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Thread: I must be the biggest soldering idiot on the planet

  1. #1

    Unhappy I must be the biggest soldering idiot on the planet

    As the title says, I must be the biggest soldering idiot on the planet. Today I started my TBS Discovery Pro build. Unfortunately, I fell flat on my face attempting basic soldering. I could NOT get a single solder to stick. At first I thought I had a problem with my Hakko adjustable iron, so I went out and bought a higher end X-Tronic station. I also tried a variety of quality solder and flux. Nothing helped. Clearly the problem is my soldering skills. After countless failures attempting to solder the ESCs, I finally gave up. The ESC's power cables are now too short from cutting and retrying, so they are basically ruined. I also damaged the board attempted to solder the small pins to the board (thought that one might be easier. NO!).

    Before beginning my build, I watched countless YouTube videos and read countless documents. Did anyone else have soldering issues, or is it just me? The online videos make soldering look so simple. Programming everything and assembling everything is a piece of cake! I'm down, but not ready to quit. Is everyone soldering themselves, or are they receiving help?

    I'm not mad at TBS, since they did warn about the soldering challenges; however, I think TBS should probably emphasize how difficult soldering could be for a novice.

    Feel free to laugh at my expense. Not only did I fail, I WASN'T EVEN CLOSE TO SUCCEEDING!!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    everyone has to learn at sometime, mine was poor to start with too, dont get dishearted- practice joining spare bits of wire together, rewatch youtube and when you practice it will suddenly make sense, then you should be able to add new wires to the esc and shrink wrap, good luck.

  3. #3
    Navigator Mikee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    West Midlands, UK
    Before i started on my Disco i practiced with other things (wires, battery connectors & an AlienWii Board) as i was new to soldering as well. It doesn't take long to get good enough to do a Discovery build though, but id definitely recommend practicing on something first. Also like Farmernz said save the esc's but soldering more wire on & heat shrink the solder connectors!

  4. #4
    Navigator Durahl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    They're old and they take about 45min to watch them all but you'll be hard pressed finding a better while not over the top explanation for this material on the web so watch them all.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    New Zealand
    It always pay to practice before committing to a new project with rusty skills. Bits of old copper-clad circuit board make a great playground when you're trying to get a grip on soldering.

    Also... make sure you're using 60/40 or 63/37 lead-based solder -- not the crappy "hippy, tree-hugging, save-the-planet" lead-free crap.

    A flux pen (but only the type designed for electronic soldering) can also be a godsend because it makes the solder flow like water and whet the joint very easily.

    Show us some pictures of the results you got and we can comment on the possible problems.
    Last edited by xjet; 23rd May 2015 at 08:04 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    New Zealand
    Why the hell is the style sheet for this forum so screwed???

    edit: ah, it's only screwed up if you use the default "butter" color scheme. Someone should fix that :-)

  7. #7
    Hive Mind Nightram's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeRockhead View Post
    Feel free to laugh at my expense. Not only did I fail, I WASN'T EVEN CLOSE TO SUCCEEDING!!!!
    Don't worry champ, not everyone started at the age of 12 performing repairs on game consoles.

    What country are you in? If it's AU I'll fix it for you.

  8. #8
    Penguins Do Fly! paintz2007's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Dont feel bad I spent 30 minutes today soldering in wires in the wrong order for a series connection.... yea it normally takes me ten minutes to do such a task... ton of soldering practice.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    salt lake city
    I found when first attempting soldering to be difficult as well but practice helps, but speed and pre tinning all surfaces makes all the difference. Dip any bare wire or connection point in flux .heat quickly at tip of wire and touch solder to iron , it should flow to wire. Keep a wet sponge handy to quickly swipe and clean iron every time u solder new point. Dont be afraid to use flux it cleans off fairly easy. Practice soldering larger gauge scraps to deans plugs or whatever your favorite battery plug choice. Once this is mastered smaller gauge stuff should be a breeze. Always secure your points with pressure b4 attempting to join. Slippage can be tedious. And whenever possible use a heatsync to draw heat from the solder point quickly so you dont start melting stuff that shouldnt be melted. ie. If soldering battery wires to deans plug ,build a corresponding plug with wires and plug it in to its counterpart b4 soldering. The secondary wires will draw excess heat from your intended welding area. I have small wired gator clips for this purpose as well. Clip to anything metal you wish to draw heat from. Finally speed .! Be quick dont spent lots of time heat anyparts. Thats when damage occurs. Even the fattest gauge wire you'll be using in this hobby should take only seconds to weld , if eveything is properly tinned..

  10. #10
    Thank you everyone for the words of encouragement. I think with some practice, I could probably handle some of the basic stuff. Oddly, I practiced on some junk equipment this afternoon and found it much easier to solder than the TBS. Ironically my solder will not adhere to the ESC connectors of the TBS. Now that my plates are ruined, I practiced on them this afternoon. I can dump a big drop of solder on the ESC connector, let it dry, then the damn solder will slide right off. It just doesn't want to stick. Maybe all 10 types of solder I bought were incorrect. Originally I purchased everything exactly as suggested in Oliver's YouTube build videos (including the solder). After zero success, I bought other solder, a more expensive iron and all kinds of tweezers, magnifying gadgets, etc. I've got about $400-500 in soldering equipment with zero to show for.

    I should also note that this UAV stuff isn't new for me. I have a fleet of DJI equipment. P2, P2V+, P3, I1, etc. I have mod' a few of them. I have crashed a few of them and rebuilt them.

    I should also note that I don't have a very steady hand, so soldering the small pins might be unrealistic for me. I have a message into Trappy, so hopefully I can order just replacement plates and ESC's with everything pre-soldered.
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