab. In order to move forward, you will need to purchase a few more items both equipment and component wise. 

For what it is worth. This experiment is designed to get someone who has not soldered before some experience with the process. I felt that the section on explaining what soldering is, why it is necessary, and the do’s and don’ts was more than sufficient enough to get you started.

That being said, soldering is something that requires practice and over time you get better with it. To be fair, I’m no pro at soldering not by a stretch but I’m decent. I gained a lot of experience initially by putting together Velleman kits which I highly recommend.  I’m also a member of BoldPort which is a great way to practice soldering on some interesting kits. I highly recommend them as well.

The book suggests getting two types of soldering irons. I actually have several soldering irons. One high-quality soldering station and a few (cheap) low wattage soldering pen irons. Oddly enough, I find myself using my soldering station more. However, the book makes a legitimate case as to why a low wattage iron is a good thing to have. Depending on the type of work or hobby projects you’ll venture into. Having both types of soldering irons is definitely a good thing. Plus, this is a fun hobby to shop for anyway.

For this experiment, you’re asked to solder a piece of wire in two different ways. The first way is by braiding the wire strands together. In the first picture of this post, you can see I created a pigtail braid. The second way of combining the wires was by laying the wire on top of each other (2nd picture). In this instance, I needed to twist the ends to get the wires to lie down.

Albeit, the takeaways for the two different approaches were the following:
1. The use of the higher wattage iron and touching both the iron, the wire, and solder together to form the joint.

2. The use of the lower wattage iron and touching the iron to the bottom of the wire, allowing the solder to melt directly on the wire as you form your joint.

For what it is worth you learn that your iron doesn’t have to be extremely hot to solder. The iron just needs to be at the correct temperature as per the type of work and solder you are using. In my case, and for my solder type 350c worked fine.

More importantly,  the main point to understand is the process of heat transfer. As your goal is to heat up the surface of what you want to solder and touch the solder to that surface, not the iron tip itself.

Lastly, there is a section on hacking a power code to use as a continuous power supply. I already own a desktop power supply station so I passed on the hack. For the beginner, however, this is another opportunity at soldering.

If you don’t have a power station which I suggest you buy later on as your interest in the hobby grows. Take advantage of the hack in the book because using up 9v batteries over time gets old and somewhat expensive.

Experiment 12 materials:
Hookup Wire, Wire Cutters, Wire Strippers,
30-40 watt Soldering Iron
15-watt Soldering Iron
Thin solder (The key to a decent soldering experience is the solder itself. Highly recommending this solder Click Here)
Optional medium solder
Helping hands
Shrink wrap tubing
Heat gun (a lighter works just as well)

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