Attempting surface mount parts - how to solder?

yea sounds like the hackerspace here, its over an hour away so dues are not appealing

For me, its not so much the distance - on a normal day (ie, weekend), at a normal hour, one can cover the distance in about half an hour (from my work). However, since it starts at 7pm on a Thursday, and my work is central in Phoenix, and HeatSync Labs is in the Tempe/Mesa area - that's in the same direction as all the traffic heading home after work. The only sane way to make it there is via the freeway, but its a parking lot for hours in the evening going that way (same way in the morning, but opposite direction).

I've thought about trying it via surface streets - might be faster...


yea its mostly my fault, If I lived where I used to (I would have been shot dead by now, no seriously had a gun in my face and robbed in my driveway, and had some loon shoot up my apartment wall right before I moved) I would only be about 20 min away via 6 lane both way, 70mph interstate, and a 100$ a month for material and maintenance sounds more than fair

but silly me got tired of driving 45 min to work every morning and every evening, and the small town were in now, well if I hear gunshots its just rednecks celebrating something, not Mr Meth at midnight outside my window or the swat team (that was an interesting thing to walk out of the door to at 6:30AM, PUT YOUR HANDS UP, IS THIS 1519A, no this is 1319B you want the next building, yes my storm door has heavy tint on it, but it faces directly in to the sun and I didnt put it there ... sorry!)

You guys are lucky, I live in a motorhome and my entire workbench area is 18" square + room for a laptop and a tiny 1-ch CRO. And if I want to eat I've got to fold it all away :(

Fortunately these days you can still do a lot in that space, in a previous life I had two large workshops under the house, but then I needed it, for example

My "laptop" was two huge desktops.

My terminal used for outputting debug info was a VT100 or something that needed a wheelbarrow to move it around, now it's just another window on the laptop.

My ICE was a large box of tricks, now you hardly even need one or an most a small JTAG ICE.

My logic analyser was the size of a suitcase, now it's half the size of an Arduino.

My CRO was the size of another suitcase, now even though I've only got a cheapy it's very small, and I could get a USB CRO that's tiny.

My development/evaluation boards where probably 1 foot square, now you arguably don't even need one, or maybe an Arduino is the equivelant.

My PCB design needed a huge light table and plan drawers full of draughting paper and Bishop Graphics stensils, now it's a program on my laptop.

My reference library was 100s of big books on shelves, now it's PDFs and the web.

And while not size related, all the software, compilers, IDEs are free

It's a brave new world in embedded land, and I'm luv'n it.

Now if I could just get a larger workshop.


hey I live in a 2 bedroom apartment with a slightly less than 2ft square card table as a "bench"!

and yea in my old apartemnt I did the "well Im done for the night, time to fold it away and shove it behind the door"

I just within this year got a laptop that was not a pentium 90 with 8 mb of ram, or a 386SX25 with 4 (still have both, they share the same space as my apple //c)

for the first 8 months I lived here my pentium III bench machine was connected to a 9 inch monochrome vga (yea run avr studio on that)

I still have no ICE or JTAG

I have no LA (unless I load a kludgy program on the pic32, and its mostly too much of a hassle)

I pulled my DSO out of a pile headed to the dumpster (its still a 20mhz 1988 crt kenwood bleh) dont get me started on my 1960's heathkit, that still doesn't work

I didnt even have a controller till 2009

I have only made 1 PCB ever

and yea free is nice :)

now get off my lawn! >:(

(and yes I am very happy to have every single bit of it, well not the P3 I gave it to some starving college student when I upgraded my main computer, now I have a bench machine that can run COD4, but its for sell, its not getting any newer and I have a smaller dual core atom machine in the closet)

You've got a lawn :o


yes it extends 2 foot out of my front door to the sidewalk, and it doesn't get mowed

infact I made 3 complaints to the apartment managers, and once I complained to the city some yuts took 4 swipes at it with a weed wacker and gave me a smart ass comment (at this point the "grass" was about 3 foot tall)

oh well I got 10 bucks knocked off my rent when I resigned the lease (an extra 120$ a year to throw away on electronics and booze!)

My terminal used for outputting debug info was a VT100 or something that needed a wheelbarrow to move it around, now it's just another window on the laptop.

Couldn't have been a VT100 - I have one of those in my shop (amber screen - w00t), just waiting to do something with it (someone gave it to me free) - it certainly doesn't need a wheelbarrow to move (my 19" CRT monitor I used to have was bigger and heavier than it, including the keyboard); my intent it to someday hook it up to my Altair, if/when I ever get around to restoring that beast...

You sound like an RV "nomad" who's had a blast in the past, and is retired...? I've often thought to do the same if the economy here went to total sh--t. Just drive around, doin' and fixin' what I could for gas money, diggin' in the trash for parts and such...

Who knows - life's funny, it might happen someday...


Couldn't have been a VT100

Yeah I can't remember now, it was light blue body, dark blue around the screen and keyboard with white phosphor I think. Little DIP plugs inside with wires soldered between pins to rearrange the RS-232 signals.

You sound like an RV "nomad" who's had a blast in the past, and is retired...?

That's about the size of it, travelling photographer in the 70s, electronics/computer nerd in the 80/90s, retired at 45 and now just tinker with electronics and photography.

I've often thought to do the same if the economy here went to total sh--t.

From what we see on the news over here it's already time to buy your RV :)

Who knows - life's funny, it might happen someday...

You would probably be amazed at how cheaply you can live and how "doable" it is. We've been on the road for 9 years, we started with bugger all and still have most of it left. In Aus we can live quite well for about $15k pa, and that would be $6-7k if I didn't drive all over the place in a big ugly fuel-guzzling truck.

Of course I miss my workshops etc but it's a good trade off I reckon.


Couldn't have been a VT100

Cr0sh, if you're not green and built like the Hulk, you will need a wheelbarrow to move a DEC VT100 (and that's the only one that counts). Those things were built like a soviet tank and just as heavy. THe keyboard alone was heavier than todays average computer and they used myshy soft Hall-effect keys. We're not talking here about the tinky toys made later by Wyse and others.


ick god, whoever took that pic needs to learn retrobright (drugstore mix)

that thing is titanium white

seriously I took my mustard yellow //c back to near snow white for like 10 bucks worth of crap at dollar tree and a day out in the bright sun

They started out white, I've seen them coloured in all shades of yellow and grey through cigarette smoke, dust and grime. Those things were built to last.

The picture by the way is linked from Wikipedia.


Hey, whoever has a terminal like that (Heck, even a 386) should keep it if space is allowed. These things are exceedingly rare and SHOULD be kept as history piece of what went by in the last 60-70 crazy years. Plus, there should be some collector's market for these. I've been collecting processors since 2005. Back then you could bid for some older processors at low cost in bulk quantity (why didn't I do that?! Oh, I see, I was a poor grad student and just got married). Now if you check Ebay, there's a lot less of this type of auctions. I guess they're about to be exhausted.

I've got a few hundred processors (to save space I didn't keep complete systems). Now it's virtually impossible to find any more of them other than Ebay (sold for gold extraction). But I don't want to fuel the CPU gold extraction activity, which is dangerous in most cases where individuals attempt to do it with toxic chemicals and wastes.

If you have a piece of history and you can't keep it for space issues, find a nearby museum see if they're willing to take it.