[GUIDE] Inches' Purchase Guide to Soldering Kits

Various user-contributed guides for hardware-related things
inches
Posts: 103
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:28 pm
Has thanked: 32 times
Been thanked: 81 times

[GUIDE] Inches' Purchase Guide to Soldering Kits

Post by inches » Sat May 13, 2017 12:19 pm

Hey folks,

I see the soldering guide is getting some attention, so I thought I'd throw together some additional resources to help learn soldering as well.

I find videos to be especially helpful to be able to see the stages and transitions of the solder-

Video by SparkFun on soldering: https://youtu.be/f95i88OSWB4
Walk through by SparkFun: https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/ho ... -soldering
Collins Lab video on soldering: https://youtu.be/QKbJxytERvg
Adafruit walk through on soldering (where the images in this thread came from presumably): https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-gui ... g?view=all

But like the guide says, you've gotta get practice. And it's best not to do it on one of your nice boards you got from the forums here.

I learned soldering from kits. There's all kinds of kits available at good prices ($1-$25) to learn these things. I'll split my recommendations between practice and functional. Functional kits do useful things to aid in your discovery of electronics engineering. If you only want to make GameBoy Zeros by assembling lists of parts, you might choose to skip these, as they perform basic useful functions for doing stuff you might not particularly need. The basic practice kits will get you are enough along with your soldering skills to eek out some GBZ's.

Once I got into electronics for the first time (only a little over a year ago now) I went nuts for these things. I'm very excited to share these with you. In fact, when researching for this post I found so many cool new kits that I want to get!!

(I found ones with free shipping to the U.S. If you search for the same thing you want you'll find a handful of variations of the same kinda thing and many different stores selling them all. They'll all be different prices, and others might have free shipping to where you're at so look around if you want to save a buck or two.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Basic Practice ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Audio Amp Kit ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1set-TD ... 06352.html
HTB1TwASPVXXXXbJXFXXq6xXFXXXZ.jpg
HTB1TwASPVXXXXbJXFXXq6xXFXXXZ.jpg (144.52 KiB) Viewed 4502 times
This is a simple Audio Amplifier that I've found to work very well. I soldered some nice speakers I salvaged from a rear projection TV in the alley to it. There's no humming or popping in the audio like another cheap audio amp kit I'd bought.

Best thing, it doesn't even cost $1. And no shipping.

If you get this you can solder any speakers to it and any headphone jack. Or cut up an AUX cable and use that.

This performs the same function as the Adafruit Audio Amp @wermy used in his Part 4 http://www.sudomod.com/game-boy-zero-guide-part-4/. Though, this one is rather large and not reasonable for a handheld build.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dice Kit ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-Ele ... 56987.html
HTB1c6A0QVXXXXblaXXXq6xXFXXXy.jpg
HTB1c6A0QVXXXXblaXXXq6xXFXXXy.jpg (298.24 KiB) Viewed 4502 times
There's load of different dice kits out there, so pick whatever one you want. This one randomly lights up a number of LEDs to simulare a dice roll of 1-7. Oddly, not a full 9 but whatevs, this is China.
HTB180lJRXXXXXbaXXXXq6xXFXXXX.jpg
HTB180lJRXXXXXbaXXXXq6xXFXXXX.jpg (393.41 KiB) Viewed 4502 times
Clock Kit ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/High-Qu ... 74571.html

There's a thousand variations of clock kits too.
HTB1_Yn9LpXXXXXFXFXXq6xXFXXXS.jpg
HTB1_Yn9LpXXXXXFXFXXq6xXFXXXS.jpg (143.37 KiB) Viewed 4502 times
This is a simple one to get started with. Clock kits are notoriously frustrating to figure out how to program though, given hard to understand instructions and difficult button combos and generally only 24hr time. But it's fun to solder!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SMD Kit ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/DIY-Kit ... 98602.html
HTB1DU_JOVXXXXaQXpXXq6xXFXXXe.jpg
HTB1DU_JOVXXXXaQXpXXq6xXFXXXe.jpg (227.84 KiB) Viewed 4347 times
This is a fun example of an SMD kit. Even if you don't plan to solder SMD, it's still a great learning experience to understand how solder acts and behaves. Plus, if you can do this through hole is a breeze. Try a board like this out after you've done 2 or 3 of the through hole ones above.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Functional ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Transistor Tester Kit ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'll recommend a kit that's a little more expensive, but very useful for early electronics engineers. If you aren't going to do much with electronics besides these boards, you can maybe skip it, but otherwise I recommend it highly.

Its called a transistor tester:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free-sh ... 24516.html
HTB1j91GNpXXXXXtaXXXq6xXFXXXE.jpg
HTB1j91GNpXXXXXtaXXXq6xXFXXXE.jpg (136.43 KiB) Viewed 4502 times
Basically, once it's built, you can plug in resistors, capacitors, and many other things and it'll tell you what it is, and what the value of it is too. So if the colors are hard to read on a resistor, or you are sick of googling color codes every time, you cna just plug the resistor into this guy and it'll tell you the value.

This is especially useful if you get more kits and they don't label the components they give you.

Stepdown/Current tester Kit ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/LM317-A ... 87034.html
HTB1i1EeLVXXXXcuXFXXq6xXFXXX5.jpg
HTB1i1EeLVXXXXcuXFXXq6xXFXXX5.jpg (255.66 KiB) Viewed 4500 times
This guy is pretty cool. You plug a positive voltage and a gnd in on the left, and you can control how many volts you got out of the right. You'll have to have a multimeter to test the output. The application is you have a random AD/DC wall plug for maybe 12v but you need 5v to your Pi or Arduino. You can use this to convert the voltage down from 12v to the appropriate 5v.

And hopefully, beings as its a $5 kit you soldered yourself, it wont fry something.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here's a list I put together with a bunch more. It includes the next level of soldering - SMD, as well as some complex projects and ones that will surely shock you to death if you do them wrong. I do not recommend those unless you know exactly what you are doing and the risks involved.
https://my.aliexpress.com/wishlist/shar ... 3107064207

I'll return with more curated kits in this post later, but this should give you a few things to get started on.
Currently, the shared Wish Lists aren't working 100%. I've put in a bug about the View More button not working.
[EDIT] They fixed the wish list! Now you can go and scroll through TONS of kits I've assembled in this list. It's a lot easier than describing and copying images and all that here.
Last edited by inches on Fri May 19, 2017 11:22 am, edited 4 times in total.
Your next build should include a Compute Module 3! Sign-up to be notified about the CeMu Partner Pre-Order:
http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3148


My Compute Module 3 build [Update 1-5] http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3003

My Compute Module 3 build [Update 6+] http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic. ... 00&p=33219

My guide to Soldering kits http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=3024

User avatar
abrugsch
Posts: 971
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:00 am
Has thanked: 356 times
Been thanked: 430 times
Contact:

Re: [GUIDE] Inches' Guide to Soldering Kits

Post by abrugsch » Sat May 13, 2017 2:52 pm

Cool selection of kits 😎
What's the range of capacitance test on the tester thing? I hate that SMD caps often have no marking whatsoever so if you mix some up you're stuffed.

inches
Posts: 103
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:28 pm
Has thanked: 32 times
Been thanked: 81 times

Re: [GUIDE] Inches' Guide to Soldering Kits

Post by inches » Sat May 13, 2017 3:14 pm

I'll have to search at home for the specs on it. For SMD you'll need those tweezer probes. Search around, there's about 4 core versions of this kind of thing. One has an SMD pad for larger SMD components.
Your next build should include a Compute Module 3! Sign-up to be notified about the CeMu Partner Pre-Order:
http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3148


My Compute Module 3 build [Update 1-5] http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3003

My Compute Module 3 build [Update 6+] http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic. ... 00&p=33219

My guide to Soldering kits http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=3024

inches
Posts: 103
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:28 pm
Has thanked: 32 times
Been thanked: 81 times

Re: [GUIDE] Inches' Guide to Soldering Kits

Post by inches » Tue May 16, 2017 10:48 am

abrugsch wrote:
Sat May 13, 2017 2:52 pm
Cool selection of kits 😎
What's the range of capacitance test on the tester thing? I hate that SMD caps often have no marking whatsoever so if you mix some up you're stuffed.
https://www.mikrocontroller.net/article ... stortester

I think this is the original development blog of this thing that has taken off and gotten many iterations. You can auto-google translate it from German.

"A connected capacitor can be measured in the range 35pF to 100mF with a resolution of up to 1 pF."
Your next build should include a Compute Module 3! Sign-up to be notified about the CeMu Partner Pre-Order:
http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3148


My Compute Module 3 build [Update 1-5] http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3003

My Compute Module 3 build [Update 6+] http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic. ... 00&p=33219

My guide to Soldering kits http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=3024

User avatar
dryja123
Posts: 1008
Joined: Tue May 09, 2017 5:34 pm
Location: Central NJ
Has thanked: 226 times
Been thanked: 527 times

Re: [GUIDE] Inches' Purchase Guide to Soldering Kits

Post by dryja123 » Tue May 16, 2017 4:11 pm

Just purchased the dice kit so I can get my soldering skill up. Thanks for sharing this!

inches
Posts: 103
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:28 pm
Has thanked: 32 times
Been thanked: 81 times

Re: [GUIDE] Inches' Purchase Guide to Soldering Kits

Post by inches » Thu May 18, 2017 4:51 pm

The wish list is working now. https://my.aliexpress.com/wishlist/shar ... 3107064207

You can click View More and see like 150 kits I put together,
Your next build should include a Compute Module 3! Sign-up to be notified about the CeMu Partner Pre-Order:
http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3148


My Compute Module 3 build [Update 1-5] http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3003

My Compute Module 3 build [Update 6+] http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic. ... 00&p=33219

My guide to Soldering kits http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=3024

dadi4168
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2017 8:56 pm
Has thanked: 12 times
Been thanked: 5 times

Re: [GUIDE] Inches' Purchase Guide to Soldering Kits

Post by dadi4168 » Thu May 18, 2017 7:14 pm

Great post. Thank you.

inches
Posts: 103
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:28 pm
Has thanked: 32 times
Been thanked: 81 times

Re: [GUIDE] Inches' Purchase Guide to Soldering Kits

Post by inches » Fri May 19, 2017 11:23 am

Added one example of SMD kit in the main post for reference. Still encourage everyone to check out the full wish list though.
Your next build should include a Compute Module 3! Sign-up to be notified about the CeMu Partner Pre-Order:
http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3148


My Compute Module 3 build [Update 1-5] http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3003

My Compute Module 3 build [Update 6+] http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic. ... 00&p=33219

My guide to Soldering kits http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=3024

User avatar
abrugsch
Posts: 971
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:00 am
Has thanked: 356 times
Been thanked: 430 times
Contact:

Re: [GUIDE] Inches' Purchase Guide to Soldering Kits

Post by abrugsch » Mon May 22, 2017 6:24 am

nice on that SMD one! that'll certainly exercise the SMD muscles! I have (3x8x2)+(3x2) SMD resistors and LED's on my GBCartSlurp board and they took me 3 evenings to hand solder (but it was my first largish SMD hand soldering project... :P ) but very good practice.

I'm hoping to make a video of me soldering up one of @moosepr's tiny pi's for fun bit there's not many components to solder so shouldn't take long...

User avatar
neolith
Posts: 182
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:43 pm
Location: Germany
Has thanked: 94 times
Been thanked: 156 times

Re: [GUIDE] Inches' Purchase Guide to Soldering Kits

Post by neolith » Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:06 am

I got me a couple of kits for practicing and so far I managed to not destroy any electronics or lose any of my fingers. :lol:

However I still have the SMD kit listed above to try. Unfortunately it doesn't come with any instructions or manual. None of the other kits had those either, but they were all properly labeled. While the SMD board does have some labels, most of its components do not. And those that have don't fit the labels on the board. So... I am kinda lost here. Did I miss anything? :?
– "The biggest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." –

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 1 guest