Share tips you have come across


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How about sharing some tips you use?

Here is one I use often when I need my third hand to give a constant pull.


Hi Larry,

I started THIS on http://ArduinoInfo.Info

May I add yours??

Anyone else??

Terry, feel free use ideas.

There must be lots of us old guys around with time saving ideas.

Two more ideas.

Make a breadboard friendly Neopixel for software development.


Make breadboard friendly switch assemblies from two pin SMD switches.
The center header pins are pulled out and discarded.
Avoid plugging header pins next to the center of the breadboard, use these holes for DIP sized pins only.

Hi Larry, Added those at

Someone has to do it.

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The Hakko soldering iron tips are great.
It is nice to have an assortment of shapes and sizes for different soldering jobs.

As I mentioned in a previous thread, this is my new goto soldering iron tip of choice:

I shouldn't have used goto ???

Put metal, stainless steel and/or copper, scouring pads into an old tin can to make a convenient soldering iron tip cleaner.
You can find these scouring pads at grocery stores.


Use an old nail polish bottle to hold liquid flux for soldering.
Clean out the dried polish from the bottle using Acetone.



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Really useful tips LarryD. Thank you.

Put metal, stainless steel and/or copper, scouring pads into an old tin can to make a convenient soldering iron tip cleaner.

Any preference between stainless and copper. Is there any benefit to using both metals or was that just because you bought a combo pack of pads? What about brass? I think that's what's in the one I have. Have you compared these to using a wet sponge? I've never used a sponge but always wondered if there was a drawback to this style of tip cleaner.

Use an old nail polish bottle to hold liquid flux for soldering.

Any reason why you prefer this to the squeeze bottles with the syringe tips? I recently got one of those and much prefer it because if I accidentally knock the bottle over it's only a drop spilled at the most.

Personally I like to use a damp sponge at times.
I find it shocks the iron prior to tinning the tip and I think I get better results.

Metal hardness would be stainless brass and then copper.
If there is a concern whether the irons tip will wear then copper would be a good choice.
Stainless is more abrasive.
Stainless does not let melted solder adhere to it so it does not get loaded with solder.
Brass is more expensive and harder to find here.

I have purchased stainless and copper in separate packaging only.

I prefer using copper pads as long as the iron does not cool down sitting in it.
If it does, the iron will then stick to the copper where there is contact.
Having both stainless an copper lets you decide which to use at a given time.

I use a plastic squeeze bottle with a syringe needle where I need to flood an area.

In the image, you will see a plastic insert, its purpose is to prevent fluid leaking out when the bottle is tipped over.
I like using the brush that comes with the bottle as it can apply flux accurately on the work.
A brush is also better when working on vertical components.

Don't let the owners bottle know you stole it :wink:

It makes sense to only use a cleaning pad that is softer than the iron-plated surface of a soldering
bit, otherwise you will abrade that surface and shorten the life of the bit - so copper OK, stainless not
OK. Wet sponge is all I normally use personally.

I’ve never had the solder stick to the brass and it’s softer than stainless steel so I guess that’s a pretty good material for the purpose, though less readily available for making a DIY tip cleaner. I bought a pre-made one on eBay from China for <$2USD w/ free shipping. I pull the brass out of the can every so often and all the little bits of solder fall out with a couple taps.

I didn’t realize the purpose of the plastic insert. That would have come in handy a couple times with my old flux bottle. I ended up gluing the thing to a piece of steel flat bar to give it a stable base.

If you’ve got some thing you need to use frequently that requires a complicated wiring arrangement, make a jig on some protoboard so you will know it works every time and not have to fiddle around with troubleshooting it every time you wire it up.

I made jigs for reprogramming chips outside of an Arduino board.

Above are two examples of programming jigs I made. One is a ZIF socket soldered onto a protoshield that lets me use the ArduinoISP sketch on an Uno to program a chip (in this case, an ATtiny4313).

The other is some male headers soldered onto a 6-wide protoboard. The 2x3 header on top lets me plug in the standard programmer ribbon cable, and the headers on bottom are spaced just wide enough to be able to plug this over a DIP package in a breadboard. You just need to grab the right jig and plug it over the chip to reprogram it in circuit. The one pictured is made for an ATtiny85.

I have one of each jig made for ATtiny85, ATtiny84, ATtiny4313, and ATmega328P.

Which reminds me, I need to whip some up for the ATtiny10 and various PICs I bought.

That is a great idea.
I purchased 10 of these boards to do something similar.
eg: I plan on making these: IR remote control, Temperature, RTC, ultra sonic distance sensor and RFID.
Once made up, I will be able to just plug and play :wink:

WARNING the PCB linked to here has a circuit error.
You Must corrected this error before you plug it onto an Arduino.



For projects requiring motor mounting or to temporarily mounting other components to prove a design, consider using copper clad PCB material.
This material is: very strong, easily drilled, filed, hole punched and cut.
It solders well and conducts electricity.
Common thicknesses of copper clad board are 1/32 1/16 and 1/8”.

It does oxidize :frowning:


Spray lacquer on the front and look really good bit of retro.

Tom.... :slight_smile:

Yes spray lacquer does work nicely.

When you need to solder a small PCB on one of the panels it gets a real mess with the lacquer .

This is the second time I built this unit as the old one looked like hell after 2 years of soldering.


Use an old heavy coffee cup to hold your small hand tools.


WOW. I gotta catch up on these!!

This all points out that mechanical stuff like mounting and connecting devices and acquiring and using tools is one of the hardest things, especially for newbies.

I've spend more time and effort on the mechanical considerations of This Project than I have on code. SO FAR..