It’s the it’s time I learned how to use a soldering iron thread!


#1

Well, I’ve been in this hobby since before o could remember and still haven’t taken the time to learn how to solder. It’s time I changed that because, frankly, it’s starting to hamper my enjoyment of consoles when old cables wear out, our mods become available and I am not equipped to handle them myself.

So, how do I go about doing this? What do you all recommend I start with? What is a good iron to purchase and what is a good project to practice on?

As it is, I need to repair a GCN component cable. Would that be a good place to start?


#2

I had a feeling it would come to this lol. Changing the end on your GameCube cable is a great place to start. It’s two wires with alot of space to work with.

My dad taught me how to solder and I learned the rest through trial and error. The best tip I can give you is to buy a decent soldering iron and always use the appropriate size tip ! Using a tip that’s too large is the easiest way to ruin something.

I bought this a few years ago and it’s been great:

The second best tip I can give you is heat what you want to solder to and melt the solder to that. Never push the solder into the iron and let it “blob” onto what you’re soldering.

I would also consider something like an RGB mod on a SNES/N64 as very basic and a good place to start.

I’m sure some others can link tutorials they’ve used and that should be a great place for you to start


#3

I have that soldering station as well, although I haven’t used it too much for gaming. I learned mostly on RC cars when I was younger.

EEVblog has some good videos I found via retrorgb.com:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5Sb21qbpEQ


#4

Sweet thread. Peagles was helping me out with some questions on discord. What size and type (conical/chisel) tip do you like to use for small pcb work?


#5

I use a small needle tip for fine work, not sure on the exact size but I have a variety and use the one that feels right for the job.


#6

I was really hopping this sentence was going to end with a pun relating to soldering iron tips. :c


#7

I’ll be watching this thread with interest. Been wanting to get into soldering myself and with some changes at home I may finally have room to do it.


#8

Great Idea for a thread. I have a terrible soldering iron and I have wanted to up my game. Also, I wanted to be able to fix things myself due to the fact that certain soldering experts are becoming completely insufferable to listen to or follow anymore.


#9

While I haven’t done this yet (I would like to), goodwill, stuff put out on the street, or “for parts or repair” listings would be a great way to practice. If it was free or minimal cost, who cares if you mess it up. That way you also don’t have to learn on the devices you really care about.


#10

I love soldering. I’ve gotten better at it, but still have only done up to “medium difficulty” jobs, the most intensive being recapping my Game Gear.

My number one tip, remember these things get HOT. You WILL burn yourself a bunch when you start, so keep some burn cream on standby :slight_smile:


#11

Pffft I didn’t burn myself with my iron!!

I burned myself with my solder wick lol. Even worse.


#12

I didn’t have feeling in my left hand finger tips for a few years. That made soldering both interesting and easier lol.


#13

Got use to secondary indicators, like the smell of burning flesh?


#14

Yup! I could smell it but couldn’t feel it. Fortunately I got some of the feeling back in time!


#15

Can you smell what the Sock is cookin’!?

That’s wild. Glad the feeling returned somewhat!


#16

Following. I’m right where @Peltz is but no time to start practicing. I’d start with replacing batteries. I have one dead one I would really like to replace (DK 94) and it would be nice to start replacing others.


#17

If anyone has any queries, feel free to ask me for advice :slight_smile:

Golden rule - less is more. Soldering is all about finesse.


#18

I learned with a cheap $10 soldering iron from ebay. You don’t really need a soldering station if you’re just starting out. I learned by putting a mod chip in a gamecube. Took me several hours and a lot of burned fingers but it taught me a lot of stuff. Mainly all you need is a soldering iron, flux (very important, helps the solder flow), and some solder. Also you may want to look into getting a third hand. This can hold the wires while you tin them.


#19

Two noob questions.

Can I do this in my basement or do I need a well-ventilated area?

Are cart batteries an OK place to start? I hear that is super simple. If so, what are the best ways to practice? Are there any 16-bit sports games that use batteries to save season stats, for example? Or any lame kids games for NES, GB or SNES that used batteries?


#20

I think the best way is to get a few sheets of veroboard and just build stuff. It’ll get you into both the basics of soldering, plus circuitry.

For example, build an in-out circuit to sound a buzzer or light an LED via a 9v battery and a switch. Add to it, see how far you can go. Add a resistor (such as a rotary dimmer switch).

Jumping straight into consoles things that have value is a bad idea.