First Solder

I’m not gonna lie: I’ve been sweating this part of the project. I’ve never soldered anything before, and the prospect of burning electronics (or myself) with a length of hot metal has made me… apprehensive, to say the least.

But! Tonight I rolled up my sleeves, and did a few small soldering projects. And I want to say that for a newbie’s first time… I think I did ok!

Setting the stage.

The very first thing I attempted to solder: 90 degree header pins, for my GPS component.

I really should have done this ages ago, because prior to this… I was just balancing the component on a set of header pins. And there were times that I was troubleshooting what ultimately ended up being a connectivity issue. Which totally would have been solved had I soldered a set of header pins on the thing.

I went with the 90 degree pins because I felt like this is how I’d ultimately have this piece situated.

I had a placeholder Dupont housing, to keep the pins in place.

The soldering job was a little bit chunky, but not too shabby for a first attempt!

Next up: a rugged momentary switch. I used the color coding from this video (which I found super helpful).

This particular process felt fairly delicate, and I was worried the strands would just snap off.

After soldering each wire, I covered each with a bit of heat shrink tubing.

And then used another one for the whole set.

With the header pins soldered onto my GPS component, I made a little custom connector using a 4 slot Dupont housing, and some 6″ Female to Male crimped cables.

A nice fit!

I was able to remove a bunch of extraneous wires from the breadboard setup, and connected things directly to the Arduino. Already, things feel a bit cleaner and less cluttered.

A big part of the night where I was holding my breath: how was my soldering job?

The GPS component has a small LED that flashes, when it doesits thing and connects to various satellites. It takes a few minutes, before it can acquire a signal, so I was sitting and watching (and waiting), to see whether this light would start flashing or not.

My main fear was that nothing would happen, indicating a bad/poor soldering job on my part.

But! I was incredibly elated when this thing started flashing. I don’t know that I’ve ever been happier, after seeing something as simple as a flashing light.

New Supplies
Dusting Off an Old Project

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