After a month of sitting on my hands, Sunday just felt like a day to get on with some soldering. I cleared my desk, got everything out and cracked on. After a few hours of listening to podcasts, I was finished, more on that missing Thoniconn later:
Like most things in life, when you’re done, you look back at all the stress and anxiety and wonder what all the fuss was about. The build was pretty straight forward, although I did encounter a few issues along the way. I have learned a some lessons that I’ll have to mitigate for next time I’m soldering lots of components in one go.
I started with the resisters, then the diodes, then continued through all the other components in height order (ish). It go more difficult after soldering in the DIN and jack sockets, as my Stickvice doesn’t have a long enough rod for me to mount the PCB length ways. I should really have left these two till last, but I didn’t.
The main issue with the soldering was keeping all the components flush to the PCB. I put all the resistors in at once, flipped over and soldered away. When I flipped back over, one of them had moved and wasn’t flush. This happened more than once, various capacitors slide down, the power socket slide down, and one of the IC sockets is leaning to one side. It would appear that just bending the legs of various things isn’t enough, so I may have to invest in a bigger ball of Blutack, putty or something else.
I had two real issues, both of which were related to getting component legs through the board, as my close up eye sight isn’t great, and those holes are small! I put the big DIP-40 Socket in, and about three quarters of the way through soldering the legs, realised that there was a leg missing. I flipped the board over to discover that it hadn’t gone through the hole and was bent along the top of the PCB. I managed to pull it out the top of the socket, carefully straighten it, and push it gently back in, then finished soldering the rest of the legs. I was quite pleased I didn’t throw a wobbler, I just calmly sorted it out.
I may have used a few choice words with trying to fit the Thoniconns though, [insert favour deity here] they were fiddly. I half broke a leg of one of them, but managed to get the rest of it in and soldered, but one the the back legs completely broke off another one. It wasn’t like I was being slap dash, it looked like it was all lined up, and felt like it was aligned, but it just didn’t want to go in straight and bent off. So I’ll have to put another Thonk order in, but I may wait till I’ve got a few other things needed purchased.
The only other real issue was I accidentally soldered the shrouded header on the wrong way round. I knew where the -12V pins were and thought I was putting it on correctly, I should maybe have checked with a cable in the socket, just to be doubly sure. Thankfully I managed to gently prise the shroud off, turn it round and push it back one. So thanks to @analogoutput for that suggestion, as it saved a messy desoldering attempt.
Once the shroud was sorted, I plugged my Eurorack power breadboard helper and all the LEDs lit up. I confirmed that I was getting +/-12V and 5V and breathed a sigh of relief.
Things that still need to be finished; getting hold of a case, that missing Thoniconn, bolting the heatsink to the 5V regulator and calibration, for which I need that missing Thonkiconn.
Fingers crossed, that tomorrow I can actually put it to use and power my breadboard, as I finally get back to working on my triple SSO with resonant active low pass filter.