Blind soldering with an Instant Heat Battery Soldering Iron

I've been doing hobby electronics since I was first old enough to be trusted with a soldering iron and not to burn myself, or burn the house down.

So, after I lost my sight, soldering became a problem and a very upsetting loss.

I have only recently felt very strongly that I wanted to find a way of doing some sensible soldering and hobby electronics again.

I acknowledge that I am not going to be soldering QFP surface-mount SoC chips or MCUs any time soon. But I have found some techniques which mean I can now manage most of the typical old 0.54mm (0.1 inch) pitch through-hole components and boards.

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741 Op-amp Pinouts

The 741 operational amplifier is one of those chips you will probably encounter in college or high school technology and electronics classes.

It has been around almost as long as integrated circuits.

The name 'operational amplifier' comes from the fact that the amplifier was used in early analogue computers to perform 'operations' such as adding and subtracting analogue values.

The text below explains the packaging of a 741 operational amplifier chip in the classic eight pin DIL chip package, and the table shows the pinouts.

DIL = 'Dual in line'.

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555 Timer Chip Pinouts

The 555 timer chip is one of the most ubiquitous chips seen in hobby and college electronics over about the last 45 years or so. Certainly before digital electronics and microcontrollers made such an impact.

The text below explains the packaging of a 555 timer in the classic eight pin DIL chip package, and the table shows the pinouts.

DIL = ‘Dual in line’.

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Capacitors in Series and Parallel

This post explains how to calculate the value of the overall capacitance of more than one capacitor, both in series and in parallel.

Capacitors have limited application in digital circuits, including those we might use in conjunction with either a Raspberry Pi or some variety of microcontroller.

But you will find them as the second component in a classic RC timing circuit, where a capacitor is charged through a resistor, to produce some kind of event after a predictable length of time, or in decoupling noise (ripple) to ground.

Where capacitors are also often used is in a DC blocking application. To couple AC, such as audio or radio frequency into the next stage of a circuit, but block the DC from the previous stage.

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7400 TTL Quad-2-input NAND Gate Chip Pinouts

For many years the 7400 quad 2 input NAND gate chip was the backbone of digital electronics. Because using a mass of NAND gates it is possible to construct almost any digital system. Although by today’s standards it would not be the pinnacle of miniaturisation.

This post shows the truth table for a 2 input NAND gate and the pinouts of the common 7400 quad 2 input NAND gate chip.

With thanks to Anthony McCloskey, from the raspberry-vi mailing list for the suggestion of this post and the pinouts.

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