So,… I’m attempting to do this but instead of the arduino, using my raspberry pi: http://www.instructables.com/id/LED-Glass-Desk-v20/

I found some great stuff at adafruit like a breakout kit to start testing with a breadboard and some basic components, and this nifty case. After a little soldering and some minor burns, we have a cool little prototyping kit! It even worked on the first try, that never happens.

It’s been a while since I’ve soldered components, I had to brush up a little. Here are some things I remembered along the way:

  • A good soldering iron is important, it should have a variable temperature and exchangeable tips. The “solder all” ones the sell at radio shack are horrendous, Weller is the brand of choice for most tinkerers.
  • Use a fine point tip and heat it up to about 600-700F. Keep it clean, and tinned.
  • For solder, go with something light duty. This will ensure the solder melts quickly and will reduce damage to the components from heat travel. The longer you leave the iron on the component the higher the likelihood your components will melt.
  • Don’t forget to use flux! This is really important and a common first time mistake. Flux reduces the possibility of cold solder connections and corrosion.  It creates a strong bond more quickly at the onset and allows you to spend less time with heat on your delicate electronics.
  • Also, Don’t forget to use flux!
  • Use a q-tip to clean the area with alcohol (isopropyl not whiskey, too sticky) and then apply a thin layer of flux to both the component and board contacts. Using a small model brush or nail polish brush works great.

Some pictures below; Its not much to look at yet, but I call it a successful first day.

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