Back to electronics, at least for a weekend...
After making sure to have fresh or cleaned parts, and using fresh (rather than two and a half decades old) solder, I have managed to solder several joints reasonably successfully. I completed two tiny projects:
- I assembled a WiiChuck Adapter (it imitates a Nintendo Wii controller accessory socket and plugs into a breadboard; the accessory protocol is just I²C).
- I soldered wires onto a rotary encoder which is part of rev. 2 of my timer project (which I should post about), which was designed for PCB mounting and doesn't fit firmly into a breadboard due to the mounting clips. (It fits, loosely, into a wide DIP socket.) Having these wires, terminated with header pin sockets, I can now mount the encoder in a box. So, I now have a nice box with a knob on it. (The rest of the project hasn't fit into the box yet.)
As you can see from the pictures, the WiiChuck Adapter went together nearly perfectly. The header and board were held in position by a standard two-alligator-clip helping hands. The one ugly-looking solder joint on the “–” pin is the way it is because it was the first joint I made, and I fed too much solder into it when it started melting. I removed most of the excess, but didn't attempt to fiddle it into looking perfect.
The rotary encoder turned out considerably uglier, but then, it was a harder problem: instead of joining PCB through-holes to pins designed to fit them, I was joining wires to pins. I had the helping hands to hold the wire against the pin, but it still shifted around a bit while I was working. Overall, I'm considering the results non-disastrous and a reasonable first try. The joint on the top in the first image (with lots of copper visible) might be a bit “cold” though. I did make one mistake I recognized afterward: I did not tin either of the surfaces before soldering them, which probably would have resulted in cleaner, quicker joins and less melted insulation.