Newbie saying Holla

Hi Guys,

Holla to you all

I just purchased the SMR4 mkII. i have never built a project like this before and have been researching how to solder on you tube etc. I am now at the stage where I am getting ready to source a soldering iron and the correct solder for the job and wondered if anyone had an idea of what products i should get to ensure I give myself the best possible chance of taking my time and getting this right.

Any advice, tips for a beginner on the assembly would be gratefully received.


J from the UK!

I am nowhere near as experienced as most people here but have done lots of soldering. I purchased a fairly expensive Hakko soldering station a number of years ago, figuring it would last me a long time so I might as well spend some money. I found that a fine tip, with fine, rosin core solder, worked best for me. Make sure you get the joint hot enough first, and then apply solder. The solder should flow easily into the spaces around the joint, and then remove the iron. If the joint is shiny that’s usually a good sign. You will also need a multimeter, something to measure voltage, current, resistance and continuity with. I bought a cheap version many years ago but wish I had bought something better. You might want to get some de-soldering wick too, just in case.

Here is what I use, although not these particular brands necessarily:

Third Hand

Soldering Station

Soldering Iron Cleaner


Solder wick

Solder Pump

I’m not recommending any of those, just thought you might want to see what the stuff looks like.

The best advice I could give you 'though is to take your time and read the directions carefully before soldering. Check your resistors before installing them (that’s where the multimeter comes in handy) and check the orientation of any components that are sensitive to that, like polarized capacitors for example. Also check ICs and other components, ensuring the numbers on them match the numbers on the PCB. Many of the components appear identical but have different markings, and it is very easy to solder the wrong thing into the wrong place. De-soldering is a major pain!


Hi and welcome to the forums! If you look around here you will find some other threads from people asking for advice. Be sure to check those out as well, since I remember that they contained links to recommended soldering irons.
To build a Shruthi you won’t need a super-high-tech iron, a basic one will do it, though of course having a soldering station makes some things easier.
Other than that you need:
solder, most people recommend Sn60Pb40 solder, and avoid to stay clear from the lead-free one.
wire strippers, small pliers, some wire cutter, desoldering pump or braid, a third hand and a bottle of champagne to celebrate when you’re done.
If you head over to the Midibox wiki you should find some tutorials about soldering, also check the MI wiki.
If this is your first project I would recommend that you practice on something easier before you make the Shruthi. Maybe a simple kit like the Atari Punk Console?

Leaving soldering iron recommendation to someone else, since I’m still using a el cheapo chinese non temperature controlled iron, which some people look down on…
Solder - Basically, get leaded solder, something like 60/40 mix, or whatever happens to be sold where you get your gear. Leaded solder is a lot easier to use :slight_smile:

Advice? Take your time, read the steps. If something seems broken, reheat EVERY. SINGLE. pad that has something to do with that component, so if the display seems wonky, reheat/resolder all 16 connections on the display, the the 16 connections on the board, and finally where those 16 connections lead to (ex:the contrast trimpot.)

If something still seems broken, search the forum, if you simply can’t find any answer on here, make a topic, we are a very helpful bunch, at least when we’re not busy derailing threads … :smiley:

Finally, welcome to the ShruthiVersum ^^ as frank/fcd72 would say :slight_smile:

(dangit,can’t get superscript to work… :frowning: )

Cheaper version of the soldering cleaner from piscione’s links :
(Takes 2-4weeks from the time where they say that they have shipped it, until the stuff arrives though…)
Solder cleaner :
Solder sucker :
Solder wick:
Multimeter :
Well, it’s not an exact fit, since it isn’t autoranging, it is however, a whole lot better than the one that i currently use (which was more than adequate for the shruthi). I do however have a new/better replacement on its way :slight_smile:

As a second note, you should know how much stuff you can import into the UK before you just stuff everything into one order, fx. : In Denmark we can only import stuff for 85kr (~8£), if we import something that costs more than that, we have to pay a huge fee to the Danish postal service (150DKK, ~14£ ) on top of our order… :frowning:

shit, v’cent was faster… so all thats left to say is this:

I use this soldering station, it’s served me well so far. Although you will probably need a smaller tip

I also use 64:40 lead/tin solder not the lead free stuff you get at Maplins since it melts easier and the joints look shinier (easier to spot duds).

That soldering station from Maplin looks nice but I would still get the copper stuff for cleaning, I really don’t like wet sponges. I am considering a nicer multimeter 'though because the one I have is not even as good as the one I linked to (and keep in mind, those links were only to give the OP some idea of what’s out there, not recommendations).

Although not essential, i’d REALLY recommend practicing on something simpler first, with all your new soldering gear.
An LED audio meter kit, or guitar pedal type thing would do. Almost anything really. Simple kits can be found for £20 or less. And you wouldn’t be too upset if you knackered it from learning mistakes. Whereas you’d be pretty bummed if you ruined £150’d worth of Shruthi kit.

I’ve built all kinds of stuff over the years, including multiple Shruthi’s. And I just use a basic Antex soldering iron that I got in Craplins many years ago. Nothing too fancy here. Yet it gets the job done fine.

Guys thanks for the invaluable advice. i plan to do a lot of prep and practice before it touch the Shruthi kit. i want to make this an enjoyable experience and one that i can grow from and make lots more gear after. Thanks guys and Hello!

Bleep labs have some simple stuff.

Maplin have some simple kits for practice too:


Mutable Instruments wiki site has a lot of great information. Check this out:

I just finished building a PreenFM kit last night, haven’t had a chance to test it. Not exactly inexpensive but it’s quite a bit easier to build than a Shruthi. I already have two Shruthis so I figured the PreenFM would be a good complement. If you feel a bit more ambitious, consider building a PreenFM first.

Preen PCB has a low component density, so easy to build.

That’s what I thought too. Online instructions could be a bit more clear for a newbie but still easy to complete.

As long as it the shere soldering skill just get a PerfBoard with Copper Eyes and a 100Pack of Rs. Id suggest 220Rs :wink:

i prefer different values to have greater variation in color codes. don’t forget to put some useless diodes here and there before connecting to the 230V wall plug (NO!)

TBH i think its gonna be a mission for me to get up to Shruthi speed. Ive been looking at the instructions loads at work and then coming home and looking at the kit and i’m not all that confident with whats going on with the various different components, i don’t get monitoring the connections for resistance and all that stuff. I was hoping just to just be really careful and solder all the bits, but it looks a bit more involved. Would anyone consider building my kit for me?..I’d pay of course.

Where in the UK are you akaiman?

@jay from uk
DONT PANIC! If i can do it you can do as well. Top Tip is measure every resistor (the Blue Thingies…) as you easily can scramble up the color codings. Everything else is pretty easy to identify so the Resistors are the hard part.

I’m in the North Staffordshire,near Alton Towers? Yeah I’ve just read through the control board instructions again, i recon my mind is getting round the process a bit more.