Satellite board assembly

Building the shield isn't hard, but the satellite boards are downright easy.

Seat the 8P8C jacks

You already know how to insert these, so do that first.

Solder

Flip the boards over, solder the pins, and you're done with the jacks.

All hail Sparkfun

Mounting the pin header is also simple thanks to the offset hole pattern developed by the folks at SparkFun. The corners of the pins just barely catch the edges of the holes, aligning the pins and holding them in place.

Try it: it's kind of fun

When you press the first piece of header through the holes and feel it lock into position, all the praise goes to them.

Install the pin header

Like I said, the offset holes will hold the header in place even without solder, so you can install all the pin header in one go.

Fixtured

Trivia for the day: A jig is a device that helps you guide a tool across the workpiece. A fixture is a device that holds a workpiece in place. If it slides, rolls, or cranks, it's a jig. If it just sits there, it's a fixture.

In theory, you could solder the header pins with the boards floating free, but it wouldn't be easy. They sit at a strange angle, and are small enough to be awfully light. You'd be most likely to spend ten minutes chasing them around the top of your workbench.

If you have an old breadboard you aren't too worried about, plug the pin header into that. As with the stacky header, putting the pins exactly where they'll be when you use the boards prevents all kinds of alignment problems.

Solder

To repeat the warning from the pin header page, you want a soldering iron that can heat the pins quickly. Phosphor bronze conducts heat well, and your breadboard is probably made of plastic that melts.

If the solder won't stick to the pin after the first couple of seconds, stop trying. The metal of the pin is pulling heat away from the joint faster than your iron can pour it in. You need to set your iron's temperature higher (if it's adjustable), or to go find a bigger, hotter iron entirely.

Done

Once the pins are soldered, the project is done. You're ready to use the shield and headers to start making stuff.