Intro To Soldering and Troubleshooting for AV Archivists | BAVC

Intro To Soldering and Troubleshooting for AV Archivists

November 6, 2020
Morgan Morel

The life of an AV archivist is always full of surprises! We're often dealing with materials and equipment that were never meant to last as long as they have, and as a result it can be a lot of work to make sure that they are preserved maintained properly. Things get especially hairy when it's time to troubleshoot analog video equipment. If you've ever opened up a professional VCR you've probably seen the huge amount of circuit boards, electrical components, and mechanic parts that are inside. Troubleshooting this stuff can be a complex and difficult task, and most video engineers have spend years training and studying to be able to do this kind of work. However, that shouldn't dissuade you from learning some of the skills needed to repair and work on this equipment.

Replacing electronic components and tinkering with mechanical parts can be a tricky task, but if you have the tools, training, and some practice it can be done by almost anyone! As usual, the best way to get good at something is to do it with some guidance. BAVC has partnered with Memory Lab at the DC Public Library to create this video workshop to walk through the process of soldering a simple PCB kit. The kit we used is a "xr2206 function generator" that can be purchased for under $15 from various online vendors. During this workshop you'll learn how to solder and remove electrical components, how to test electrical components, and the basics of using an oscilloscope.

This is what's covered in the workshop

  • Soldering basics
  • Identifying and testing components
  • Useful tools
  • Attaching cables to terminal connections
  • Testing the function generator
  • Tips for opening up your decks
  • Tips for reading schematics and service manuals

This is what's NOT in the workshop

  • An in-depth lesson of how circuits work
  • An explanation of how electrical components work

You can view the introduction slides here.

You can view the workshop below, it's just under an hour long.

This workshop was Produced by BAVC Preservation with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Memory Lab at the DC Public Library.

As one of the nation’s longest-standing non-profit video and audio preservation organizations, BAVC Preservation remains a leader in the field, developing the highest quality preservation standards, practices, open-source tools, and educational resources, while working to preserve historically and artistically important video and audio materials.

Siobhan C. Hagan is the Project Manager of the Memory Lab Network at the DC Public Library and holds her M.A. in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She has worked in a variety of organizations throughout her career, including the UCLA Library, the National Aquarium, and the Smithsonian Institute. In addition to this, Siobhan is the Founder and CEO of MARMIA (the Mid-Atlantic Regional Moving Image Archive).

Blake Hatton is the Digitization Coordinator at Pueblo City-County Library District, a partner in the Memory Lab Network.

Morgan Morel is the manager of BAVC’s Preservation Department, where he oversees the digitization of various analog and digital tape-based audiovisual objects. He has worked closely with collection holders with varying sizes and institutional affiliations, and published a report titled A Guide to Approaching Audiovisual Digitization for Artists and Arts and Culture Organizations to help them better manage digitization initiatives. Morgan specializes in transferring ½” Open Reel video tapes, an early video format that many important works of video art, activism, and documentation are held on.