Why Solder? (Dumb question)



I’m pretty new still to all this fancy “build-your-own-arcade-stick-for-your-console” stuff. I built a stick for MAME years ago using quick disconnects and screw in connectors so my chubby hands never had to touch a soldering iron. That being said…

I want to hack an Xbox 360 pad. I have both a MadCatz wired pad (which is already opened up to the PCB) and an extra wireless “official” Microsoft pad. Why can’t I, say, use a cohesive conductive glue/apoxy of some sort instead of soldering? Wouldn’t that free up lots of mistakes that could be made head wise? Wouldn’t that keep me from damaging the PCB so easily?

Also, and this is really dumb, why not electrical tape?

Just a few questions. I’m grateful for any insight here.


A better question is, Why are people so damned afraid of soldering?

People will have no problem cranking up an uber horse power table saw with a recklessness reserved for grade school ‘Blood in the Wood Shop Class’ warning videos, but are scared shitless to touch a soldering iron. Simply because ‘they understand it’ people will happily use a tool known for amputations, but not a tool that can cause a blister at worst.

Why not use a conductive glue/epoxy? Because they suck. They don’t hold things in place as strong as solder, they’re difficult to troubleshoot or use accurately, and impossible to rework if you get it wrong the first time.

Why not electrical tape? Because it wont hold things in place; a little mashing and you’ve lost the connection at best, cause a short at worst. You also can’t guarantee good contact between the wire and the point.

Won’t these free up lots of mistakes that could be made? Nope, not really. The shoddiness of using these methods means you’ll have 10x the amount of problems you would have had using the right tool in the first place.

You’re asking why you can’t hold everything together with superglue when assembling a car. You’re asking why you should bother buying screwdrivers when you have a drawer just full of butter knives you could use. You’re asking why you can’t saw the plywood with a steak knife. (Damn, Im hungry now.) Yes, you could do all of these, just like you could build a stick using electrical tape to hold the wires to the PCB. But it’s shoddy, difficult, and just not The Right Way.

Use the right tool for the job. It’s not scary, it’s not expensive, and it’s not even dangerous. If you want to practice before trying on something ‘real’ or expensive, there are prototyping boards at Radio Shack with hundreds or thousands of plated through holes to practice on; a little wire and you can practice your soldering for days for under $10. Got old electronics (Low power stuff, nothing that plugs into a wall outlet pls)? Practice finding similar points to solder a little wire onto those before trying with the real PCB. With just a little practice, you’ll be modding Wii’s and doing all sorts of very awesome things.

Bite the bullet, and just try it. There’s no point in being a scrub hiding behind a senseles fear.


The wire connection has to be pretty solid, it’s going to have strain on it from the wires moving around, moving the cord to plug/unplug the stick, and misc other things.

Tape is just not a strong enough bond, it’s not that great at adhering to pcbs to begin with, and there’s all kinds of gaps in the connection it does make. Take a pen, and put a paper towel over it, see those gaps on the side, thats whats going to happen to your wire, eventually those points will weaken and the wire will come loose.

So you definately need something fluid to get in there and seal the connection, I can’t really speak on the conductive glue, i’ve seen solder paste around that comes in a syringe, but you still need to heat it up after it’s applied. It also seems to be a lot more expensive, mightaswell just buy a pre-soldered pre-wired pcb from someone else.

Ha, toodles posted at the same time, damn srk nightowls!


I’m not good skill solder iron.

I tried a hot glue loaded with a glue stick. work it!

why not ? I like solderless!:wink:


… sigh


Man, Toodles. That was like a sermon on soldering. :wgrin: