tonyn

My midification of my 70's Baldwin 210

232 posts in this topic

I am a newbie here but I thought I would start a thread on my project.

This organ has memories, since it was my dad's organ(no pun),

and I have played it since I was a child.

When my dad died 25 years ago, I inherited it.

So yes, I could get a nicer 3 manual church type organ to midfy.

But this one has memories.

I love this organ, and now my son wants it when I die(plus he wants to learn to play).

So it's this organ.

I want to maintain the integrety of the organ, but modernize it.

It will become a virtual organ but sound like the origional organ.

From the outside you won't be able to tell, except for the touch screen on top.

The default virtual organ software that boots up, will mimic the origional Baldwin along with the stops and pistons, etc..

Except it will produce better sound, since it will use sound files.

You will also be able to pull up other virtual organs and use the touch screen for those stops!.

This organ had all of the elctronics intact and worked.

Until this last summer, when I lost my business,

and had to move it.

I couldn't afford to hire movers, so I had to dissassemble it(I moved it on top of my car).

In my haste I just cut the cable from the upper part to the lower part, not labeling the wires!

Stupid me, I have been involved in electronics for over 30 years.

I SHOULD HAVE LABELED THEM!

After moving the organ and reassembling it, I now had the task of soldering those wires back.

Damn if they didn't use the same colored wire!

This was VERY involved and would take me a long time.

I almost gave up.

Then I happened upon a organ store, where they were selling full sized organs.

I was curious, since I knew full sized organs are almsot impossible to get rid of.

It was a modernized Lowery and sold for $30,000!

The guy said because it was computerized and had real sounds.

Now I was inspired!

I have a background in electronics and programming.

All I did was do some research and came up with this forum and others.

Right now I have the touch screen and computer, along with Midwitzer,Jorgan,

and the free MyOrgan software.

This is to start.

Being a programmer, I will write my own later, once I figure out how this all works.

I am redoing the swtich board with real push buttons, and have it just about done.

I placed an order for the Dins and core kits.

So it's just awaiting them.

All in all this will cost me a total of about $1000!

How's that for cheap(but these are all good parts, and the build will be high quality).

I'll post some pictures and how I am redoing the switches as I go for those of you interested.

I like to build things to last and also allow for an organ repair tech,

to be able to easily replace and adjust the switches, etc., years from now when it maybe my son's.

So being an engineer, I design to allow for this too.

I also wanted to try to maintain as much as I can of the integrety of the origional organ.

Edited by tonyn

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As promised here are some pics.

In the first picture you can see the organ has the touch screen on top with a customized screen saver.

The computer that gos with the monitor will be just for this organ.

So it will be custimized with organ software just for this organ.

Later on the computer will be mounted inside of the organ and the keyboard and mouse will go wireless.

So all that will let you know it is a virtual organ from the outside will be the touch screen.

The organ legs and pedal board is missing(I have them, they are just behind the organ).

I also need to do some cabinet work with veneering since the organ was damaged in the move.

But I am a handyman too, so that will be done right too.

First things first though.

The touch screen was a steal on ebay for only $40!

The monitors are missing the stands, vga cable, power cable, usb cable, and the bezel isn't complete.

I got a cheap stand for $50, and the cables for about $30.

So a total of about $150 for a complete setup with a custimzed bezel(I will use wood molding to match the organ).

But this is a high quality touch screen with a glass front.

At half the cost of complete 15 inch touch screens.

I can provide details on ordering one if you guys want one too.

The computer is a refurbashed E-Machines 3ghz,

dual core with 2gb memory(expandable to 8gb),

160gb hard drive, DVD writer and Vista preinstalled from Tiger Direct.

So it should have the horse power to to run the virtual organ software, etc.

This whole computer with keyboard mouse and 10w powered speakers(temporarily setting inside of organ,

to be replaced later with a 100w amps or a receiver to power the real organ speakers) was only $200!

Midibox electronics $300.

3 new keys $30.

122 push button switches $120

Various hardware about $100

All in all I have spent around $800.

But this is most of what I need except the amps.

Those I hope I can build or buy a cheap 100w receiver for under $200.

Plus my organ repair guy said he may have some amps I could use(I may also see if I can use the old amp)

I figure another $200 should about wrap it up.

So in the end my budget will be around $1000(with some work involved)

I will also use the leslie speaker for the sound it produces.

Just need to figure out how to work it into the midi electronics

for switch detection, and channeling the appropiate sounds to the leslie channel.

The rest of the stop contacts for the leslie will work the origional Baldwin motor circuits that turn the lesley.

The second picture is of the old contact boards and old keyboard electronics.

The third and forth pictures show how I made the new push button boards.

These new boards only have one octive of switches installed right now.

Plus I will need to solder wires onto the switches and add terminals.

So they aren't complete yet.

The midi dins and cores will mount to these boards too.

I had to test it out to make sure it worked before buying 122 switches.

The board is full adjustable for height by washers.

The boards don't destroy any of the orgional integrety of the organ.

No new holes were drilled into the origional organ.

I just used the old mounting holes from old contact boards.

The push buttons have a bit more firmness than if I used smaller micro switches or touch switches,

but so little from the origional feel of the organ keys(the old contact board also had springs so it had a bit of firmness too),

that it was worth the higher quality of push buttons.

Plus with micro or touch switches I would have to be more exact on the height, etc.,

since they would have a minute distance to activate the switches.

They eventually would get out of aligment, etc., and require constant fixing.

I initially bought a couple of cheap portable keyboards electronics from a local organ repair guy,

and was going to use those contacts.

But they had resistance, and I wanted no resistance.

Plus those contacts were so cheap that they wouldn't last the long hall.

No wonder he is always fixing those keyboards!

When I am done with my switches they not only will be wired to terminals

to ease my hooking up the dins, but they will easily be individually replaceable.

So later on, if a switch may fail, an organ repair person can easily replace them individually.

I am also documenting the new electronics and will make full schematics

of the organ electronics, and detailed info on the computer and software,

along with a repair manual to replace and align new switches etc(everything will be adjustable for exact alignment).

Don't forget:

This organ will be passed down to my son and if he needs it to be repaired later by someone else,

it can be.

As you can see these boards look like shelfs!

Well they are!

I initially used 1/4 inch hard baord and manually cut them.

But I needed to go up to 5/8 inch since 1/4 inch was too flexible.

I am using hand tools so my accuracy isn't exact.

So I found these 36 inch x 8 inch shelves at Menards, and they were exactly the sizes I wanted!

For $4 each it was worth it, and while I was at it I got woodgraned laminite, plus it saved me some cutting.

You won't see them from outside of the organ, but it was a free added touch.

The metal strip that the switches mount into is 1 inch aluminum that I had laying around.

Those holes were also hand drilled but they are accurate enough.

The metal on the back of the keys, where the hammers strike the push button switches,

can be bent to align them perfectly with the buttons(soft metal so need to be careful not to stress it out though).

The height of the boards can be adjusted with washers.

The distance from front to back can be adjusted with moving the outside mounting screws(Baldwin designed this part in,

the holes allow front to back movement of 1/2 inch , so I am just taking advantage of what they already took into account).

I also had to replace 3 keys that were damaged.

The newer keys are whiter.

Anyone know how to whiten up my old keys?

I tried Acetone but it didn't work.

I am a heavy smoker so it could be from that,

or they are yellowed with age.

They are plastic.

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, advice,

or want more detailed pictures of anything, feel free to add to this thread.

I may be asking for help on various things as I proceed too.

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Edited by tonyn

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All is good with my DIN and CORE kit MIDIBox orders from avishowtech.

So now to get back to work on my button board.

Here is what I found out and am trying to come up with solutions:

Since those holes in the 5/8" board are not quite perfect,

and just slightly bigger than the outside of the switches,

when I attach the metal strip with the 8 screws the switch bodies are too tight and the switches may break.

So I need to ream out the holes in the board some more.

My other delema is that the metal strip is a bit too thick to allow the O ring lock washers that came with the push buttons

to mount and lock the switches to the metal strips.

Since these switches will see a lot of hammering and vibrations they could come loose.

So I am considering Loctite Blue 242(locks nuts but can be removed later, it's semi permanent).

Then as an extra I may use some liquid rubber around where the switches mount to the metal strip to not only dampen the metalic sound but to keep them from further movement in and out.

Rubber and loctite blue 242 will allow disassembly later(rubber can be cut, or broke, the loctite blue loosens with applied heat if needed).

The last concern is that when the key hammers strike the switches you hear a metalic sound resonating from either the metal strip or vibrations from it to the board.

So I need to quiet that.

Possibly by using either liquid rubber as gaskets or black silicone between the metal strip and board and possibly around the switch bodies(painted around inside of holes in board to dampen and vibration from switch body to board).

Edited by tonyn

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OK.

I think I came up with a couple of solutions.

I will ream out the holes in the wood boards slighty so there isn't any tension when trying to insert the switch strip.

Optionally I will coat the inside of those holes with a rubber coating to dampen any noise from vibrations of switches to board.

The way I am assembling the switches will be:

First each switch needs wires - so I will be soldering black and red 18-22 gauge 2-3 inch wires onto the switches before inserting.

(These wires will come up through the holes and attach to screw terminals).

I will ream out the holes in the metal strip slightly and coat the metal strip with rubber including the inside of the holes.

This will dampen any metalic noise eminating from the metal.

I will then insert the switches into the metal strip and add loctite to the threads.

Then more holes to be drilled(244 to be exact)!

I will be making terminal strips.

There will be 2 terminal strips per board with 61 screws washers nuts etc.

One strip will be mounted in front of the switch holes for the ground row(there will be a bus wire running from terminal to terminal).

The back row will have the red wires that attach to the dins.

These strips will be made out of 1/4 inch wood molding strips and attach to the boards with screw or glued(haven't decided yet).

First I will make and drill out one terminal strip.

This strip can then be used as a template for the other three.

This is how I make it all as exact as possible.

This should make a good switch board that dampens sounds and allows easy removal of each switch(all that would need to be broke would be the loctite, which can easily be broke).

I'll post some pictures of my work for you to see.

I am just thinking out load here.

I may change my mind as I go.

Feel free to add your thoughts.

Maybe I sould do this as a blog?

Edited by tonyn

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I just purchased the rest of my switches, and while I was at Radio Shack,

I found some ready made terminal strips at Radio Shack that will work and save me time.

The guy at radio shack also suggested that I buy a couple of metal yard sticks, which are aluminum and thinner than my metal strips.

They will work better and allow lock washers!

I just have to drill 122 more holes that's all.

Coat the yard sticks with rubber and I am good.

Instead of reaming out the holes in the board I am considering just routing out a channel.

Edited by tonyn

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It's late at night.

Usually when I work on projects,

the day time is mostly spent running all over the place to get the materials.

I always make sure I have everthing I need before I start a project.

I hate running out of something in the middle of a project.

Unfortunetely when using power tools at night I can disturb the neighbours.

So all I can do now is plan for tomarrow.

But here's a picture of what I plan on doing.

Yes, my holes are off slightly.

This is because I started out with drilling the metal holes and the drill bits slid a bit.

Then I used the metal strips as templates to drill the holes in the wood so at least they aligned with the switches.

I hope to fix this now with routing out the holes in the wood for a nice channel and centerpunching the metal yard sticks for exact alignment.

You can see the metal yard stick.

These were $3 ea, $6 total for 2.

The terminal strips are for the hot side of the switches.

They come in strips of 12, so I'll need 6 per keyboard((3 x 12 +8(4 cut off)) = 32) x 2 = 64 with 3 left over, at $3 ea for a total of $18 per keyboard.

If I tried to make my own terminal strips with screws nuts, etc. I am sure they would cost more and be a lot more work.

These terminals will be towards the rear where the dins will mount, in front I will need grounding strips.

I haven't figured out what to use for that yet.

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Edited by tonyn

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Another picture for you guys.

I cut out the channels so if the switches are off they will fit fine.

I used a jig saw instead of a router.

It was easy and fast(just connect the dots so to speak).

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OK just in time.

It's night time now and I just finished with the power tools.

Here's a picture of what I just finished:

Drilling the holes into the metal yard sticks!

You can see my makeshift workbench I am using.

Now you know why I am slightly off.

I used the old metal strip as a template to make it easier.

I did both yard sticks at once.

Yes I could have made it more precise in this drilling,

but it was just easier to use the old metal holes instead of worring about bit slipage(I may have done worse).

These holes are close enough and it saved me time.

I hate redoing things, but I needed thinner metal strips.

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Edited by tonyn

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All works well so far.

Plus I may not need any dampening.

The switches on the old metal strips wre not tight because I couldn't use lock washers.

The sounds I must have heard may have been from that.

Now that I can use lock washers those sounds doesn't seam to be there.

But everything can be dissassembled, and I can always coat the metal, etc.

There is always the options of nylon washers etc. to help dampen things if needed.

Now it's basically soldering wires onto the 122 switches!

I'll be using red and black insulated 22 gauge.

This I can do tonight.

Edited by tonyn

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Damn!

You may have noticed that one of my new metal strips has a hole that is bad.

These yard sticks had holes on one end to hang them in the store.

I wasn't paying attention to how I aligned the one strip and now I have 2 holes where one should be.

So I'll have to make another strip(61 more holes).

Oh well..That can wait until tomarrow.

Tonight I'll be soldering the switches and maybe plasti coating the strips.

Anyway in case you guys are wondering what I was refering to for a rubber coating.

It's called Plasti Dip and is used for coating tools and other things.

It comes in a spray can or as a dip.

It comes in 4 colors(red, black, yellow, and blue).

I got black.

Here's a picture of it.

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Edited by tonyn

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It's always important to get a few extras of things, especially when it comes to electrical components.

I got 132 switches although I only need 122.

Then it's important to test out electrical components before soldering or installing.

If you have the equipment, in the case of switches, a continuity tester.

I tested all switches both mechanically(spiring and sitckiness, etc.), and electrically.

Out of 132 switches 1 was machanically bad(sitcky spring), and 1 was electrically bad(no contacts when switch pushed).

These were made in China, and yes if you buy something made in China, make sure you thoroughly test it out.

They have no quality control in China.

Now onto soldering wires to them.

Edited by tonyn

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Well it took me about 5-6 hours to do it right.

But I have finished soldering the wires onto half of the switches.

62 actually.

The rest will be done tonight.

I decided on 4 inch lengths of wire, since that should be more than long enough.

After the swithces are installed, I will measure distance to terminals and cut and strip those ends.

Here's a picture of my progress:

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Edited by tonyn

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OK.

Today I finished redoing one of the metal strips,

and opened up the channels a bit more in the wood boards,

so that the switches fit all of the way through,

and metal strips will fit flat to boards.

Before I had to space them a bit away.

This will be more solid attachement.

I also just rubber coated one side of the metal strips, with a thin layer of plasti coat.

I will coat the other sides later.

This should dampen any vibrations and also help to keep nuts on.

Here's a picture of the coated tops of the metal strips:

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Sheu..

I just finished soldering the rest of the switches.

I have 130 good ones but only need 122.

So I have 8 extra for spares.

Later today I will be aligning the holes to the key hammers,

installing the switches, and attaching the wires to terminals.

When installing the switches I will have to install

from left to right, one at a time, to allow my open end wrench to be able to tighten the nuts.

Note: While I was doing my QC testing of these switches,

I was able to fix a few that were not completely assembled right.

There are little lock tabs on the terminals on the back of the switches that need to be locked.

If you have a switch like this(I don't know the real manufacturer, but they were bought at Radio Shack, made in China).

With no continuity when button is pushed, it maybe due to a loose terminal on back of switch.

Just pull the loose terminal out until it locks.

Here's a picture of one of the switches with an arrow pointing to the lock tab of the terminal.

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OK.

I just installed all of the switches for the top keyboard.

This is the first time I was able to feel what the WHOLE keyboard feels like with these switches

The feel is great!

Nice and solid(better than cheap portable keyboards), and just right(not too firm nor too soft).

That rubber coating dampened all noise and also will help keep the switches and screws from coming loose from vibrations, etc.

Right now the switches make full contact when the keys are within 1/8 inch of all of the way pushed down.

But I can always adjust the height for ore exact contact height a little with washers.

Like I origionally planne:

I took into account to the ability for minor adjustments if needed.

Plus, if a repair tech needs to do any repair it's easy.

Each switch can easily be removed and replaced.

Switches do go bad, so this should be easy.

Now it's installing terminal strips and attaching the wires from the switches to them.

Here's a few pictures for you:

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Edited by tonyn

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OK.

So far I seem to be talking to myself.

But it does look like you guys are viewing this thread.

But if I can share with you that's fine.

For me this is a way to share some of what I know and some tips along the way.

Plus it's a way for me to document my progress for my reference.

You guys may also think I am putting too much work into just the keyboards.

But, to me it will be worth it in the end.

The pedal board and swell pedal will be next.

The part of midification of the keyboards is the easy part.

Although it looks like it's hard it isn't, just takes a bit of work.

But I feel this way to me is the best.

Just wait until I get to the stop tabs and of sending the various sounds out of the 3 channels of the virtual organ programs to the real organ's speakers

(2 internal speakers with a leslie speaker, = 3 channels), and having it all work through MIDI from the computer.

I do have more sound cards if you looked in the first picture(still in their boxes sitting beside the computer ready to be installed).

They are new sound blaster cards.

The computer has an onboard sound right now that I am playing with.

I have played with the virtual organ programs on other computers I have laying around the house before I purchased this computer,

so I am familar with them and have been working on my virtual baldwin console in JOrgan.

Of course I also have the wonderful Midwurtzer progam too.

I have also input midi keyboards to these progams to test out too.

So I am a bit famular with that part.

I plan on 3 sound cards with 3 sets of sound fonts for the 3 channels, etc.

I also have the origional Baldwin 210 manual that explains how the sounds are routed,

plus I have a schematic of the old Bladwin 210 organ to help.

Plus I have this organ repair guy that has been repairing organs for over 30 years and knows them inside and out.

He has tons of organ parts or can get them for me, including midi controled parts.

He knows the electronics, but doesn't know much about computers.

So I am bartering with him for my knowledge of programming and computers for parts, and his knowledge of the electronics of the old organs.

I may strip out the old stops and put in lighted ones that can be activated through din out and midi too.

I have my ideas on that too and will start with the plug and play programs to start, and then write my own.

Plus there is the carpentry work of fixing the damages to the wood, whitening of the keys, etc..

This is a multi month project so stay tuned.

Edited by tonyn

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Don't worry I haven't quit.

I am actually 50 years old, and have a background in electronics and computers.

I took some computer science courses 20-30 years ago, and have been programming building and repairing computers for over 30 years.

But I have no computer science degree.

So, last summer after my business went bankrupt, I decided to go back to school to finally get my computer science degree.

I am a full time student right now(an A student, feels good to show up those 20 years olds) with a full load.

I have been working on this along with doing my school work.

But I need to finish my courses for this semster now, and dedicate full time to that right now.

So I'll be back at this in a about a week, after my courses for this fall are done, and I have some more time to devote to this.

For those of you also wondering:

Yes I am a musician too.

I didn't just inherit the organ, I can play it too!

I studied when I was a teenager on various chruch organs and learnt from some good teachers.

This is why I want the feel just right.

I also want to be able to play it again soon.

As you can see it all works as planned so far.

All I have to do is wire up the terminals.

I'll take pictures for you after I do that part too.

Edited by tonyn

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OK.

I am back.

Bet you thought I had given up.

I just had to finish up my fall college courses that's all(I am an A student too, just for your FYI).

I now have about a month to work on the organ.

My dins and cores have been shipped today too!

So within the next couple of weeks I should at least have the keybpoards working with Miditzer, etc.

So I'll be able to somewhat play the organ for Christmass!

I love playing during the holidays.

I have a lot more work to go after getting the keyboards midized.

I have to think out how to amplify the outputs from the sound cards to 3 channels, etc.

I hope to maybe be able to use the existing amp. But I may need to build preamps, etc.

Then I'll need to work on the pedalboard and swell pedal, and then:

How to midize the stops.

I may just gut out the old stops and get some monitary push button latched ones from a midized modern organ.

My organ guy said he has some. But that will take some thought. I may also have to order soem Douts for the stops too.

Edited by tonyn

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That looks interesting.

I'm buying an old organ myself in order to steal the pedals from it for use with my synths. I'm thinking of using the two manuals I'll get left for some later project.

Edit: If you have the money you could use Hauptwerk instead of Miditzer, but it might be too expensive. If you really want quality then I think you should go for that, however.

Edited by Ganryu

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Thanks.

I wish you luck with your organ.

I haven't even looked at the contacts of my pedal boards.

I am hoping that I can just take off of the old contacts.

But I may have to redo the contact board for the pedal board too, which I am not looking forward to.

So, if you are lucky, you will get a pedal board that has contacts you can just take off of.

So, if you are buying, check that part out first, since it may save you a lot of headache.

My pedal board also slides out, which is nice, and I want to maintain that,

since my organ is in a small living room and having the pedal board removable is nice,

since it takes up room, and can cause tripping when not used.

So, in your case where you are using a separate pedalboard with a synth, See if you can get a removable one like mine.

Then you can build a box that lets the pedalboard slide out of, etc.

My organ is from the 60's-70's.

But after 1990? they started midizing the organs.

Those would have nice contacts to use.

So, if you are buying or getting an organ, look for later models to save time and headache.

Just my 2 cents.

I am stuck with mine and have the headache of redoing things to midize it.

They are cheap too.

My organ guy had a later model midized Lorey for only $200!

I told him I may want some parts from it later for the stops etc. to use for my organ.

That's if he still has it.

He told me tht if he doesn't, he has tons of stops, etc.,

from different organs I can get for cheap from him.

He really wants to sell the organ as a whole, since it's fully functional.

I have a good resourse myself for organ parts!

Yes, I have considered Hauptwerk. I DO want the quality.

But I am starting with Jorgan and Miditzer to "get the feel".

I also have the free clone version of Hauptwerk called MyOrgan

(I can provide a link to it for you if you want) to play with too.

I don't need to spend money on Hauptwerk, since I am a programmer myself:)

But I may have to buy some soundfonts.

Then, as a programmer, I plan to develop my own customized programs.

I am thinking Java since Jorgan etc. are programmed in Java so I maybe able to use them,

add to Jorgan with my code to help upgrade it for that guy, and then write my own programs.

I am taking advanced Java programming this next college semester too!

Java is also cross platform and I plan to change the operating system over to linux.

I want the computer to boot up and ready to go when you turn on the organ.

It will boot up with a custom configuration that won't need the touch screen, etc.,

and use the normal stops, etc..

But it will also allow you to pull up other organs that will use the touch screen,

which will be the nice part of the virtual organ part.

The pedal boards will be a bit of a pain,

since to access the pedal contact boards I have to lift up the organ, etc.

But I am aproaching this one step at a time.

First the keyboards and outputs of the sounds to the 3 channels(3 100w speakers,

including the leslie with control of the leslie motor),

then the pedal board/swell, and then the stops.

BTW I just got my order from avishowtech(I'll include a pic).

I ordered 9 din kits 4 core kits and 20m of 10 ribbon cable along with 58 IDC connectors.

So I have enough for it all except maybe some Douts later for the stops

I may want the computer to be able to physically set/reset stops, so I'll need Douts for that,

but I'll need to change the stops over to push buttons with leds and latch circuits, etc.

The leslie motor control will also need to control a relay, etc.

I plan on using 4 dins and a core for the stops and pistons.

2 dins and a core per keyboard, and one din and a core for the pedalboard and swell.

So 4 midi channels and 4 cores.

I ordered the core pics preprogrammed for channels 0-3

Just an FYI: This order was over $300, but well worth it.

I made sure I had more than enough, since you never know

(I may destroy a board soldering, not likely since I have

been soldering circuit boards for over 30 years, but you never know).

It's always good to have more parts than you may need, just in case.

I can always run the 2 keyboards off of one core if I want to or need to later.

But I like the separate channel configurations I plan on right now.

After I solder the din and core circuit boards and have the keyboards connected to the dins and cores,

I'll be testing out and programming the outputs to the computer programs, etc.,

and then figure out what will work best

So now it's time to get to work!

I have a bit of soldering to do now.

That looks interesting.

I'm buying an old organ myself in order to steal the pedals from it for use with my synths. I'm thinking of using the two manuals I'll get left for some later project.

Edit: If you have the money you could use Hauptwerk instead of Miditzer, but it might be too expensive. If you really want quality then I think you should go for that, however.

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Edited by tonyn

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OK.

I am in a delema right now:

Do I use terminal strips for the switches,

or just solder the wire ends to the ends of the ribbon cables that go to the dins?

I may just start with the soldering, since it would be easier and better contact actually.

I will leave enough wire to cut and resolder etc., later if I need to.

Then I can consider wiring to the terminals later(I already have a bunch of terminals as you saw, to do that).

Edited by tonyn

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OOPS.

This was a double entry...

Edited by tonyn

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Just a quick picture of my circuit board soldering setup.

I haven't populated the din board yet with the components.

I am basically just getting ready.

Those helping hands come in handy.

Part of any type of construction is having the right tools too.

I am always working on some type of project, electronic, etc., so this I already had laying around.

There are also are some tricks in inserting the components for easy soldering I may share with you too.

Like I said:

I have been doing this type of thing for over 30 years, so I know a few tricks.

I have even etched my own circuit boards.

But I don't have access to good etching and silk screen equipment.

So I ordered them from avishowtech.

I am happy with his boards. High quality good price,

and no headache for me to have to order or have them made elsewhere

You can send in circuit board layouts and there are companies

that will make them for you, but you usually have to order a quantity for it to be worth it.

Then you need to order the components, etc.

He takes the hassle out of getting the components too(if you order the kits, as I did).

All in one shop for this. Plus although I was initially impatient awaiting them,

it only took 4 weeks, and is worth it!

That guy must be real busy for one man, and that is fast considering.

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Edited by tonyn

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First I will start with the ic sockets.

Those are in the middle of the boards and low profile.

Usually it's a good idea to start with the lowest profile components so you can tape them to the board easily.

You can also choose to work from the middle out too, as I decided to do.

I'll give you a soldering tip too:

When you solder, bend and cut the leads(only for leads that are long, like on the caps) so the solder can cover the ends.

Components like the caps are harder to tape, so by bending the ends,

and turning the circuit board over, they will hang so you can solder them.

Cutting the ends before soldering also helps from corosion later.

When you solder you want just enough solder, but not too much, and DO NOT HOLD THE SOLDERING IRON TOO LONG.

You feed the solder from the left with the iron on the right

just touching the pad and lead so you are heating the lead and pad,

you push the lead slightly as you solder to make sure

the solder flows onto the lead and into the hole and to the pad.

As soon as the pad is covered, you pull the solderig iron up and solder away quickly,

and up so the solder gos up the lead and covers the end.

For pads that are connected to ground traces(large traces)you may need to heat it a bit longer.

You do not want to melt the lead or tin out(I forgot which), and make the solder joint brittle, and non shinny.

You want it nice and shinny, and concave(you don't want a bump of solder, just enough to flow into the hole, suround the end, and cover the pad).

You can also burn away the solder pad, and destroy the board if you are not careful,

and you have a hot soldering iron(past experience).

I usually set my iron to 40w, which can actually burn the pads off of the circuit boards and destroy them.

But the soldering gos quickly.

You just have to be fast enough to remove the iron before damage occurs.

This takes practice. I do not recommend that for beginners. Set your iron to 20-25w for circuit boards.

It takes practice to get a good solder joint.

I'll show you what it should look like.

Use a lightly wet sponge to keep your soldering iron tip clean too.

Your soldering iron tip should be shinny too but have no solder on it.

You tin the end of your soldering iron with solder

It's the rosin core of the solder that helps make things flow better too

(so make sure you get rosin core solder), wipe it off on the sponge, before you solder.

That makes it shinny and helps melt the solder, etc., better.

What I do for a good solder tip is sand the tip down to the copper first,

and then apply solder to it to tin it before you use it.

Then you keep it clean and shinny between soldering, and remove old solder, by wiping it on the sponge.

I also have a bottle of solder flux in case I need it(this is usually used to tin wire ends).

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Edited by tonyn

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