:i'm kinda afraid of soldering the dip switches. how do you guys get the solder on there?
Using the needle tip I picked up at Radio Shack:
Daub the copper pads with some flux jelly using a pin & Q-tip, then melt some solder onto the needle tip, and using the soldering iron like a pen - trace a line over the pad.
The solder sticks, and once all the pads are covered, position the switch so the pins cover the pads. Then, using a set of long jeweler's tweezers, hold the switch in place while you press the tip of the iron onto the pins for a moment to melt the solder.
As long as you've got a steady hand, it's no big deal.
:how do you "tin" ??
Courtesy of the "Basic Soldering Guide"
Before using the iron to make a joint, it should be "tinned" (coated with solder) by applying a few millimetres of solder, then wiped on a damp sponge preparing it for use: you should always do this immediately with a new bit, anyway. Personally, I always re-apply a very small amount of solder again, mainly to improve the thermal contact between the iron and the joint, so that the solder will flow more quickly and easily. It's sometimes better to tin larger parts as well before making the joint itself, but it isn't generally necessary with p.c.b. work. (All EPE printed circuit boards are "roller-tinned" to preserve their quality and to help with soldering.) A worthwhile product is Weller's Tip Tinner & Cleaner, a small 15 gram tinlet of paste onto which you dab a hot iron - the product cleans and tins the iron ready for use. An equivalent is Adcola Tip-Save.