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MWagner_MA
MWagner_MA
3/27/2019 9:24:25 AM
User Rank
Teacher
hand soldering...oh yeah! We still need it!
Bill I have to assume you were just "baiting" us EE's with this article :-)  Yes, hand soldering is still needed in the professional realm.  If you are building prototypes (like I am now for an intrinsic safety product), and using TO-220 pkgs, yes.  Pkgs like this take up less board space than the equivalent SMT device with its requisite copper area.  I agree some processor projects are too small a pitch to hand solder, but for power devices, we'll need it for the forseeable future, especially for small batch prototypes.

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Bill_Jaffa
Bill_Jaffa
3/27/2019 11:37:58 AM
User Rank
Blogger
Re: hand soldering...oh yeah! We still need it!
No, I am NOT baiting--and yes yo do have a point. But I have met a surprising number of circuit EEs (not software types) in the last few years who have never soldered (or have done it once or twice, were not sure what they were doing, but "it worked" so they moved ahead) --and they are gainfully employed. That's why I raised the question, I suspect only a modest subset of EEs (mostly powe & analog) do soldering anymore as part of the job, or they call a "tech" in to do it!

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MWagner_MA
MWagner_MA
3/27/2019 11:48:13 AM
User Rank
Teacher
Re: hand soldering...oh yeah! We still need it!
The problem you will see is there will likely not be "Tech's" any more as they are not respected nor paid well.  I started out as a "tech" and a good friend is one and struggling as the industry doesn't think what they do requires skills.  Its ok if everyone goes "hands off" the hardware.  It will insure I have a job until retirement :-).  Thanks for the article - get's people thinking.

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raj_at_anasim_dot_com
raj_at_anasim_dot_com
3/27/2019 11:58:01 AM
User Rank
Newbie
Re: hand soldering...oh yeah! We still need it!
A parallel to what you ask, @Bill_Jaffa, can be the question: "Is handwriting skill important, anymore, in these days of omnipresent printed documents?" The initial two days of my first industrial job as an electronics line supervisor were spent - wholly - on soldering and desoldering all sorts of electrical interconnections. Thin traces, thick traces, through-holes, pads, connectors, wires, ...I learnt enough to be able to communicate sensibly with the more experienced (and skilled, likely) line personnel. The fine motor control, the details of the process, the quality of a good handmade electrical joint, the artistic skill...I think there's so much one gains from doing this specific activity that could reflect on one's whole work philosophy. Just as one applies Graphology (the science of handwriting analysis) to evaluate someone's psychological makeup, I'd go so far as to judge any electrical engineer, in part, by his or her ability to make a good electrical joint! :-) 

 

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MelBrandle
MelBrandle
4/18/2019 1:05:03 AM
User Rank
Newbie
Indeed needed
I think it is indeed still necessary if we wish to create a flawless setup. We know that soldering somehow binds 2 ends together strongly so your setup becomes more durable. It is a simple yet very practical way to make our products last much longer.

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DaveR1234
DaveR1234
3/27/2019 10:00:42 AM
User Rank
Newbie
Agree
Absolutely hand soldering is still needed.  In fact I just ran into a most unusual problem.  I had a Kitchen Aid food mixer that didn't work.  I found it had a failed MOV (blown to smithereens) on the PCB and assumed there was a voltage transient so I replaced the TO220 Triac.  Further debugging discovered the 5 volt supply for the uP was 0 volts, so I spent many hours tracing out the circuit to hopefully find the failed component(s).  I never did figure out how the 5 volts was derived (anyone with a clue, please post a schematic and explanation), but discovered that there was no continuity between the leaded switch and the PCB traces it was soldered to.  The solder fillets looked OK, but I thought I'd reflow them to be sure.  Still no continuity.  I had to scrape away the solder mask around each pad so I could get a connection between the switch lead and the copper trace.  Apparently the transient fractured a ring around the existing solder pad resulting in the open circuit.  I guess if you live long enough you see everything.  To see the PCB go to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxA6qSOXgXI

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