Soldering with poor eye-sight

My sight is pretty rubbish, it’s been that way all my life. It doesn’t cause me too many issues, the DVLA weren’t interested when I learnt to drive, apart from looking a tad cross-eyed when i’m tired or straining to bring something tiny into focus – I get along just fine.

I have a few electronics projects coming up that require some soldering – something i’ve always blagged my way through or avoided. When soldering old cables you have a large margin for error – hence being able to blag it.

Micro-electronics ? Not so much. Part of my sight issue is Astigmatism – which causes the eyeball to wobble, especially when focusing on something small. Join that up with being partially sighted in one eye – soldering is going to be an interesting challenge to say the least.

Like the January gym-goers, I ordered all the kit I might possibly need and started off with a relatively easy task. Soldering a 5-core LED Adapter onto a run of cable so I could link up multiple LED Strips but with varying gaps to hide the cable between strip-runs. Similar to the below;

Well, after finding a completely over elaborate magnifying glass mechanism I got started. Luckily I had a number of these adapters going spare because after an hour i’d destroyed more plastic casings than I had connected wires. My final attempt was going swimmingly, 4 wires connected cleanly, no melted plastic – and then as i connected the 5th wire, the solder spilled – bridging 3 connections together. Bastard!

Whilst this is just my first hurdle and I am not going to be defeated, I fear no matter the amount of practice I get under my belt, this is going to be a skill that remains challenging for me. A trip to Maplin for better soldering tips so far hasn’t helped – but I will get this.

Even more frustratingly I find my sister is a dab hand at soldering, having been taught it at school to make jewelry…

/me googles Solderbot