Unable to wire my project

Hello everybody, first of all I want to say I’m not an electronic guy, I’m doing this myself just because here where I leave there is nobody that can get the job done for me.

The whole project is actually bigger, but I would like to start with this small panel.

https://flic.kr/p/p4PC7F

It has 6 push buttons, 2 rotary switches, 2 rotary encoders and 2 on-off-on switches. I demultiplex them through 2 165 chips.

After some time of research I was able to get the things working over the experimental board.
Then real problem came when I tried to wire the components once they were mounted over the panel.
At first everything went smooth, but then it was harder and harder at the point I had no place to put the solder
I used UTP because wires are thinner, though I would help, but still ended with this mess.

Obviously I’m bad at soldering, I guess I need to get some practice and be more neat, but what I really want to know is if I’m using the right approach, or maybe there is an easier method to wire this?

I will appreciate any advise you guys can give me

Best regards.

I would have used connectors. Perhaps even the black strips that are used on the Arduino Uno board for pins. When you want to replace the electronics, it is now almost impossible. You could bundle the wires with tyraps.

When a wire is soldered to a pcb board, they easy break. With hot-glue (the glue that melts and is used with a hot gun) the wire can be fixed better to the pcb to prevent it to break.

My wife spent years wiring up missile systems for the government, such a lovely sight to see the inside of a government wired system. Kind of like when you look at you cars wiring all bundled and neat in place. Connector at each end of the bundle. And I make a hard effort on my projects to follow those ideas.

Color code or number your wires and mark/match that in your schematic so you know what each does and where it goes. In looking at your picture figure out where your board mounts then measure each wire following a specif path to that board from its switch or device. The cut them allow for a bit extra and make up your wire loom or bundle. As stated tie-raps make for good bundles and have small sizes for even just a few wires. But if you can cable lacing twine is nice clean look for runs with multi-drop spots. At least make heat shrink bundles or obtain cable with multi-wire to use.

As state think hard on some sort of connectors on each end. If wires are small or ribbon wires the consider "DB" connectors the have both free standing and rack mount ability. Molex connectors also make for larger wire connecting.

Soldering is not hard but like any thing it does take practice to make nice shiny proper flowed connections. Beware of over heating the PCB, Use smaller iron tip and watch if temperature is adjustable not to take it to far above solder melting point. Make sure joint is clean before soldering, A spot of brush on flux for electrical/electronics will make for a better flow. Also a wet sponge will keep tip clean before touching the joint.

I'M not sure if you are wiring to a pcb or just wiring components (two wires) together . but I can tell you this. It does not matter if you you are welding a huge ship plate , brazing a brass plate or soldering a copper pipe in your bathroom or soldering a delicate circuit board. The key is CLEAN,CLEAN,CLEAN. Heat the part NOT the solder touch to solder to the part and watch it flow then remove your iron immediatly. don't cook it. If you are working with a circuit board scrub it with a steel wool until it is shiny. If it is small use a magnifiing glass (be able to SEE what you are doing) .Use LOTS of light Do what ever you have to do to keep your work steady. If the solder is moved during the cooling process ( 1sec ) it will not be a good joint. I agree that practice is important but the above advice will make you life easier. It may be an art but we are all artist. believe in yourself and it will come.

Hey guys, thanks for answering, I'll take under consideration all your advices. I understand connectors would be ideal, but I can't figure what kind to use. What do you suggest?

On connectors you need to base on wires used. You mention UTP So I assume you untwisted the pair to salvage wire for the project. What type of wire is it: Stranded or solid? What gauge? These will lead to connectors that best fit. wire 18-24 work better in DB connectors. wires 10-16 work better in molex. But that is not the only connector types or does not mean a 14 gauge wire could not fit a DB connector.

Connectors generally are crimp or solder. While solder is a bit harder to work with crimp needs a crimp-er. Since I see your using what looks like perf-board DB connectors do have a perf-board mount variety.

You will need to determine how many main board connectors you want. For instance one DB25 or two DB15 or three or four nines. Do you want your wires to be grouped all in one or by function (display, control, input) or by locations on panel.

Connector choice is made by size of wire but also made by cost, access to purchase, install tool type, commonality, or just plain preference of use. I know one guy that works with RJ connectors for every thing and another uses DB only.

Choose yours based on the above.

As for wiring, the picture shows a wire loom board. While it is a bit fancy using a blueprint or diagram for lay out. You can do one simple by getting a piece of plywood or particle board and some finishing nails. place a nail on the board at each place that matches you panel location. Since your panel is already drilled you could lay it over the plywood (with part removed) and mark each hole. Place a single nail for each spot and label the wood. then using marker draw in the wire lines or routes. Following these lines put nails on each side of the wire lines where bend will occur. Use these nails to run the wires between.

Run your wires starting at each component (leave extra you cat trim it later) and run to where your connector for the control board will be (at least distance wise if not on same plain). tie wrap or lace all together. Then install your connectors and solder up the switches and let it run.

Amazing ideas @spicetraders, I think I’ll be trying with RJ45 connectors and the same UTP cable but without removing the external jacket. I think it may work.