Total hardware newbie

Talk about your replica, what you have done and what you use it for

Total hardware newbie

Postby 9a3eedi » Oct Wed 13, 2010 6:54 pm

Hi,

I'm a 4th year student studying computer science, and I have a very good understanding of how computers work from a software perspective. After getting a job involving embedded systems, I'm just completely fascinated by these simple computers and hobbyist electronics, and now I'm looking around trying to get into it. Then I run into the replica 1 and I thought that this would be great to start with! So I'm really looking forward to getting my own replica 1.

The thing is that I'm very new to electronics. My handson experience with simple electronics and my soldering skills are very minimal (I soldered a bunch of wires to a headphone jack, and also fixed a broken USB stick, but it took me a lot of skill and patience to do it (I think I'm doing it wrong)). Apart from a soldering iron, I do not own any electronics equipment like multimeters. I do understand most of the concepts, but I do not have any hands-on experience, that's all. And this is what makes me "afraid" of buying the unassembled kit. However, I would really like to and I am willing to learn.

I was wondering whether the kit has a good guide coming with it, or whether I'm expected to know how to assemble it by myself. Additionally, is there any other electronics equipment that I need to assemble a replica 1? I keep hearing multimeters being mentioned here and there (I've used them in physics class but that's it). If you think the replica 1 is too advanced for me, perhaps I should start with a simpler kit before moving on to the replica 1?

From the software perspective however I think I'm good to go. I'm pretty good in x86 assembly, and I think that I can pick up 6502 pretty easily with its RISC-ness and stuff
9a3eedi
 
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Joined: Oct Wed 13, 2010 6:44 pm

Re: Total hardware newbie

Postby brianvacha » Oct Wed 13, 2010 9:44 pm

:D Welcome to the group. I think Vince would still stand by what he said a few years ago.

"To show my dedication to you getting your replica 1 working:

If you can not get it running I will look at it for you if you want to send it in. All I ask is that you cover return shipping charges. I really want every replica kit to run and this is the best way to do it. Before you just send in your kit, contact me first to see if sending it in is necessary. Hopefully this forum will help others who build kits to troubleshoot with more ease.

Vince"

But I think it is much more fun and rewarding to fix it yourself with the help of others and it sounds like you have enough experience to build one of Vince's kits. He does a good job with the documentation. Here are some documents if you want to take a look. http://www.brielcomputers.com/wordpress/?cat=13

As far as soldering goes better to under do it than over. sitting on a trace or pad to long will lift it off the board. The board and wires have to be clean and shinny. Maybe just a little flux to help wet and clean the components. The iron has to touch both parts to get them warm, a tiny bit of solder on the iron and wipe off excess helps transfer the heat. Even if the solder only sticks to one part back off and figure out what is wrong. Once you have a little solder on both parts "tinning" then you can join the two together with a little more solder. Solder wick might be a good idea to remove excess solder if you short two wrong parts together.
brianvacha
 
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Re: Total hardware newbie

Postby 9a3eedi » Oct Thu 14, 2010 7:25 pm

Oh wow, that's really nice of vince :D Salutations to him for being such an awesome guy

I'm not the kind of guy who quits over something simple (otherwise I wouldn't be a good programmer :P). I see that there's a really good amount of documentation, awesome.

So I've been reading around about soldering the proper way, and basically I need a soldering iron with a certain temperature range (in order to not damage the ICs), a certain type of solder that's used for electronics, and flux in order to prevent "oxidation", which i guess means rusting or something like that. Probably should get some solder wick because I'll probably be doing a lot of mistakes :P

Thanks for the reply! I think I'll order one now :) though I'm having a hard time justifying the price, especially when the parts are from the 70s. I hope to join the community once I got mine up and running :D
9a3eedi
 
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Joined: Oct Wed 13, 2010 6:44 pm

Re: Total hardware newbie

Postby George » Oct Fri 15, 2010 1:32 pm

Welcome to the forums!
Vince is very helpful and willing to help out any questions you have, and to justify the price, I'd say the amount of effort he puts in, alongside the quality of the kit, well justifies the price!

I used 60/40 rosin core solder, and a rather basic soldering iron (not sure what wattage it was, but most will do for PCB soldering)

Buy a cheap breadboard and a few resistors, and practice your soldering before moving onto the kit, the general practice with printed circuit board soldering is (don't hold me to this, it's probably wrong)

Tin your soldering iron (melt a small piece of solder to the tip and wipe it with a damp sponge to get a film of solder over the tip for good heat insulation
Place your component in the correct place, bend the leads so it stays in place, then heat the contact pads with your soldering gun for a few seconds, then gently run the solder into the component lead so just enough gets around the lead, then remove both the iron and the solder, it should be a shiny cone, if its dull or not going on very well, its not hot enough!

sorry about the rushed how to guide, a bit tired but I was in the same posistion as you so I felt inclined to help out
George
 
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Re: Total hardware newbie

Postby 9a3eedi » Oct Fri 15, 2010 6:17 pm

Thanks for the guide. That howto guide is pretty much what I was wanting to know, thanks! The way I used to do it is that I'd melt the solder on the tip of the soldering iron and then make the liquidified solder touch the contact, and hope to god that it sticks properly :P I see where I did wrong now.

I think I'll do like what you suggested, thanks!
9a3eedi
 
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Re: Total hardware newbie

Postby George » Oct Sat 16, 2010 4:35 pm

No problem, just remember heat transfer is the key, solder wont stick to something cold! Heat the contact pad, keep the soldering iron in place, and feed the solder through the other side of the lead (soldering iron on one side of the lead, solder on the other)

Careful not to feed too much solder too, as usually it splashes off and ends up inside another hole, shorting a connection. It happened to my kit, fortunately it landed in one of the ASCII keyboard slots, and I don't have one of those so it's all good!

Let us know how your build goes!
George
 
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