There are two basic strategies in teaching:
- Teach and show how things should be done.
- Teach and show how things should NOT be done.
I usually do the first method. But there is a lot of value in the second method too!
When I asked all student groups to solder the headers on the Freescale FRDM-KL25Z board, I received one report that the board does not work any more. A quick inspection of the board showed this:
Wow! Well, I did not plan to use didactic method number two for that teaching material, and I did not plan to teach how to use the soldering iron with solder. But this was enough for me to reconsider my strategy:
Not everyone is mastering the soldering iron, and there is first time for everyone. But this piece actually was fascinating. Some details are a special piece of amazing art:
Solder formed balls around the pins, and in some cases even not touching the pads, creating nice connections with other balls: I think if I would want to create something like this, I would not be able to do so:
Outcome: That team received a new board :-). In return I asked that I can keep their original masterpiece for my didactics collection under number 2.
They received a big smile, and introduction and hands-on about how to solder the pins correctly:
- Heat up the pin/pad for about one second with the soldering iron.
- Quickly apply solder.
- Keep heating while removing the solder wire.
- And then remove the iron.
Now that board looked technically correct and functional, but somewhat boring ;-).
I have learned something too: do not assume that every engineer knows how to solder pins. And that the number of engineers who *know* how to solder just has increased the other day :-).
Happy Soldering 🙂