Design and Technology
My Own Personal Yellow Brick Road
Soldering and Fault Finding

OK time to put some components onto my board to see if I’ve got this right so far.

The soldering was quite easy, some of my GCSE knowledge came drifting back up from where it was buried in my brain plus a couple of the guy’s here have worked as electrical engineers (thanks Steve!)


  • Make sure that you heat up the lead and the track before touching the solder to the iron, this helps the solder flow to both. (you can see this in the photo to the right)
  • ‘Wet’ the end of the iron first by touching the solder lightly to the tip of the iron so just a little adheres to the end.

Right now I’ve finished soldering my components (note that I did not have a terminal block so my battery leads are just soldered straight to the board) I need to see if it will work. First thing I need to do is to perform a visual inspection, this is crucial as a bad/crossed connection can cause your battery to blow up! Here’s the procedure I followed to make sure there were no unexpected bangs:


Looking for:

Soldering errors

Board errors

Component errors


1)      Ensure all pins are soldered

2)      Are there any solder bridges? (too much solder flowing over to another contact)

3)      Are there any dry joints? (where the solder is not joined to the track and the lead)

4)      Looking for continuity of copper tracks and bridges (checking the mask, was it exposed properly?, was it too long in the solution?)

5)      Are the holes drilled in the right place? (not breaking the tracks)

6)      Are the leads trimmed properly? (don’t bend leads at right angles when soldering!)

7)      Has the board been produced with the artwork the right way round?!?


1)      Check the values and placement of components

2)      General condition of components (no cracks, corrosion etc.)

3)      Are the polarised components in the right way round? (anodes and cathodes)

4)      Is anything loose? (links to solder inspection on the back)

Right now I can be as sure as I can be that nothing untoward will happen when I connect up my circuit to the battery pack, here goes…


1)      Is anything heating up? (Be careful!)

2)      Does it smell of burning?

Well I still have all my fingers and both eyebrows are intact, now all I need to do is to plug it into a computer and try to programme it.

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