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Old 10-23-2009, 05:36 AM #1
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Default Is soldering necessary?

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Old 10-23-2009, 06:02 AM #2
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Default Re: Is soldering necessary?

go to the hardware store.

get solder paste flux.

apply the flux to whatever surface your going to solder
it will make the solder flow nicely and eb shiny, not lumpy or "stringy" or black flaky and burnt......thats the trick to soldering.
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:30 AM #3
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Default Re: Is soldering necessary?

A good iron is key here and as Moh said flux will make all the difference in the world, there is good and bad flux you need the right stuff. and good solder won't hurt either.
if you can't find good flux I have some for sale in a 1ml syringe for easy application just PM me if interested good luck with your soldering get a good iron and keep going !

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Old 10-23-2009, 06:34 AM #4
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Default Re: Is soldering necessary?

as far as the oxidized tip you can always use some sand paper to clean the tip. i usually buy the 5-10$ 12-15w irons off ebay that have an extendable tip in them. once the tip needs cleaning i use a file or sandpaper to clean the tip and then re-tin it. flux does make all the difference in the world though..
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:47 AM #5
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Default Re: Is soldering necessary?

You can also use swiss machine pin headers and they'll attach to the diode pretty well. You'll still need to solder them to the driver though. Practice soldering wires together first.
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:58 AM #6
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Default Re: Is soldering necessary?

What Mohrenberg said, plus practice on wires first.
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:16 AM #7
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Default Re: Is soldering necessary?

Why would you not solder the wires together when that is the easiest part of the whole thing? Plus, they're the easiest part to unsolder.

What kills a laser diode? The momentary disconnects. Those short instances where there is suddenly current, and then suddenly no current, and then current again. That little spike of current that goes down into your laser diode and wreaks havoc. Don't suffer more soldering and frustration just because you don't want to solder the wires you've already twisted together.
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:25 AM #8
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Default Re: Is soldering necessary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by laze_doctor View Post
But out of interest, would it be bad to not use solder?
even a momentary break in the electrical connection between the diode and driver is enough to kill the diode so yes it would be bad to not use solder.
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:25 AM #9
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Default Re: Is soldering necessary?

Ahh right. Thanks for the info guys. Definitely going to solder =D
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Old 10-23-2009, 10:23 AM #10
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Default Re: Is soldering necessary?

How I remember those day... good job everyone I'll add some food for thought.
Go to your local computer repair shop and ask if they have for writer drives they looking to discard.

chances are they'll just give em to ya. You might want to give them some bucks just for the effort though...after that consider everything you do to be practice for the ultimate laser build I see in your future.

Don't forget to wear your goggles and be responsible with you lasers. Oh yea one more thing when you get good at your builds and wise in your years pass along what others have passed to you.
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Old 10-24-2009, 02:16 AM #11
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Default Re: Is soldering necessary?

BTW.... when you go to the Hardware store for Flux Paste...
make sure it is Rosin Flux and not Acid Flux used for Sheet
Metal work... The Acid Flux will corrode your solder joints.
Rosin also has a very minimal amount of acid but Rosin Flux
is designed for electronic circuits.

And if you file your Iron tip as was mentioned above.. cover
the bare tip with solder as soon as it is hot enough (tinning it)
before the tip oxidizes...

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Old 10-24-2009, 04:30 AM #12
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Default Re: Is soldering necessary?

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Originally Posted by Bionic-Badger View Post
You can also use swiss machine pin headers and they'll attach to the diode pretty well. You'll still need to solder them to the driver though. Practice soldering wires together first.
I thought we all agreed long ago that sockets are evil... Like you said, momentary disconnects cause instant death, which is why we've all sworn off sockets long ago... If that diode wiggles a little in the socket, poof, instant LED.

Odd advice, considering how long you've been here, or, do you know something about switzerland and their sockets that we don't?
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Old 10-24-2009, 01:15 PM #13
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Default Re: Is soldering necessary?

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Originally Posted by pseudolobster View Post
I thought we all agreed long ago that sockets are evil... Like you said, momentary disconnects cause instant death, which is why we've all sworn off sockets long ago... If that diode wiggles a little in the socket, poof, instant LED.

Odd advice, considering how long you've been here, or, do you know something about switzerland and their sockets that we don't?
I asked this same thing when I saw they were selling sockets on rothner's list.
I asked why and Dave responded that the corrosion possible in the socket would / could cause a momentary dissconect... so I reread on this and now there produced in telfon plastic... gold plated even.

I haven't used any of theses in a build for the fear of LED
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Old 10-24-2009, 01:27 PM #14
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Default Re: Is soldering necessary?

"might get some flux", no. you NEED to get flux. seriously, it really does make ALL the difference in the world. I could not solder without it....it only costs like $2 for a jar of it.....and i'm still on the same jar of flux i bought a year ago....and am not even close to running out.
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Old 10-25-2009, 03:55 AM #15
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Default Re: Is soldering necessary?

Okay I'll check it out

I'm using rosin cored solder -- is it okay to use flux with that (isn't the right amount of flux already inside the solder)?

Also... do I need to clean off the flux after soldering?
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Old 10-25-2009, 04:54 AM #16
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Default Re: Is soldering necessary?

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I thought we all agreed long ago that sockets are evil... Like you said, momentary disconnects cause instant death, which is why we've all sworn off sockets long ago... If that diode wiggles a little in the socket, poof, instant LED.

Odd advice, considering how long you've been here, or, do you know something about switzerland and their sockets that we don't?
It's interesting how sockets have gotten such a bad rap, after all, processors and chips use them all the time without problems. In fact, you can buy laser diode sockets from companies such as Thor Labs and they appear to perform well enough. People "agreed" but did they do any actual testing?

What I suspect is that people simply used the wrong headers for the job. Remember that headers/sockets are designed to prevent momentary disconnects. You don't want, for example, the chip you've connected to suddenly losing its connection during a computation. This is why sockets are relatively expensive: they're designed to perform like a soldered connection, but enable you to replace the device without desoldering.

Where a header or socket may fail you is if it's the wrong size for the pins; so it doesn't properly grip the device. It can also fail if there is significant mechanical stress on the connection (something pulling on it). A "wiggle" shouldn't be significant, and would cause a disconnect only if there was a size mismatch between the pin and device.

"Standard" headers are designed to connect to other headers. The male headers are long and square, while the female standard headers are made using a "fork" of metal inside a plastic casing that grips the male head. These kinds of headers are completely inappropriate for connecting to devices directly because of their large size. That's why you put an IC in a socket and then put the socket into the headers. I've tried using them for replaceable LED sockets, and they're not good for that.

The (Swiss) machine-pin headers I'm suggesting for diodes are meant for connecting to devices such as chips, instead of just other headers. They are smaller than standard headers, and not only that, round and often plated with brass. Female machine-pin headers grip the male variety with a completely metal hole, ensuring a good connection and strong grip. The female header holes are exactly the right size for the pins on a laser diode, and I suspect that these are the exact same socket connectors used in Thor Lab's laser diode sockets.

My claims aren't based solely on conjecture. I wasn't sure if they'd work either, so I bought some to test. How do they perform? They have a very solid grip that would take effort to disconnect, and are also spaced the same as the pins on a diode, providing the set with structural support. The most important question is, however, would they cause momentary disconnects? Not unless you're actively pulling the diode off the socket, which would probably damage a solder joint as well. After the diode is installed there shouldn't be much mechanical stress on the system anyway, and if you're afraid, you can always hot-glue the connection down, which is a good idea anyway.

Why use it instead of soldering? Don't, if you're comfortable soldering directly to the diode after it has been mounted. Sockets are far more expensive than solder + wire, and the soldered wire is a better permanent solution. However, the sockets can be useful for quickly connecting to mounted diodes after the rig has been completed and mounted; for example if you've glued in your driver and don't want to mess around with soldering inside the box. They're also great for replaceable parts, and testing many diodes at a time, as Laserbee has used them for.

Do not, however, dismiss them as a solution for connecting to diodes. They do connect very solidly to laser diodes provided you're not putting them in extraordinary circumstances. Inside a pen, or box, or other static arrangement I would definitely not fear that the socket would pop off the diode any more than a soldered connection.

Last edited by Bionic-Badger; 10-25-2009 at 05:03 AM.
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