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Topic: Solderless components (Read 907 times) previous topic - next topic


Are you sure you want to let soldering stop you from a fascinating hobby? It does cost a few bucks (less than $100) for a good soldering iron. And you need to practice a little. But it's not hard to get reasonably good at it. Get started, and before you know it, you're designing and ordering printed circuit boards yourself.

I too started from a software background. But my latest project has me using a BeagleBoard microprocessor to send data to four separate RBBB Arduino microncontroller to drive four relays that turn off and on the lights, horn and windshield wipers and washer for a car. There was some soldering to do, but not much. And it interests more than any other hobby I have considered taking up.

Wire-wrapping does work fairly well. Early Apple computers were mostly wire-wrapped, except that Steve Wozniak soldered the boards he made. But if you don't like to solder, you won't want to wire-wrap. It's six of one, half dozen of the other.


... it is poor civic hygiene to install technologies that could someday
facilitate a police state. -- Bruce Schneier


Get yourself at least one regular size breadboard (around $10 some places like allelectronics, a sort of salvage house) and a couple of small ones, also a jumper wires set or two.

I have 2 kinds of jumper wires.

These are a pit of a pain using but they stay in place very well.

Easier to use, easier to pull out without intending to do so. Much better to go from BB to off BB.

You can also get a crimp too and male and female crimp ends. They come to accept different wire gauges. There are also telecom splicers that will work with really thin wire that pretty much never come off but then that's how crimp connectors work but at least they unplug.

I have trouble seeing one little hole from another on the breadboard let alone the wire ends to make sure I get the right connection. Grumpy Mike showed me a pic of his magnifier visor so I went hunting down at Harbor Freight. They have 2 and after a look-see I chose the more expensive one with set of 4 insertable magnifiers. I use the 2nd most powerful in the far holder. You can combine 2 magnifiers I guess if you want to see germs.

You also really need a multimeter, preferably one with beep/tone on continuity check.

And then you will want components because that's how it starts. The other stuff I might buy once but I never have enough of the right bits, chips and goodies. $40 here, $50 there, buy anything and there's shipping so a few of these and 20 of those and $10-$20 of that plus what I really wanted to get to justify the $7 average ground rate shipping charge.
And then back to Harbor Freight to get storage boxes after "living out of bags" (hobby-size orders of parts from some, possibly most places come in plastic bags with labels) for months. I found that I need compartments at least 2"x2", I jam the bag in with label facing up. Found Storage House brand 24-compartment with snap lid containers for $4 each. They stack well.

I'm still not sure if this is a hobby or an addiction....
I find it harder to express logic in English than in Code.
Sometimes an example says more than many times as many words.


All excellent helpful advice from great guys (and gals) that I have come to expect in this forum!

I wanted to chime is as a newbie (I've complete 4-5 bboarded projects - LCD, temp sensor, IR sensor, etc). I hated soldering my whole life (I'm older...), but was forced when I got into model railroading 5 years ago. Bought a Radio Shack adjustable temp solder station, and just started doing it. What REALLY got me to do better was some little electronics kits like from Ramsey Electronics (mini-kits). I had never even soldered a resistor to a PCB before. I got thru these OK and I'm not too bad now. Personally I MUST use a head-strap magifier and a strong light - really helps. I've now soldered several Arduino kits like Boarduno, a Modern Device BBB, pins on LCD's, etc. I still don't "enjoy" soldering that much, but it's really satisfying when it's all soldered up, apply power, and everything works!

All of that said, I have bread boards all over the place with jumper wires. Quick and easy. I have not tried to solder components to the open prototyping boards YET, but I'm sure I will eventually for more permanant projects.

P.S. If you DO get hooked on Arduino, you will never quit (at least I cannot).  :)


I think you'll find it difficult to avoid soldering altogether.  I've got a $10 Radio Shack soldering iron.  (I have a better one at work.)

If you have to solder in "mid air", heat shrink tubing can be useful.    "Spaghetti" tubing (non-shrink) is also useful.

I've built quite a few projects on plug-in prototyping boards.  They can be a bit bulky, but they are generally reliable for permanent use.   I built a car alarm on a one about 15 years ago, and it's still working.

These "Eruropean Style" terminal blocks can be useful for connecting wires, larger components, components with long leads, etc.   I've built power supplies with these and I think I'm going to use one to connect solid-state relays in my current project.

Some relays & transformers can be connected with Quick Disconnects which crimp onto wires or component leads.  Molex connectors also normally use crimp-on terminals.

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