D-sub connectors, commonly found in computer hardware, are used for the VGA port, serial port and game ports. Although D-Sub connectors are being phased out by hardware manufacturers in favour of smaller connectors, such as the USB, hardware that contains them remains common, requiring the ability to solder these connectors.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Soldering iron
- Rosin-core solder
- Clamp stand
- Electrical wire
- Utility knife
- Wire cutters
- Solder wick
Preheat the soldering iron for 5 minutes so it reaches its peak temperature. Wipe the tip on a moist sponge to remove flux left on the soldering iron from previous jobs. Apply a small amount of solder to the tip of the soldering iron, which helps heat transfer between the soldering iron and the components being soldered.
Remove a small amount of insulation from the end of each wire to be soldered to the D-sub connector; use a utility knife or wire strippers for this. Use the depth of the solder cups on the back of the D-sub connector as a guide to how much insulation needs to be removed. When the wire is in position, the start of the wire's insulation should be level with the end of the connector's solder cups.
Twist the bare strands at the end of the wires together, forming a solid core. Tin the end of each wire by applying a very thin layer of solder to the bare strands. This makes the end of the wire easier to insert into the solder cups on the D-sub connectors, and helps with heat transfer producing a better joint.
Lock the D-sub connector in a clamp stand, to make it easier to work on. Heat the bucket cup for the D-sub connector to be soldered using the tip of the soldering iron. Insert the end of the solder into the solder cup and withdraw after the solder quickly forms a small molten pool in the solder cup. Apply only enough solder to coat the inside of the connector: Don't fill it.
Rest the wire to be soldered on top of the solder in the bucket cup. When the soldering iron tip is used to heat the bucket cup, the solder will melt and the wire will slide into the solder cup. Hold the wire in position as the soldering iron is withdrawn and the joint cools.
Repeat the process for the remaining connections. Once all connections have been made, check each to ensure the solder joint is good and that excess solder doesn't connect two solder buckets. Excess solder can be removed with the tip of the soldering iron or solder wick. When all the joints have cooled, the connector can be tested.
Tips and warnings
- Make sure no connections are shorted together before the connector is tested. Shorts can damage the hardware the connector will be used with.
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