Today I watched Karen's makerkaren Video about building a circuit from a schematic:
At first thought one might wonder what an old dog like me who has been playing with electronics for the last 62 years could learn from a beginners level 11 minute lesson on making a circuit from a schematic. As it turns out there is always a lot to learn from the members of this forum whether they are young or old, experienced or inexperienced and Karen's presentations are always a must watch for me.
Today I got two benefits from watching the show. The first benefit was watching how easily Karen flipped the board from one side to another for parts placement and soldering. While I had seen circuit board holders before, I had never seen one used and being a bit on the slow side I never realized, that with the amount of circuit board work I do, they could be a real benefit. So tonight I found one on line that would suit my needs and ordered it.
The second thing that I received from watching Karen's video was an inspiration. I dawned on me how often I am frustrated or have to jury rig something to hold a component in place so it can be soldered. A lot of the components that I use for my builds are salvage components and as such they usually have short leads. When the components have long leads this isn't such a problem as the leads can be skewed to the board to hold the part in place. When I use a short lead component however, I can place the component where I want it on the proto board but as soon as I turn the board over to solder the part, it falls or moves out of place. Many times it is just the case of not being tight to the board. While a part at a strange angle is functional, to me it is not acceptable.
The solution is this component clamp which I plan to use with my new circuit board.
The clamp was constructed from 12 AWG copper wire, 1/8" ID Brass Tubing, 1/8" OD Brass Rod, and an old twist spring. The copper wire was cut to the desired length and then formed using pliers. The 1/8" brass rod was cut slightly larger than the 1/8" brass tube so that the tube could fit over the rod and provide a bearing for the clamp finger to pivot on. The spring was the most difficult part as I soldered the clamp together before I figured out how to do the spring. Duh! Fortunately I was able to thread the spring onto the wire and then thread it again around the corner and onto the pivot. The two widely spaced fingers on the solder side of the board give ample room to get at the pads so that they can be soldered. If you look closely at the end of the finger that holds the component you will see that I have soldered a small brass pad to the wire. The purpose of the pad is to give me enough surface area so that I can use the clamp to hold headers and sharp topped components in place like this:
Here are a couple examples of how the clamp works to hold short lead components in place so the board can be turned over and the leads soldered.
Here we have a 555 timer. Traditionally I will bend a couple leads over to hold the IC and after soldering one lead I will apply pressure to the component, heat the pad again, and seat the component to the board. Now the new clamp will hold the chip in place and allow the soldering of all 8 legs and no seating required.
Here we have a 470 uF cap with short leads. As you can see it will be a breeze to solder in place thanks to the clamp.
A special Thanks to Karen, element 14, and the Producers of the Learning Circuit for tonight's fun in my shop.