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FX-Sabers Discussion - Including a Gallery of custom sabers. => LED SABERS => Topic started by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on November 24, 2011, 03:51:01 PM

Title: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on November 24, 2011, 03:51:01 PM
Okay, so ive been building for over two years, seriously for one year, and I wanted to share some things I have learned that may not be so obvious to everyone.  I know most of them were not obvious to me when I started, and they caused mistakes to occur that could have been prevented.



#1: Do not try to solder a pad that is smaller than your iron tip.  Yes, this means do not try to use the corner of your chisel tip. 

#2: Do not solder with an SD card in the board (if applicable)

#3: Do not just close up the saber, cross your fingers, and pull the killkey.  You should review your wiring multiple times prior to closing up the saber.   

addon from Jango- Use a benchtop power supply to test all wiring setups. 

#4: Do not try to "just shove it in there."  It doesn't work.  Trust me. 

#5: Do not make the wires long enough to solder everything in place outside of the hilt and then slide it in.  This is called spaghetti wiring and is a big no-no.  There are exceptions to this rule, but if it can be avoided, you shouldn't do it. 

#6: Do not plan your first saber to be some fancy pants, full bargraph, FoC™, 18650 pack, rumble motor, 2W speaker, crystal chamber, pommel leds, and everything else in the same saber.  It will not work.  Sure, when you have a few sabers under your belt you can do it, but do not plan it for your first one. 

#7: Do not ever take the easy way out.  If a connection that you can reach with your solering iron without disassembling the whole hilt comes lose, you better take the whole saber apart instead of trying to reach it with your iron.  If you don't, you will touch something you shouldn't have and break it. 

#8: Always use heatshrink.  Everywhere there is an exposed lead, you need heatshrink on it.  This excludes connections that are directly on the board.  this means recharge ports, AV switches, bargraphs, accent leds, everything. 

#9: If you break a part that you can't get anywhere local, do not try to replace it with something you can get locally.  Order the part you need and wait for it.

#10: When wiring up high end soundboards, don't go to radioshack and buy wire and heatshrink.  They have wire that is much too fat and heatshrink that is awful.  Buy from tcss or plecterlabs (best bet for plecterlabs boards, erv's wire is awesome).

#11: If you get frustrated at any point in time during the build, get up and go for a walk.  Don't keep going, as you will be much more likely to break something. 

#12: Don't assume because you have soldered before or have experience with little things like this, that you will have no problem and no matter what you do, the saber will turn out right.

#13: Do spend hours and hours planning your designs before you even think about ordering parts.  I mean calculate resistors, figure out battery size, recharge port placement, belt clip, everything. 

#14: Do not work on sabers if you are feeling
 
         Hungry
         Angry
         Lonely
         Tired

These things make you more prone to making mistakes. 

#15: When you do have to ask for help, be sure you don't take the first opinion you hear as law.  Wait until a few people respond and you hear what they all have to say. 

#16: If you listen to nothing else I have said, DO NOT try to make your own Crystal Focus saber as your first build.  I know it can seem like a waste to make a bunch of other sabers that you will never use just to learn the skills necessary to make a CF saber, but trust me, you will wish you did if you don't. 

#17: Always post pictures of your soldering on the forum.  I don't care if you are embarassed, if you don't post the pics of your soldering, then don't come crying when you have issues. 

#18: Never have more than 1/8" of wire exposed when soldering to a soundboard.  An Led might need a bit more, but not much. 

#19: Always have some way that your electronics can be held firmly into the hilt, and yet insulated from the metal wall at the same time.  if you just wire it up and put it in the tube freely, you are bound to have problems. 

#20. Thou shalt not rush a saber installation thinking thou shall finish within a few hours, or by midnight, or whatever. -FJK Roll Eyes

#21. Thou shall heed the worldly advise of the Saber smiths and elder saber builders of the community... save your sanity it shall.  -FJK Cheesy

On a slightly related subject...

#22. Thou shalt not issue advice to others (no matter how well intentioned) unless you for sure knoweth of the subject of which you are speaking on.  Wink -FJK

$23: Invest in good tools. A good soldering station, and using the right solder, wire, etc. will make a huge difference in the quality of your build, especially if you plan to make more than one saber!  Wink -FJK

#24. Read tutorials on here and TCSS. Then read some more. Dave316


#25. When posting a video of your saber build on youtube, if your crotch comes into view it's time to reshoot the video. (even though this is clearly a shot at me, I'll post it.  I actually agree with this, and never noticed it on my videos until someone said something).  -Jango

#26; Never Never NEVER settle for a less than perfect solder joint of connection. Our soldering will never be as good as a machine, but if you are in any way not satisfied with your joint, or see it could be stronger... Resolder it. You will have to sooner or later. Better on your bench then rather than having to take all the guts out again.  -Sollus Vir

#27; A Clean iron is key to easy wiring. Take care of your iron and it will take care of you.  -Sollus Vir

#28 If Erv' tells you to use a resistor : Use a resistor -Erv'

#29 Many answers are based on It depends™ and you should accept it -Erv'

#30 - If you don't have a PSU as mentioned in #3 - go get one STAT! -Skottsaber

#31 - If you are testing a circuit/LED/whatever and it seems to magically fade out and turn off in a number of seconds, make sure you charged those batteries, and review the addition to #3. -Skottsaber

#32 - Don't be afraid to post pictures of your wiring fearing retribution. It helps MAJORLY in diagnosis of problems. -Skottsaber

#33 - Learn to take constructive criticism if necessary. Learn from it and... -Skottsaber

#34 - If you learned something in your experience building, pass on your knowledge. -Skottsaber

#35: Always have copper desoldering braid (not from radioshack) on hand

#36: Always insulate your Led from your heatsink

#36: Make sure if you are using quick connectors, you label them properly so you don't get them mixed up.  I have heard of several cases of this in the past.

#37: Always have tweezers with tips that are smaller than your smallest solder joint available. 

#38: When working with high end soundboards (Crystal Focus™, Petit Crouton™, Igniter™. etc.) read the manual 5 times cover to cover.  No, really, 5 times word for word.  You should basically know the config files by heart by the time you even start pre-tinning the board. 

#39: Be sure you have good wire strippers.  They are essential, and if you can't find small enough wire strippers for your 28 gauge wire that you bought (because you read this list), they make automatic wire stippers that work with any size that we would ever work with. 

#40: Have a place you can go to work on these sabers.  If necessary, go buy a work surface to put on the kitchen table when working on sabers.  I am banished to the garage (with a nice workbench that I modified with powerstrip, overhead light, and benchtop vice) and it gets cold in the winter and hot in the summer.  If you are outside in the heat, be sure you have a rag to wipe the sweat off of your face when you work. 

#41: If you have to stop in mid-build, write down what you were doing and turn off your hot glue gun and soldering iron.  Even if there is no possible way they could damage anything or start a fire, sometimes when you walk away, you don't come back.  Then you will wake up the next morning to find the soldering iron still turned on. 

#42: use really small solder (.015 is what I use).  Also use silver-bearing solder if possible.  Its the best solder I have found. -MH

#43: to add to the non Radioshack solder wick...Chem-WiK (rosin sd) is a really good wick to use. -MH

#44: DO NOT turn your iron too hot. -MH

#45: Always use a ESD safe Iron -MH

#46. Use a mechanical solution vs a glue solution when ever possible. Using SOME glue is unavoidable in most builds. BUT from a saber maintenance POV, and sabers need maintenance, try to keep it to a minimum. Double sided auto trim tape is much more versatile and cleaner in appearance. -Jango

#47: When building sabers, you are going to screw up at some point.  It is inevitable.  When you do screw up, turn off your iron, glue gun, and put down the saber and walk away.  You aren't going to help anything by trying to keep going.  There will be another day, and you will have plenty of time to finish your saber after you take a day to cool off. 

#48

When soldering ledengins, you must have lots of patience.  personally, it takes me no less than 45 seconds to do 1 joint on an ledengin from room temperature.  Most people would say that number is pretty high, but I don't turn my iron up that much.  The key is to heat the underside of the pcb star with your iron for a bit (I've heard 10 seconds thrown around, but that's never enough for me) before you start to solder the pads.  If your iron sticks to the solder on the ledengin, you didn't heat up the bottom of the pcb star enough.

#49

Don't ever, ever, ever try to solder an ledengin while it is on the heatsink.  This is true with any led, but especially with the ledengins.  you will not get a proper solder joint that way period. 


#50: If you're testing an LED, don't test it OFF the heatsink if you're using its full forward voltage. Quick way to burn out the LED (So many have done this before).- phoenixjedi

51: Use a proper heatsink (generally made out of a block of aluminum or copper) to radiate the heat away from the LED.

52: Fasten the heatsink to the LED properly using thermal goop (the same type usable on computers), or thermal tape. Hot Glue is NOT proper, and will cause problems. The accepted methods for fastening down the LED are a screw-in device and nylon screws.

53: Use a focusing device made for the LEDs (IE Lens and Lens Holder.), not a reflector that needs to be glued down to the LED

54: Use a proper material for the LED assembly. A piece of blade for an LED Holder will not allow heat to conduct to the outer part of the hilt, and will cause early failure.

55: Do not use an underwattage resistor just to save costs. You are asking for failure.

56: Screw in your switches!

57: If you have a battery pack that is too thin for the hilt, wrap it in bubble wrap so that it doesn't rattle and shatter.

58: TOO MUCH extra wiring slack is bad. You want just enough to pull the battery pack out, and possibly the soundboard for SD Changes or anything on a quick connector.

59: Don't underestimate the power of a dying battery pack.  You can get some pretty weird behavior when the CF doesn't have enough power to run everything attached to it.  This goes double for a pack made of protected cells. 

60: Do yourself a favor, and test every bit of your wiring at every point in the build.  This goes double for builds that have very complex setups (crystal chambers with 1138 blinkies, a bargraph, color mixing, rice port, etc.).  Once each part is assembled, test everything again.  When you slide your chassis in place, test it.  When you put your switches in, test them.  When you put your led in, test it.  etc.  Nothing is worse than completely closing up a saber and finding that something was wrong at the very beginning of the build.  This also goes back to the necessity of a benchtop psu.  Without one, it's very annoying to have to test your wiring at every step, and I'd even argue dangerous.  Your battery pack is always live, but your benchtop psu only turns on when you tell it to.  Even a pack that has a charge port and killkey still has charged cells, and it only takes a loose wire to touch an exposed part on that charge port for .1138 seconds to fry a board. 

61: Don't attempt to braid your wiring if you have a super complex build and your board won't be wired in its final resting place.  I just finished a blaster where I braided all 25 wires and found it was very difficult to seat the board back into the gun.  The wires looked neat outside of the gun, but they had no give after they were all braided tightly in place. 

62: If you are really serious about buying machines to do your own work, you need to read up on machining tools for a month or two before deciding if you want to do it.  Then, don't just buy the smallest machine you find because it seems to suit your needs.  I have a 7x14" lathe and a mini mill from little machine shop.  The mill is perfect for saber building, but the lathe is just way too flimsy.  If you plan on making any full custom parts, you might as well get the 8.5" x 16.5" lathe from little machine shop.  Sure, it's 3 times as much money, but you'll make up for that in the speed at which you can machine things alone. 

63: If you do decide to buy a lathe and a mill, you had better have some way of cutting your stock (a little 9" bandsaw from lowes with a metal cutting blade will not suffice), and you had better plan on spending at least as much on tooling as you spent on each machine. 

64: This ties in with probably another one or two, but don't ever come home from a bad day at school or work and immediately start working on sabers while you're still in a bad mood.  Additionally, especially when working on a more stressful part of a build, listen to some music while you build.  It helps keep you calm when you're trying to thread that recharge port inside of a 1.1" ID hilt, or when trying to route 8 wires through a tube that fits exactly 8. 


Hopefully things get added to this list as people comment on the thread. I will add them as they are posted.  If there had been something like this when I first started, I would have had way fewer headaches.  Just trying to pass on what I have learned to the newbies.  I'm not trying to say that I do it perfectly (far from it), or that all of these things have even happened to me (again, far from it) but I do know all of the things I have posted are things that could wind up screwing up your saber in one way or another. If you have something to add, post it so I can add it to the list. 

Thanks for reading

Alex
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: Forgetful Jedi Knight on November 24, 2011, 04:02:28 PM
Also...

20. Thou shalt not rush a saber installation thinking thou shall finish within a few hours, or by midnight, or whatever.  ::)

21. Thou shall heed the worldly advise of the Saber smiths and elder saber builders of the community... save your sanity it shall.  :D

On a slightly related subject...

22. Thou shalt not issue advice to others (no matter how well intentioned) unless you for sure knoweth of the subject of which you are speaking on.  ;)
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: cannibal869 on November 24, 2011, 04:05:53 PM
21. Thou shall heed the worldly advise of the Saber smiths and elder saber builders of the community... save your sanity it shall.

QFT!!!

Good post Alex (maybe even worthy of being a sticky?!??  ;) :D ;D )
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on November 24, 2011, 04:08:20 PM
FJK, that last one has nothing to do with wiring up sabers.  this isn't a "don't follow my path" thread.  It is a help thread to newbies.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: Forgetful Jedi Knight on November 24, 2011, 04:10:56 PM
And I'm helping them.... trust me.  ;)
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on November 24, 2011, 04:12:11 PM
Alright.  Fair enough.  I should know better than to question you by now. :D
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: C-3P0 on November 24, 2011, 04:23:48 PM
Excellent thread Alex. Very helpful for someone like me that needs this kind of advice :) thanks mate.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: Forgetful Jedi Knight on November 24, 2011, 04:28:13 PM
23.  Invest in good tools. A good soldering station, and using the right solder, wire, etc. will make a huge difference in the quality of your build, especially if you plan to make more than one saber!  ;)

NOTE: This is not a cheap hobby, not by any stretch. The difference between quality and the rest is the craftsmanship, tools, time and effort spent in experimenting, etc.  :D

Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: C-3P0 on November 24, 2011, 04:40:55 PM
24. Read tutorials on here and TCSS. Then read some more.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: vulcan fox on November 24, 2011, 04:42:40 PM
this could end up being a very useful thread for many people,starting with ME ,alot of this im following out of common sense but not all , a couple have certainly made me stop and think,... heres one i have lived my life with ... under NO circumstances be to proud to ASK for help., especially when working with high end sound boards. :)
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: JANGO FETT on November 24, 2011, 04:43:21 PM
Some good advice listed above.
Add on to #3. Use a benchtop power supply to test wiring, prior to hooking up battery pack
There are exceptions to #5. Alliance sabers come to mind.

25. When posting a video of your saber build on youtube, if your crotch comes into view it's time to reshoot the video.

/I know. I know
(https://judgesabersmith.com/Smileys/default/th_DeadHorse.gif)
 :D
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: Onli-Won Kanomi on November 24, 2011, 06:43:05 PM

There are exceptions to #5. Alliance sabers come to mind.


Oh yeah!!!
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: COUNT DOOKU on November 24, 2011, 08:40:03 PM
Good List.

#26; Never Never NEVER settle for a less than perfect solder joint of connection. Our soldering will never be as good as a machine, but if you are in any way not satisfied with your joint, or see it could be stronger... Resolder it. You will have to sooner or later. Better on your bench then rather than having to take all the guts out again.

#27; A Clean iron is key to easy wiring. Take care of your iron and it will take care of you.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: erv on November 24, 2011, 09:44:32 PM

#28 If Erv' tells you to use a resistor : Use a resistor

#29 Many answers are based on It depends™ and you should accept it

 :)
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: Skottsaber on November 25, 2011, 12:38:35 AM
#30 - If you don't have a PSU as mentioned in #3 - go get one STAT!

#31 - If you are testing a circuit/LED/whatever and it seems to magically fade out and turn off in a number of seconds, make sure you charged those batteries, and review the addition to #3.

#32 - Don't be afraid to post pictures of your wiring fearing retribution. It helps MAJORLY in diagnosis of problems.

#33 - Learn to take constructive criticism if necessary. Learn from it and...

#34 - If you learned something in your experience building, pass on your knowledge.

(Also an unnumbered one, in the style of FJK. #00 - Thou shalt not take away mine leaded solder!!  >:( )
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on November 25, 2011, 05:49:04 AM
keep them coming guys.  Great tips so far.  Any recommendations for benchtop PSU's?  It would be nice to put a link for people who are looking at this thread, and I still have not gotten one myself (I know, I know). 

Original post updated and added to.  I had a few more that I just can't remember at the moment. 
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: LUKE SKYWALKER on November 25, 2011, 08:29:02 AM
# 42 write down your ideas about internal and external setup or make some sketch drawing before you start your project!
# 43 always use the right tools! ( dremel, soldering iron/station, players etc )
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: CHEWBACCA on November 25, 2011, 09:45:35 AM
forget all that is posted above and go in guns a blazin'.

Oh wait these were supposed to be helpful hints not things to drum up business to people that repair things  ;D


use really small solder (.015 is what I use).  Also use silver-bearing solder if possible.  Its the best solder I have found.

to add to the non Radioshack solder wick...Chem-WiK (rosin sd) is a really good wick to use.

DO NOT turn your iron too hot.

Always use a ESD safe Iron

my apologies if some of this is posted...I didn't read the entire list prior to posting.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on November 25, 2011, 11:42:54 AM
MH, if you could suggest a temperature that people should not go above when wiring soundboards, I will add it to the OP.  I like to keep mine around 325 (I think solder starts to melt at 280 on mine, but it really flows well at 325.  I think that number is off though because of how long and sharp the tip is though). 
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: CHEWBACCA on November 25, 2011, 12:22:27 PM
MH, if you could suggest a temperature that people should not go above when wiring soundboards, I will add it to the OP.  I like to keep mine around 325 (I think solder starts to melt at 280 on mine, but it really flows well at 325.  I think that number is off though because of how long and sharp the tip is though). 

I cant do that because as erv said "It depends™".

The irons usually have a way to adjust the temp to a true temp depending on the tip used.  I do not do that though because I do not have a way to measure the temp of the tip.  I just play with the iron until I get it where I like it (if I change tips).  I start around 340 and go from there.  On mine with the long needle tip I set it at 350.

Just figure out where solder starts to melt and then play with how it heats up the board and melts the solder and adjust it from there.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: Nero Attoru on November 29, 2011, 08:38:44 AM
Wow... what a list!  Coming from a guy who is still taking his first steps into the saberbuilding world, thank you so much for the tips.  I'm trying to work my way slowly but surely... first with an econo board from an Ultimate FX saber, next with a Force FX board.  One day I may be enough of a champ to start working with the really awesome electronics ;)
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: Artorius Vidnyl on November 29, 2011, 10:46:35 AM
Holy crud.  That is one heck of a good list.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on November 29, 2011, 10:50:56 AM
I tried to put as much stuff that either caused me problems, or could have caused me problems in the OP, then when everyone else added to it, it got so much better. 
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: JANGO FETT on December 05, 2011, 06:20:41 AM
46. Use a mechanical solution vs a glue solution when ever possible. Using SOME glue is unavoidable in most builds. BUT from a saber maintenance POV, and sabers need maintenance, try to keep it to a minimum. Double sided auto trim tape is much more versatile and cleaner in appearance.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on December 05, 2011, 06:40:49 AM
Will said tape hold a cf to a single 18650 very well?  Jut wondering since the only reason i use glue is that i can't find a suitable solution for mounting a cf to an 18650 stick pack.  Besides pvc chassis clips that it.  I'll add that to the list when i get home from my exams in a few hours.  Just finished calc and feeling pretty good about it.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on December 06, 2011, 05:21:10 PM
updated with jango's tip and another one from me.  I always go by #47 when something doesn't go as planned.  A minor thing like forgetting heatshrink isn't what I am talking about either.  I mean something like wiring a bargraph upside down, or a speaker lead breaking at the board, etc. 
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on December 18, 2011, 05:20:29 AM
#48: just because you finally got a cf, doesn't mean you can wire it.  If you don't have the skill and the tools, don't touch that board with you iron.  Skill meams either soldering is a job or hobby of yours (small soldering like on the cf) or you have successfully build a few sabers, and one of them being a petit crouton (the best practice for a cf imo).  

#49: if you break a cf, first, get it fixed, then determine what caused the break.  If it had to do with your soldering, practice some more.  If it was your mounting, make a new chassis setup.  

#50: just because it is cheaper to build your own saber does not mean that it is the better option.   If you don't have experience and don't want to make a bunch of "practice"  sabers (more specifically practice leading up to a cf saber), then you should not make your own saber.  There are exceptions to this rule, but they are few.  If you don't have the experience, send the cf to a smith for install into an awesome saber.

#51: there are a bunch of different chassis setups, and they aren't all that hard to do.  A lot of people have been posting saying they have no idea there is a way to mount the electronics.  A few are pvc chassis setuos like madcow does, t8 flourescent light tube protector, saberworks RCS, and chassis disk and rod setuos.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: Forgetful Jedi Knight on December 18, 2011, 09:00:35 AM
#48: just because you finally got a cf, doesn't mean you can wire it.  If you don't have the skill and the tools, don't touch that board with you iron.  Skill meams either soldering is a job or hobby of yours (small soldering like on the cf) or you have successfully build a few sabers, and one of them being a petit crouton (the best practice for a cf imo).  

QFT! - It looks easy to most until you actually have to wire it up, then it's an entirely different ballgame, especially if it your first (or maybe even your second)
 
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on December 18, 2011, 10:08:20 AM
Glad you quoted that one.  I'm not targeting anyone in particular, but i've been seeing a growing number of first build logs that are cf sabers and it shouldn't be that way.  My first cf saber was my third saber and while nothing went wrong with it, i probably shoild have waited one or two more sabers. 

Also, just because you are experienced building sabers, doesn't mean you aren't goibg to break something.  I installed cfs in my sabers more than 5 times with no issues (including swaps between sabers and firmware upgrades.  I think i also sent my 5.3 board in for a volume hack), and then i was bench testing a 2w speaker and two things touched that shouldn't have been able to.  Bye bye audio circuit. 
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: Dak-Tari on January 11, 2012, 11:49:04 AM
There certainly is no teacher like experience... and I have never met anyone who learns the easy way.... everybody learns the hard way and complains that others don't do what they say!

So, for my first build I picked a doozy and I am going to see how many of the preceding rules I can break (and thus learn something) my first trip to the batter's box!


Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: Rafalema on January 13, 2012, 06:04:17 AM
"#16: If you listen to nothing else I have said, DO NOT try to make your own Crystal Focus saber as your first build."

I disagree. If you really plan it right you can do it without a problem. And just making 5 quick crappy sabers won't solve anything either, you have to just plan it right.
My first saber wasn't a CF saber, and I refit my first saber twice before I wired up my CF. That project turned out awesome, but when building it I did some big mistakes which would've been avoided by great planning.

The list is great.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ASAJJ VENTRESS on January 13, 2012, 06:15:30 AM
I think what he was saying was that you shouldn't have your first project be too complicated, and the CF certainly qualifies, as several qualified smiths have already said that a CF is very difficult.

Besides, why set yourself up for a fail?  Yes, plan things out accordingly, but plan them according to your skill level.  No black diamonds before the bunny slopes!   :D
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on January 13, 2012, 06:23:29 AM
I workat a ski resort, and we always joke about the accident reports we have to fill out.  first question is what the customer's skill level is.  second is which hill they were on.  usually they are green level going down black level hills. 

Also, it is very hard to plan a cf saber as your first, since you have no experience building and planning sabers.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: Luke S. on January 13, 2012, 07:23:12 AM
"#16: If you listen to nothing else I have said, DO NOT try to make your own Crystal Focus saber as your first build."

I disagree. If you really plan it right you can do it without a problem. And just making 5 quick crappy sabers won't solve anything either, you have to just plan it right.
My first saber wasn't a CF saber, and I refit my first saber twice before I wired up my CF. That project turned out awesome, but when building it I did some big mistakes which would've been avoided by great planning.

The list is great.

My first build ever and really first soldering was an MHS cf build.  I had one hiccup with the SD card but that was a card issue.  Once the card was swapped out it worked fine.  Proper planning, learning and practice make the difference.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on January 13, 2012, 07:29:11 AM
"#16: If you listen to nothing else I have said, DO NOT try to make your own Crystal Focus saber as your first build."

I disagree. If you really plan it right you can do it without a problem. And just making 5 quick crappy sabers won't solve anything either, you have to just plan it right.
My first saber wasn't a CF saber, and I refit my first saber twice before I wired up my CF. That project turned out awesome, but when building it I did some big mistakes which would've been avoided by great planning.

The list is great.

My first build ever and really first soldering was an MHS cf build.  I had one hiccup with the SD card but that was a card issue.  Once the card was swapped out it worked fine.  Proper planning, learning and practice make the difference.

Yeah, but which version?  4.x and below is way easier than a v5. 
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: Luke S. on January 13, 2012, 07:41:42 AM
But any CF is harder than an MR board to wire.  IMHO you cant even count an MR board as a build towards learning to build a CF saber.  An MR is already wired for you.  All you need to do is wire the switch and led.  Sure that helps you learn a little bit but it really doesn't give you much experience for a CF buiild.  No board wiring, no SD formatting. You could build 1000 MR sabers and it wouldnt give you much experience to do one CF build.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: Silver Serpent on January 13, 2012, 08:00:38 AM
I've learned several of these the easy way, and too many the hard way.  I can't say I disagree with any of them.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on January 13, 2012, 08:05:49 AM
I'm not gona sit here and argue why not to make a CF saber your first.  i just don't want anyone to say i didn't warn them. 

A petit crouton is a good alternative if nothing else.  i still would't recommend it from experience, but a PC is much easier to have fixed.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: CHEWBACCA on January 13, 2012, 09:19:22 AM
I'm not gona sit here and argue why not to make a CF saber your first.  i just don't want anyone to say i didn't warn them. 

A petit crouton is a good alternative if nothing else.  i still would't recommend it from experience, but a PC is much easier to have fixed.

I get your point and let me say that no I don't think a cf build would be good for your first time to ever use a soldering iron and such (I assume that is what you are saying) BUT if you practice soldering on spare things (you can get PCBs to practice on) then I see no reason a CF cant be your first build.  Most people will say that you should build a few sabers before jumping into a CF but I have never looked at it that way (mostly from my experience in soldering).  Really it all depends on your experience and comfort level.

I have to disagree that the PC is easier to get fixed than the CF.  The same people do repairs for both.

IMO the CF5 is not harder to do than any other CF either.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on January 13, 2012, 09:45:42 AM
I meant it in the sense that there are less parts, and they are more available if totally destroyed. 

Also, the accent pad resistor footprints on the cf5 raise the difficulty level significantly vs the 4.x and below imo.  if you don't use accent leds, sure. 
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: CHEWBACCA on January 13, 2012, 10:04:30 AM
I meant it in the sense that there are less parts, and they are more available if totally destroyed. 

but again its not a problem.  The parts are the same except for a couple of things and both people have the stock to repair all parts.  If its totally destroyed there will be no repairs anyway.

I am not arguing with you on this so don't take it that way.  I am just pointing out for the sake of people that may be worried about repairs that there is no reason to worry about repairs no matter where you are and that they can be repaired just as easily as the PC.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on January 13, 2012, 10:10:41 AM
We aren't arguing.  i know better than to argue with you.  this is a discussion.   :D  CF is repairable, take it from me  :D.  if totally destroyed, you can't just get another at tcss.  there, now i finally got my point out the way i meant it.

Same goes here, don't take this as arguing.   ;)
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: vulcan fox on January 13, 2012, 11:51:11 AM
i would agree that anyone building their FIRST saber really should use a low end board and gain much needed experience :) :) however IF you are well trained AND practised in the soldering and electronic arts,? then yes with planning you could wire up a CF.... but personally speaking although i have both a CF and an igniter i will still complete my hasbro economy project to completion, ... number 16 is VERY GOOD ADVICE. ;)
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ASAJJ VENTRESS on January 13, 2012, 11:55:41 AM
i would agree that anyone building their FIRST saber really should use a low end board and gain much needed experience :) :) however IF you are well trained AND practised in the soldering and electronic arts,? then yes with planning you could wire up a CF

and that is the best way to phrase what everyone has been saying!   :D
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: CHEWBACCA on January 13, 2012, 12:04:00 PM
We aren't arguing.  i know better than to argue with you.  this is a discussion.   :D  CF is repairable, take it from me  :D.  if totally destroyed, you can't just get another at tcss.  there, now i finally got my point out the way i meant it.

Same goes here, don't take this as arguing.   ;)

ah OK that makes sense lol.  The chances of totally destroying the board is very low though but anything is possible. 
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on January 13, 2012, 12:22:29 PM
Yeah, i was thinking along the lines of a pcb trace being lifted free by an iron that was too hot. 
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on March 05, 2012, 12:37:26 PM
#48 (I think)

When soldering ledengins, you must have lots of patience.  personally, it takes me no less than 45 seconds to do 1 joint on an ledengin from room temperature.  Most people would say that number is pretty high, but I don't turn my iron up that much.  The key is to heat the underside of the pcb star with your iron for a bit (I've heard 10 seconds thrown around, but that's never enough for me) before you start to solder the pads.  If your iron sticks to the solder on the ledengin, you didn't heat up the bottom of the pcb star enough.

#49 (might be in there already, pertains to #48 though)

Don't ever, ever, ever try to solder an ledengin while it is on the heatsink.  This is true with any led, but especially with the ledengins.  you will not get a proper solder joint that way period. 



I was having a discussion with someone who asked for some tips and as I was about to point them here, I realized these two weren't on there.  Figured better add them since they come up a lot. 

Anyone who wants to add to the ledengin one with how long it usually takes them to heat up the pcb star please feel free.  I said 45 seconds per joint for me, but I didn't mean 45 seconds on the underside of the pcb star.  I meant 45 seconds from touching the iron to the bottom of the board to the end of the pull test. 
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: PhoenixJedi on March 05, 2012, 12:57:31 PM
#50: If you're testing an LED, don't test it OFF the heatsink if you're using its full forward voltage. Quick way to burn out the LED (So many have done this before).
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on March 05, 2012, 12:58:17 PM
#50: If you're testing an LED, don't test it OFF the heatsink if you're using its full forward voltage. Quick way to burn out the LED (So many have done this before).

ooo, good one.  Added and credited.  Boy that poor lux V green.  It never even had a chance.   :'(  ah memories. 
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: PhoenixJedi on March 05, 2012, 01:29:55 PM
Lol I sent you a PM with one.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on March 05, 2012, 01:34:10 PM
I'm pretty sure I'm gonna ask someone if I can post that.  that is true 100%. 
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: PhoenixJedi on March 05, 2012, 01:40:54 PM
51: Use a proper heatsink (generally made out of a block of aluminum or copper) to radiate the heat away from the LED.
52: Fasten the heatsink to the LED properly using thermal goop (the same type usable on computers), or thermal tape. Hot Glue is NOT proper, and will cause problems. The accepted methods for fastening down the LED are a screw-in device and nylon screws.
53: Use a focusing device made for the LEDs (IE Lens and Lens Holder.), not a reflector that needs to be glued down to the LED
54: Use a proper material for the LED assembly. A piece of blade for an LED Holder will not allow heat to conduct to the outer part of the hilt, and will cause early failure.
55: Do not use an underwattage resistor just to save costs. You are asking for failure.
56: Screw in your switches!
57: If you have a battery pack that is too thin for the hilt, wrap it in bubble wrap so that it doesn't rattle and shatter.
58: TOO MUCH extra wiring slack is bad. You want just enough to pull the battery pack out, and possibly the soundboard for SD Changes or anything on a quick connector.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: RoHan Solo on April 22, 2012, 10:13:25 PM
Thank you Alex, awesome post. I shall bookmark it, read it at least 5 times through and then refer to it often before I begin making my first saber! :)
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: Concept on April 23, 2012, 02:37:58 AM
 

#14: Do not work on sabers if you are feeling
 
         Hungry
         Angry
         Lonely
         Tired


In regards to #14 possibly being amorous would also not lead to high reliability hand soldering!
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on July 02, 2012, 10:16:50 AM
bumping this for Darthvix.   ;)
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on July 16, 2012, 03:54:03 AM
#59: Don't underestimate the power of a dying battery pack.  Just this weekend I was installing a CF (well, reinstalling actually) and I got some really weird behavior.  It was something I had never seen before, so I assumed the CF was borked.  Well, I swapped CFs and got the same behavior.  Charged up my batteries overnight, and everything is fine now. 

EDIT:  Thinking about it, this goes double for a pack made of protected cells (because of the theory of it and because I haven't had stuff like this happen on a pack made of unprotected cells with a single pcb). 
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: LUMINARA UNDULI on July 16, 2012, 06:13:09 AM
EDIT:  Thinking about it, this goes double for a pack made of protected cells (because of the theory of it and because I haven't had stuff like this happen on a pack made of unprotected cells with a single pcb). 

Just because you haven't had it happen doesn't really qualify this statement ;).  We've had both types of packs go bad, although fairly infrequently. 
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on July 16, 2012, 06:13:58 AM
No, i wasn't saying the pack was going bad, just that it was running out of juice.   ;)
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on February 18, 2014, 06:04:08 PM
Bumping this thread so I can find it to sticky it.  I totally forgot about this thread since it was sooo long ago, but there's definitely some useful tips in here. 

Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: Machinimax on February 18, 2014, 07:13:57 PM
I forgot about this thread. Heed these words folks. These tips are from our best here! I'd like to add in my two cents if I may.

If you are working on a more complex saber (or your very first even), drawings and sketches can be helpful in planing your build. This is especially true if you are creating something like a crystal chassis/chamber. Review your sketches carefully, ask for critiques and opinions here on the forum, and revise them as needed. When making revisions, it's best to start a whole new drawing rather than fix your old one. This helps you keep record of your design ideas. You don't have to be an artist but your sketches should have some level of detail to them and labels are never a bad idea.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: Vercify on February 18, 2014, 07:33:58 PM
^^ Thanks for the bump! I am definitely going to give this a thorough read when i get the chance - hopefully it will save me some headaches on this build and builds in the future.
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: ANAKIN SKYWALKER on April 08, 2014, 11:07:57 AM
This ties in with probably another one or two, but don't ever come home from a bad day at school or work and immediately start working on sabers while you're still in a bad mood.  Additionally, especially when working on a more stressful part of a build, listen to some music while you build.  It helps keep you calm when you're trying to thread that recharge port inside of a 1.1" ID hilt, or when trying to route 8 wires through a tube that fits exactly 8. 
Title: Re: Some not so obvious (at first) do's and don'ts to wiring up sabers.
Post by: Darth_Baleful on January 01, 2016, 05:52:12 AM
#65 Make sure you take regular breaks when you're working on a longer build (or any build for that matter). Even if it's just to get up and take a stretch. Tension headaches and an empty stomach won't help you complete your saber any faster. It will also give you some time to ponder and plan your next steps.