Stuck with hand soldering?

I have to make a lot of circuit boards, and its going take whole bunch of soldering by hand. I want to know what other options are out there that could make life easier?

Each board holds 120x 5mm blue LEDs and 40x 220ohm 1/2w resistors
(320 things need to be soldered)

And I have to make 13 of these boards

pcb1.png

pcb2.png

Welcome to the hobby.

A bit late but SMD devices might have been the way to go, then use an oven.

Probably not an option, but there are assembly houses for PCB WORK. 12 might not be worth it thou.

Are those regular LEDs or perhaps IR or UV.

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Only 13 boards? Just get on with it. Should be done in a day or so. Leo..

Agreed, just do it. By the time you find an assembly house with a wave solder machine and you pay the set up fee to place all the parts and crimp them just right so they don't move while being reflowed, you could have been done with them.

I would place the resistors on the back instead of the front as shown.

Resistor arrays would have reduced a lot of the tedium of populating the resistors, assuming the power dissipation would have permitted it.

But in the future consider getting quotes for getting it built, using all SMT. If everything is in a regular array it will minimize setup costs for the pick and place, but I suspect its still expensive for a small run.

With SMT you solder everything with an oven in one go - you still have to pick and place, which is just as tedious as soldering if done by hand. 320 items is still 320 items.

What is the purpose of the board? Back lighting? Fewer more powerful LEDs and a diffusing filter?

Not sure why OP is doing this. A lot of low power 5mm LEDs is the old-fashioned way. You can probably get COB LEDs (chipOnBoard) that do the same. Leo..

Im using these to make a lightbar like you would see on an emergency vehicle.

I guess soldering wouldn't be so bad if I had good soldering iron. My tips keep turning black on me. I clean them every few minutes while using them, tin them as well but they keep turning black on me and I can't put any solder on them. But I guess they don't make things like they used too.

But I guess they don't make things like they used too.

Not if one buys low quality soldering tools to start with. I don't have that blackening problem with my iron tips.

Firefurter:
Im using these to make a lightbar like you would see on an emergency vehicle.

I guess soldering wouldn’t be so bad if I had good soldering iron.
My tips keep turning black on me. I clean them every few minutes while using them, tin them as well but they keep turning black on me and I can’t put any solder on them. But I guess they don’t make things like they used too.

Sounds like a temperature problem.
What is your iron set to?
Use ~350C

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SMD LEDs would be much brighter, stick and peel, no resistors needed, and you'd probably need fewer of them and less power.

Buuuut you didn't come here asking for what ways this could've been better.

Use a new soldering iron tip. Get a decent one. Trying to solder that many things with a known oxidized-beyond-usefulness tip is more pointless than Sysiphus' job.

Then bend your leads so they don't fall out, it should frankly take you more time to stick things onto the board than it does to solder them. Hot iron, 1-2 seconds is all it takes per point. For big through hole things, using at least 1.0mm solder wire also helps speed along the process. Don't bother using ultra thin stuff.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.XCOB+led.TRS0&_nkw=COB+led&_sacat=0

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2x-White-Super-Bright-COB-Car-LED-Light-DRL-Fog-Driving-Lamp-Waterproof-17cm-12V-/271961814402?hash=item3f522ff582:g:OZ4AAOSwyQtV1GTL&vxp=mtr

INTP: SMD LEDs would be much brighter, stick and peel, no resistors needed, and you'd probably need fewer of them and less power.

I have been thinking about that, but I need brightness and something that can throw a beam of light. I never really messed with SMD leds but I feel like it would look bright but will not shine far. I would like to play around with a few. What type would you recommend?

also type of solder I use is (mg chemical 22 gauge sn60pb40 solder) seems work well for me

LarryD: Sounds like a temperature problem.

I can't control my temperature with my irons, I was planing to buy one because I do a lot of soldering. Store near me sells a wlc100 weller.

Flashlights use SMDs. Only dinky keychains and novelties use 5mms.

Wawa:
Not sure why OP is doing this.
A lot of low power 5mm LEDs is the old-fashioned way.
You can probably get COB LEDs (chipOnBoard) that do the same.
Leo…

Oh, I thought you meant LEDs on a cob:


Oh my God! Everything’s on a cob! Get out of here! Get out of here, fast!” – Rick Sanchez

Firefurter:
Im using these to make a lightbar like you would see on an emergency vehicle.

I guess soldering wouldn’t be so bad if I had good soldering iron.
My tips keep turning black on me. I clean them every few minutes while using them, tin them as well but they keep turning black on me and I can’t put any solder on them. But I guess they don’t make things like they used too.

Clean every few joints, with wet sponge, re-tin immediately after cleaning. Turn iron off if you are leaving it
for more than a couple of minutes (and re-tin it before switching off).

MarkT:
Clean every few joints, with wet sponge, re-tin immediately after cleaning. Turn iron off if you are leaving it
for more than a couple of minutes (and re-tin it before switching off).

I don’t really have a problem with cleaning it. But I should turn it off more while not using it.

Hi, How are you keeping the components in place to solder?

Tom.. :)

I found with an LED array board I made up from a kit that laser-cutting a sheet with holes in the right places made lining up the LED bodies neatly very easy, and stopped them falling out!

Hi,
I place components in PCB, cover with 3/4inch sponge sheet and back up with board, tape or rubber band the assembly together.
Flip the assembly, the board and sponge keep the components in the PCB.
Solder one lead of each component.
Remove sponge and then align component if necessary and solder the other pins.
Where I use to work they had a purpose built flipping frame to turn the PCBs over.

Tom… :slight_smile: