so with that into out of the way, lets start with the guide!
Firstly the unfortunately essential...
WARNING:(borrowed from @sotasystems )
First of all, I want to tell you that whatever you do following this guide, you do on your own risk. As we are in the age where people like to think that they can offload their own responsibilities onto other people, I feel I should point out that, should you choose to follow this guide on your own hardware/software, it is your own responsibility when something goes wrong in any way and you are entirely on your own.
Soldering is a skill that needs practice. Followed by more practice then finally some more practice.
But this isn't The Simpsons and your guidance won't be just 'tappa tappa tappa'.
Practice first before doing your GBZ
get this stuff:
- Soldering iron > $30 Antex or weller
- spare/alternative tips
- wire sponge for cleaning
- helping hands
- 63:37 solder (or RoHS leadfree solder if you must )
- desoldering braid/sucker
- pliers, wire cutters, tweezers
Rule 0 - Practice first before diving into your heartfelt project
I see this in all the computing communities I'm in. when you get the idea to start a project, the enthusiasm takes over and you just want get cracking with it and get [your project] made by the end of the weekend!
BUT! Soldering is a learned skill. Nobody is good at it out of the box. you don't expect to be able to paint like Michaelangelo on your first painting, and soldering is no different (ok it is easier than becoming a master painter but when you first pick up the iron it's just as terrifying)
It's heartbreaking spending a ton of money on parts only to then destroy them because you also used the expensive parts to PRACTICE on by diving straight in.
While getting hold of one of the many AIO boards it taking a SUBSTANTIAL amount of work out of the project, you don't want to then let it down by doing a crappy job hooking it all up, or worse still, destroying the work done by @Helder or @kite (or maybe me... who knows, watch this space ) especially if the board is in short supply, meaning you may not be able to get a replacement for a long time, if ever...
So with that, I'm going to give you some nice easy soldering exercises that you can do to get your skill up enough to actually confidently turn your hand to your shiny AIO or PiZer0.
Part 1 - Stuff
You don't need ALL of this stuff, but this is the minimum level you should have to be able to cope with 90% of situations.
* Soldering Iron - well duh!
you don't need to spend uberbucks on one unless you plan to do go into component level replacement as a profession, but try to avoid $10 ones.
also don't be tempted to use a "soldering gun"
good brands are weller and antex and reasonable ones are going to cost £/$30 and up.
optionally if you have the budget, go for a temp controlled one like this weller:
Not the kind you might give to a restaurant server but replacement ends for your iron
there's nothing worse than trying to balance a hot iron on your kitchen table while holding your solder in one hand, PCB in another, component in another and wire in another, only to knock the iron off the table with your elbow and burn a hole in the vinyl flooring... not that I've ever done that. nope.
most stands come with a little tray and a sponge. keep the sponge wet, and clean the iron tip on it. constantly
an optional upgrade is to use a pot of wire sponge like this:
* Helping hands
this is how you get 4 hands... totally indispensable.
The ones above are the traditional, cheap and abundant (and sometimes slightly useless!) version but more modern hands use these cooling pipes as the arms:
So I'm going to stick my neck out and say get 63:37 leaded solder. yes lead. yadda yadda. but you're not making things on an industrial scale. your environmental impact from making a few hobby projects is not even noise. also it you're working on a PCB from a DMG... guess what! yeah it's all done with 63:37, and RoHS solder doesn't really play well with 63:37
Also it's easier to work with, just make sure your environment is ventilated. I'm up-playing the risk here just because people will inevitably say "BUT LEAD!" so set up an extraction fan if it worries you. just a small 80mm PC fan will do the trick, just have it suck away from you.
If it really worries you just use RoHS but still have extraction, as the smoke that comes from soldering is the rosin flux burning off and it's not a great thing to be inhaling.
Not a capacitor...
There's a little flux in your solder but sometimes you just need more.
can be bought in dispensing pens as liquid or as paste in cans. not to be confused with plumbing flux though. make sure it's for electronics. other than that just get whatever they have at Maplins (if you're in the UK or whatever hobby shop is in your country. Is Radio Shack still a thing in America?) once you've practiced a bit you might develop a preference for a specific type/brand.
* Braid or desoldering wick
goes well with it's de-soldering partner in crime:
* solder sucker
literally sucks molten solder out of your joint...
both the wick and sucker are optional, but when you're a beginner you make a lot of mistakes and these will help you rectify them
* other bits
- Pliers - regular and needlenose tipped
- Wire cutters - preferebly flush cutting
- Fine Tweezers - more important for SMD work but still useful for holding components in place
I've typed enough for now, look out for part 2 where I get into actual soldering