Construction Tips

Sometimes Longer is Shorter

I’m in the middle of a project that uses Adafruit’s neopixel strip, and of course the instructions warn you that soldering to a piece of plastic is tricky. And it is, but I figured out a way to make it much less nerve-wracking. Use headers. First I tinned the strip, which took about a second on each contact with the soldering iron. Then I tinned some three-pin bits of right-angle header in a holder (you could use straight, but for my project the right-angle headers let me put the LED strips on the front and all the wiring on the back). Then I brought the two together, another second on each contact and done.  Some F-F jumper  will do nicely to link the segments.

An Obvious Reminder about Measurement

When your digital multimeter says it’s measuring capacitance, sometimes the capacitance it’s measuring belongs to the leads you’re using to probe your stuff. So it may be worthwhile to get a specialized tool instead.

No, Conductive adhesive really isn’t.

I spent the longest time burnishing my copper tape down against the components and the circuit-glue traces it was supposed to connect with, and got a weak glow that went away as soon as anything moved a little bit.

Then I just ran a layer of circuit glue around to the top of the copper. Wow. This makes me rethink how best to lay out paper circuits. From now on it’s going to be glue to hold the components, a nearby line of copper, and another dab of glue to connect them. (Oh, and I think I need some smaller nozzles.)

Any other cute tricks?

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