Your favorite DIY trick

Discussion in 'DIY' started by birchoak, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. Powertech

    Powertech Active Member

    Messages:
    434
    Location:
    South Wales, U.K.
    I use a little 'helping hands' device. It's on a weighted stand and has 2 alligator clips and a magnifying glass, all on adjustable arms. Really good for holding parts for soldering. The magnifier is useful too.
     
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  2. arts

    arts Super Member

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    3,549
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    Actually,that is a very good idea,and not just for novices.

    In my case,some of my test equipment is only used infrequently,so remembering certain procedures and set-ups means having to page through some very large manuals in order to find the relevant information.That,and my memory couldn't even rival a Commodore Vic 20 these days...

    I'm thinking that printing up some of these cards is just the ticket:)
     
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  3. birchoak

    birchoak Hi-Fi Nut Subscriber

    Messages:
    683
    Location:
    Amesbury, MA
    Great for novices? Hell, I'd say that's great for anyone opening up an amp or receiver--I need to do that. I get very excited about doing the work and sometimes start sound testing the amp while it's still plugged into the DBT.
     
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  4. birchoak

    birchoak Hi-Fi Nut Subscriber

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    683
    Location:
    Amesbury, MA
    I've been promising my fingers (burnt many times by hot solder and the iron itself) I would get one of those for about ten years.
     
  5. birchoak

    birchoak Hi-Fi Nut Subscriber

    Messages:
    683
    Location:
    Amesbury, MA
    Here is another one I totally forgot about: how fun is it to strip, join, and solder those super-thin leads to the bulbs in an old receiver? Not fun at all says I! The gauge is too small for the smallest notch on my wire strippers and I end up doing bad things to get the insulation off, things that involve my teeth and shredded wire. I got a pack of those clear plastic buttons for phone connections at Home Depot, along with the special needle nose pliers that trap and squish the button's halves together. I am not describing these things well, but I believe they were created for quick, permanent, weather-tight splices on low voltage communications wires. You stick the two ends of the wires you want to join into the little button (no stripping needed at all), hold them there while you squeeze the top and bottom halves of the button with the pliers, and a mini-guillotine thingy presses down, along with a tiny blob of silicone, and you're all done. No soldering iron, no stripping, no teeny tiny heat shrink tubing, no dangerous heat near the damned dial string (yep, I've ruined one or two while soldering). Is it perfect? No. Is is what a professional restorer/tech would do? I'm gonna say no again. Is it good enough for me and my equipment? Oh, hell yeah. If anyone is actually interested in this, I can post some pictures. I doubt any professionals would do this, but it is good enough for any gear I'm keeping for myself.
     
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  6. Bill Ferris

    Bill Ferris Super Member

    Messages:
    1,647
    Location:
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    birchoak, I think what it sounds like your describing is called a "beanie/button" compression single end splice connector.

    And can be properly compressed with regular plyers, and have been used with house telephone wiring, as well as the elongated, usually white insulative covered single ended crimp connector for low voltage(telcon/thermostat connector, whose name escapes me at the moment.
    If some one on this forum can improve upon my connection conjecture, please correct me.
     

     

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  7. Bill Ferris

    Bill Ferris Super Member

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    I believe that device is usually labeled "Helping Hand", and being only able to use one hand because of being partially paralyzed,(left side) all versions have been most welcome, and very handy for me working on electronic repairs..
     
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  8. turnitdown

    turnitdown Well-worn member Subscriber

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    Nope. Had a screwdriver on ice though
     
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  9. petehall347

    petehall347 the brandy coffee man Subscriber

    Messages:
    27,275
    Location:
    uk.. the middle bit
    cigarette lighter for stripping thin wires or for burning varnish off solid wires like transformer wires etc .
     
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  10. birchoak

    birchoak Hi-Fi Nut Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    That makes me thirsty.
     
  11. birchoak

    birchoak Hi-Fi Nut Subscriber

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    Location:
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    I forgot about that! I don't know if I trust myself with an open flame around an open chassis!
     

     

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  12. z-adamson

    z-adamson AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Don't know if this counts as a trick, but sometimes I loose track of a solder joint that I intend to desolder, leading me to desolder the wrong joint.

    To remedy this, once I identify the joint, I mark it with flux. I then get everything into position to desolder, go for the desolder pump, find the flux-covered solder joint and go to town. This kills 2 birds with 1 stone. First of all, it keeps me from losing track of the solder joint and the flux helps big time with the dedoldering process.

    This is usually only a problem with heavily populated boards. I will find the cap on the component side, then find the corresponding solder joints on the solder side, go for the pump then lose track of the joint. No more of this going on with using flux.

    See the pics of the Sansui receiver I am recapping right now.

    Notice the 4 caps crammed in the corner with a ton of other components. I smeared flux all over the joints that correspond, so to not lose track of them when I go to desolder.

    So....that's my trick!! :)
     

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  13. Zenith4me

    Zenith4me AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Near Seattle, WA
    I like your idea. I do something similar but use a red felt pen to mark the solder joints. I also mark the top of the cap with a red dot after replacing it. That helps me remember that I’ve replaced that cap. For the existing cap I also pick an orientation point (typically the dial) and put a red mark pointing in the direction of the dial. That helps me just in case there is a mismarked screen print on the board and I’ll know for sure which end is positive/negative.

    Carter
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
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  14. elnaldo

    elnaldo Addicted Member

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    Location:
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    +1, I also mark sometimes a path on the pcb traces to follow connections from one component to another , or arrows pointing to the right component to desolder or where to take measurements, numbering test points at the pcb and the schematic.
     
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  15. DEAFASABAT

    DEAFASABAT Active Member

    Messages:
    230
    I do the same with a small 1/10 hp motor that I turned the shaft down to 1/4" on.

    I use New Finish or Color Back automotive cleaner/polishes with good results.

    Similar to your drill setup, you can spin rusty or dull looking screws in the chuck and restore them with the burgundy colored "metal grade" ScotchBright pads.
     
  16. birchoak

    birchoak Hi-Fi Nut Subscriber

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    Location:
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    Oh yes, that is a trick and one I will start using. Thank you for sharing
     

     

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  17. birchoak

    birchoak Hi-Fi Nut Subscriber

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    That is wise. I have heard of incorrect markings--that would totally bite!
     
  18. Dingman

    Dingman Do you know where your towel is? Subscriber

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    :Not sure if this has been listed as a individual tip, but I find it's quite important. Do you work all day at job, then work out, then clean up. eat dinner. Answer emails\phone calls\texts and then think you'll do a good job on some of this work?
    Not me. My best "sessions" (as a hobbyist) happen first thing in the morning when I'm not having to work the job.
    Seriously, for me, I turn out good work in the morning. Not so much after 16 hours of other stuff.
    Summed up:
    Do Not Work on equipment when tired.
     
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  19. OMGCat!

    OMGCat! AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    El Sereno, CA
    This is really good advice.
    I've tried to work on things after a long day of work, to relax or something, and have found that's when I make most of my mistakes.
    Even though it's a hobby for most of us it's good to keep in mind that this is delicate, technical work that requires a sharp mind.
     
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  20. z-adamson

    z-adamson AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    If you get up early to work on audio gear, then go to your day job, your mind will be spent from the early morning "session" and you won't be 100% at work. Trading one potential problem for another, right?
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
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