VOGONS


First post, by digger

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Hi everyone,

I already did a search for it here on Vogons, and I was thinking about bumping up other existing topics about beginner's anxiety and struggles with soldering in general, but decided this was a more specific topic deserving of its own thread.

Can any of you maybe recommend any good workshops for people who wish to gain more experience with soldering, tailored towards hobby electronics, including retro computer hardware tinkering? I'm looking for such events, workshops and courses in the Netherlands, preferably in the Metropolitan Region of Amsterdam (MRA). However, I'm willing to travel a bit further within the country if's a high quality and fun workshop. It's also important for it to have a fun vibe and atmosphere, with friendly and knowledgeable people willing to help others hone their skills. 🙂

I was already considering joining a hackerspace or makerspace in or near Amsterdam, and any such spaces that offer such workshops regularly would also be good options to me.

A quick search on-line yielded this one by BeQwaam, but maybe some of you have other suggestions?

It could also be a repair café that where people would be assisted in their hardware repairs rather than having it done for them by experienced people.

Some background about my experience level: I studied computer electronics at a bachelor level for 2 years, but didn't finish it and switched to a software engineering major at another college instead.

I have done some soldering stuff more than once, but not regularly enough to be comfortable with it.

I even already bought a Pinecil from Pine64, including a power station for it, as well as a silicone soldering mat, with the intent to do some more tinkering. But I don't feel comfortable enough working on some retro hardware with my current level of experience and skill. I'd prefer to work on that more, but alone at home it's hard to get myself to take the hurdle.

So I was thinking that attending a workshop with others, and learning the intricacies of picking the right bits, setting the right temperature, how to hold the iron, applying flux, replacing caps, that's the sort of thing that I'd like to become more skilled and more comfortable with. I'm sure the positive peer pressure will help, as well as the ability to get immediate feedback, being able to ask questions, getting advice on purchasing the right equipment for my home work area, etc.

Anybody have any suggestions? I would really appreciate it. (Suggestions for other forums to post this question in are also welcome! I'll probably ask for this in the VCFED forum as well.)

Thanks! 😃

Reply 1 of 8, by dominusprog

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YIHUA 8786D

https://nl.aliexpress.com/item/1995827068.htm … 7Cquery_from%3A

GORDAK 952

https://nl.aliexpress.com/item/32983349126.ht … ayAdapt=glo2nld

Duke_2600.png
A-Trend ATC-1020 V1.1 ❇ Cyrix 6x86 150+ @ 120MHz ❇ 32MiB EDO RAM (8MiBx4) ❇ A-Trend S3 Trio64V2 2MiB
Aztech Pro16 II-3D PnP ❇ 8.4GiB Quantum Fireball ❇ Win95 OSR2 Plus!

Reply 2 of 8, by digger

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Thanks for the equipment suggestions, @dominusprog, but I meant "workshops" as in: events, such as live courses, etc. Let me first try to gain some proper soldering experience before I decide (whether) to upgrade my kit 😅

Reply 3 of 8, by rasz_pl

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dominusprog wrote on 2024-06-03, 16:32:

YIHUA 8786D
GORDAK 952

this was ok ~10 years ago if you were on extreme budget. Both garbage soldering irons, marginal hotairs. Much better choices available today.

For places I think you cant go wrong with repaircafe seeing it was founded in the NL https://www.repaircafe.org/en/foundation/

Open Source AT&T Globalyst/NCR/FIC 486-GAC-2 proprietary Cache Module reproduction

Reply 4 of 8, by stamasd

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Aww I was in Amsterdam last August on vacation, I could have taken a day or two to teach you. 😀 Unfortunately, no plans to go back anytime soon.

I/O, I/O,
It's off to disk I go,
With a bit and a byte
And a read and a write,
I/O, I/O

Reply 5 of 8, by dionb

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Well, there's this:
https://openbarewerkplaats.nl/shop/niet-gecat … aten-repareren/

Aimed at beginning Repair Cafe people, two-day course on electrical safety and then fixing stuff. However I suspect the subjects are more likely to be rice cookers with blown thermal fuses than old PCs. So not sure if this is what you're looking for.

In fact, if you find a good one, I'd be interested to join in too.

Reply 6 of 8, by smtkr

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See attached. You just need to get something that you don't care about at all and experiment (either buy a kit like I attached, or find some old junk to work on). You don't need someone looking over your shoulder. You just need a well ventilated workspace.

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Reply 7 of 8, by digger

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dionb wrote on 2024-06-03, 22:33:
Well, there's this: https://openbarewerkplaats.nl/shop/niet-gecat … aten-repareren/ […]
Show full quote

Well, there's this:
https://openbarewerkplaats.nl/shop/niet-gecat … aten-repareren/

Aimed at beginning Repair Cafe people, two-day course on electrical safety and then fixing stuff. However I suspect the subjects are more likely to be rice cookers with blown thermal fuses than old PCs. So not sure if this is what you're looking for.

In fact, if you find a good one, I'd be interested to join in too.

Thanks for the suggestion. Maybe we should just organize one, @dionb. There might be many more people in the region who would be interested. 😃

Reply 8 of 8, by Deunan

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digger wrote on 2024-06-03, 14:40:

Can any of you maybe recommend any good workshops for people who wish to gain more experience with soldering, tailored towards hobby electronics, including retro computer hardware tinkering?

Consider YT videos. Some are great, some not so much, but it's free and you can pick a teacher and lesson times as you wish.
Please note that electronics is a rather broad subject. You did not specify what you want out of it, exactly, so that's a bit like saying "I want to repair cars". Well, which ones? The old classics where everything is custom and weird by today standards? Carbureted engines? Early diesel (and half-diesel) injection systems? '80-'90 fuel injection? Modern CAN based ICUs? Electric cars? Etc.

With electronics there is "old" era, tubes mostly. Then early transistors up to '80 digital stuff is printed circuit boards and through-hole components. After that you get SMD and eventually BGA packages and parts way too small to grab with fingers. You can try to learn it all but not at once, it won't work that way. Also building electronic kits is much easier than reworking, say, 8-bit computers where the old PCBs will not forgive any mistakes like too high soldering tip temperature or too much mechanical pressure. It's rather unlikely you will find someone willing to teach you these tricks of repair trade unless you already are pretty good with soldering iron. Simply because it would be a waste of theirs and your time, to try and jump into such deep waters from the start.

My advice would be to buy some decent but not expensive soldering iron / station, consider that you might end up damaging it somehow, accidents happen. Then look for electronic kits for self-assembly, find some stuff that is interesting even if for just few hours. Try to solder that and make it work. Keep doing it and you will get better eventually. Don't throw away stuff that got broken in the process, try to repair it yourself or leave it for later. Even unsuccessful repair attempts of your own mistakes (which might take hours and be very frustrating) will teach you a lot. In fact these will teach you the most.