Fear & Excitement First Timer

Hi Folks,
I did look for a similar post but didn’t find, so if you know of one and can point me to it I’m happy to be deleted… Just a quick one really, am considering building my first Shruthi and I have barely used a soldering iron, let alone done anything remotely electronic kit-wise in the past. Is this is a silly idea, or with careful step by step commitment is it possible?

Any help much appreciated,

Thank you

It’s possible for sure! But, I would recommend learning to solder by getting some resistors and a prototyping PCB first. Then you can practice building an electronic kit.

After that, the Shruthi is almost easy.

Best of luck!

Agreed. Start with something cheaper and more basic first. If you get that done with little or no problems then you should be ready for a Shruthi :slight_smile:


Glad he didn’t ask for an Ambika………

Well, we all got to start crawling before we walk. I wrecked something, fortunately cheap the other day :smiley: Cheesus, I’m becoming such a grandfather…

Yes, and we should start crawling on the ground, not on a i-Beam Truss that sticks out the 107th floor….

Just a quick one really, am considering building my first Shruthi and I have barely used a soldering iron, let alone done anything remotely electronic kit-wise in the past.

me neither, and so far all kits I did worked fine!

Start with something simple, like the CVpal, or a bleep drum. Then take the advice from the MI wiki: buy some stripboard and a random bag of cheapest resistors and solder them. While doing so, try to get the timing right (no overheating of components, apply iron first, apply solder, remove soldering wire, remove iron) and practise to get the amount of solder right. Then everything should go well.

But always take your time, triple check all components. It is a lot easier to go slow and be careful while building than to locate a mistake later – in particular when you do not have much experience. The only real trouble I had was that I put in an IC in the wrong orientation, and I did triple check everything! … this was a real pain to locate (i spent ages without noticing, then a friend spotted it right away, sometimes you fail to see the obvious). That said, it can also be a good idea to meet with others to solder (a weekend session), it helps to have someone to cross-check.

[note added:] did a midi-through just before the CVpal. Also very simple and useful (now that synthmakers obviously think a single midi-in is entirely sufficient), at least a lot more useful that some blinking LED and other beginners projects.

@fcd72: You’re very wise for your years today old man :smiley:

Edit: Speaking of the 107th floor: I miss JH and his extreme DIY projects! RIP. Should go play with the JH vocoder and Frequency Shifter at some friends place.

Expanding on what morcego said :
-It is harder to fry a component due to heat than it is to produce a cold solder joint.
A cold solder joint is a connection that looks solid, but is fairly flaky, and could stop working at any point in time, or just works intermittently, which makes it really frustrating to troubleshoot.
This is usually caused by lack of solder, removing the iron before the solder has surrounded the leg completely, or not enough temperature on the soldering iron.

-I think that it is good practice to fill the pads completely with solder, since that minimizes the risk for flaky connections. Using too little solder is a common cause of flaky connections, and increases risk of cold solder joints, since you heat the pad for less time.

-To combat the above, use enough solder to fill the entire pad, there is close to nothing in the shruthi kit that is heat sensitive enough to warrant problems (I believe the crystal is marked as heat sensitive in the guide, so take some care with that one.).

So, what is too long time? Well, five seconds is quite a long time, 2-3 seconds is usually fine, and more than enough time to get a decent amount of solder on the pad. Be aware that connections that look a bit like a cross are ground connections, and will require more heat to solder properly (since they are connected to the entire ground layer, so a bunch of heat escapes there.
If a component starts smoking, then that is too long time as well :wink:

Also - Don’t be afraid of coming back to solder joints, you don’t have to add all the solder in one go, you can solder a joint, solder a few others, and then come back to the first joint and add more solder, just make sure that all the solder on the pad becomes liquid before removing your soldering iron.
(Leaving problematic solder joints for easier joints does significantly increase the risk of forgetting about the problem though. Consider just waiting 5-10 seconds before re-doing the joint instead.)

The first thing I ever soldered was a Shruthi and it managed to work first time. If it didn’t work I would have had no idea how to fix it, though. Haha. I know others have done this as their first build or I wouldn’t have considered it for mine. Though I will stop short of saying “go for it!” as I can personally offer zero help if anything goes wrong.

The Shruthi was the second thing I soldered up after years of not doing any soldering. I did it in an evening with no problems, although my eyes and back were aching at the end of it.

But that was with the more complex SMR mk1. I would recommend taking your time.

Thank you all so much, I really appreciate your taking the time to write the replies thy you have. I think I will try a simpler kit and work up to the Shruthi but in a couple of months time give it a go…slowly. Thanks again Folks!

Just ordered my Bleep Drum, after taking advice here, if I manage to build and not break it then maybe my next build will be a Shruthi.

Good idea to practice with beginner’s kit. However, I wouldn’t say you need to wait a few months before trying the shruthi. If you feel comfortable and confident, then go for it. My #1 piece of advice is to take your time. If a particular joint/component, etc. is being a pain, take a break. It’s good for your back and eyes, too! Olivier’s instructions are outstanding, so if you follow those, you’ll be in good shape.

Surely even my 7 year old son could put the parts in the right place following the MI Instructions. If he can assemble LEGO 7965 a Shruthi should be not bigger problem besides…… the actual skill you need to solder. And skill comes from practice, you won’t be an instant SolderingHero™ and to prove - what have we seen horrible soldering here ?

So besides taking your time and do quadruple checking to avoid wrong and ill placement of parts , make sure you can be confident with your soldering. A little Practice helps so a BleepWhatever is a good start.

^^ It’s true. You can easily damage a board with applying too much heat and/or not knowing how to desolder good.

the best way of desoldering is make no mistakes in the first place (haha yeah that’s me saying that)
Olivier’s projects are all so very well documented that you just have to follow the steps, look at the pics and maybe have a look on the web in advance how good solder joints[TM] have to look
just give it a try. start with a few resistors and if you have no good results with the joints try to improve, then take the next step
good luck & have fun!

It’s not just soldering skills. It is having standards and developing confidence. Eventually you create very tidy perfect looking things, but at first you may just settle for something working.