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Nickname:?Clive Maxfield???? Articles(444)???? Visits(532915)???? Comments(79)???? Votes(236)???? RSS
There is so much amazingly cool "stuff" to see and do that I'm amazed I find the time to get any real work done. In my blog I will waffle on about the books I'm reading, the projects I'm building, and the weird and wonderful websites I blunder across. Please Email Me if you see anything you think will "tickle my fancy."
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Posted: 11:16:04 AM, 07/09/2013

Electronics engineers who cannot solder? Really?

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I am sad and troubled. I am revolted and appalled. In short, I am flabbergasted (I think it fair to say that rarely has my "flabber" been quite so "gasted"). And what is the reason for my current state of discombobulation? Well, I'm glad you asked...


A few days ago, my chum Adam Taylor said something like: "Max, you'd be surprised how many new electronics engineers don't know how to solder." Well, I must admit that I really didn't give much credence to this statement, and I sort of shrugged it off at the time, but now I'm starting to wonder...


The thing is that I just observed a young engineer making the most appalling botch-up of a very simple soldering task. Once I'd fought my way through the smoke, I was staggered to discover what he'd been doingthe board was burned, the excessive heat was causing traces to pull away, a bunch of pins were shorted together, and the component in question had gone to meet its maker. The sight of that poor board brought tears to my eyes (or maybe it was all the smoke and solder fumes).


What do they teach electronics students at college these days? Isn't soldering one of the core skills one is expected to know? In my daywhen dinosaurs roamed the Earthall the students on my university course already knew how to solder before they'd even set foot on the campus (I don't know about the others, but I taught myself by reading hobbyist magazines like Practical Electronics).


On the bright side, I am heartened to see that companies like SparkFun actually offer hands-on classes in soldering. Also, I just heard from my old friend, Alan Winstanley, who is the online editor for the electronics hobbyist magazine EPE (EPEmag.com). Way back in the mists of time, Alan created an incredibly useful online soldering (and de-soldering) guide featuring oodles of high-quality, close-up photographs.


The great news is that Alan has just published a new e-book, which he describes as: "A much expanded and updated version of my original online work, with 80 all-new colour photos showing everything a trainee or hobbyist needs to know to get started in electronics soldering." Alan kindly send me low-resolution versions of two of these images:

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I just bounced over to Amazon to take a peek at the Kindle edition of Alan's Magnum Opus, which he's modestly dubbed "The Basic Soldering Guide." In addition to teaching you how to solder and de-solder, this tome also explains the correct choice of soldering irons, solder, fluxes, and various tools.


I think it's safe to say that I know at least one young engineer to whom I shall be recommending this little beauty.


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Views(2730) Comments(4)
Total [15] users voted ????
[Last update: 11:20:56 AM, 07/09/2013]

Visitor:

liuyanhua 02:14:33 PM, 08/11/2013
Comment:

Max, you'd be surprised how many new electronics engineers don't know how to solder." Well, I must admit that I really didn't give much credence to this statement, and I sort of shrugged it off at the time, but now I'm starting to wonder...

?

Huaqiang?PCB?offers?onlinePrice?Calculator?for?you?having?a?rough?idea?on?the?cost?of?your?PCB?project?quickly.?

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Visitor:

Gigabob 12:57:08 PM, 14/09/2013
Comment:

Max,


You've cut to the heart of the failure of this generation of engineers to master the touchstones of our profession.??Virtually none of the newbys know what to do with a ?sliderule - insisting on?computerized simulation tools, mathematics and?obscure computer code.? Not a one seems to know how to hook up circuits, handle them properly?or develop a breadboard using discrete circuit elements.? Instead they just want to go direct to VLSI blocks and link them until they get the gate structure they need.? Alas, this is probably why we have so few really expert analog engineers.?

Reminds me of a recent trip to the?hospital.? After quizzing the?interns I was aghast to find out none had a clue as to how to properly apply a leech.

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Visitor:

Visitor 11:38:21 AM, 14/09/2013
Comment:

Hold your breath- In India we have electronics engineers who can't design - so much so for the IT revolution, unable to solder looks godly!

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Visitor:

Visitor 10:54:52 AM, 14/09/2013
Comment: And I'll bet they can't even work a slide rule. Instead they are skookum in SPICE and other circuit simulation tools plus the attendant software design that has changed the foundation of what it means to be an electrical engineer. Oddly, I would seek out an artist for great soldering skills.
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