[Guide] Tips for newbies to everything this project requires

Various user-contributed guides for hardware-related things
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[Guide] Tips for newbies to everything this project requires

Post by winnston84 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:07 am

I’ve written this for anyone who has the same perspective I had going into this; I’ve not held a soldering iron in 20+ years and have never done anything remotely like this before. I couldn't see something similar on here or on the wiki.

I’ll be referring to Wermy’s original guide as that is what I followed.

Also i'll preface this by saying - you can do it! I'ts not too difficult, it can be frustrating, but its a great feeling when you see something working - even if it is as basic as following someone else's instructions to turn a screen from 12v to 5v, and seeing it flicker into life!

Key materials & tools
Refer to http://sudomod.com/wiki/index.php?title ... nded_Tools
In addition to the above wiki:
  • Wire cutters
  • Pliers/tweezers
  • Soldering iron with adjustable temperature, stand, solder (60/40 or 63/37), flux (especially for Part 2), soldering wick, solder sucker
  • Suitable wire (CAT5 cable can be useful, but is very firm and difficult to arrange in the case)
  • Third hand tool
  • Kapton tape
Modifying the case
Watch the video multiple times, learn precisely what needs removing and what doesn’t. Double check everything, even leave it for a few hours or a day and come back to it fresh. Mark elements to remove. This is a key stage to not rush through – you may remove something you think you need to and later find out you shouldn’t, by then it’s too late!
For the buttons – use a unibit, I’ve seen countless times its been used in others guides and wish I had just bought one myself. The result of my case is fine, but I wish I just bought that. Otherwise, drill a hole slightly smaller than the button and do the remainder by hand; either sanding or a sharp knife. Trusting a rotary machine is a mistake for something this delicate to the inexperienced!l

Modifying the PCB for buttons
If this is your first-time soldering, or near-enough, practice elsewhere! Seriously, do not start on the PCB until you are confident and practiced. I made that mistake thinking “it’ll be fine, it’s just soldering”. I got frustrated, I made mistakes, I got it working and then I made more mistakes and ultimately I had to get another GB PCB to start again.
Read this guide by abrugsch thoroughly http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=1984
Seriously, practice. And do it in a well-ventilated room, you don’t want to keep breathing that stuff in (I have a fan blowing soldering vapours away from me towards the window).

General tips
  • Test everything, at every stage. It’s worth the effort to nail down what works, what doesn’t and when. You’ll only struggle even more if a problem arises later.
  • Don't fix anything in place until you're sure, use bluetac or some other temporary fixing. Whilst it’s easy to remove hot glue, it’s easier to remove bluetac.
  • Read, and read again. I've probably watched Wermy's original videos 10 times each, read each part of his guide multiple times, made notes, read countless forum posts etc. The more you know, the better. Look at other people’s implementations, absorb the knowledge and apply it. It’s the only way I’ve improved my comfort with things and felt confident I’m doing it right.
  • Buy the extra materials - Kapton tape, solder braid, flux, etc as it will come in handy. e.g. Flux would have saved me so much pain in the early part of my building if I had bought some. I didn’t realise how useful that stuff would be for the PCB soldering, what a fool I was! I’m also finding Kapton tape to be a better space saving approach to shielding metal from metal than sticking bits of perf board down.
  • Don't rush; think, walk away and come back later to double check your thinking. I'm a rusher, I've looked at something and thought I know precisely what i'm doing, and then realised I made an error – too late! I do try stop, think, and leave it; but I’m too keen to get it done! I’m getting better, so I can’t stress enough – think, plan, write, theorise and then leave. Come back later, repeat and make sure.
  • Plan your purchases. A simple excel spreadsheet of what, how much and where. Best advice here – be prepared to wait!
  • Enjoy! You’re learning something new, and getting something out that you made. So take your time, and make it worthwhile.

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