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Problem with DIY smell stain???!!!
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Problem with DIY smell stain???!!!

Please dont laugh, it aint no joke and im concerned about the matter.

I think im going mad, but since the beginning of the year i have a really strong smell in my DIY soldering / working area.

I have tried tracking down the smell. Its new, kind if like some strong cologne or dis-solvent. Its similar to acetone but not so strong.

I literally have tried to find where it comes from without success.

I have ventilated the room a few times, and the smell is still there.

The problem is i know can get waves of the smell even when im not in the DIY room. I have tried washing hands (as i normally do after soldering) changing clothes etc with no success.

I had an eating intoxication a few weeks ago and have been reading about....something called Phantosmia (yes i know its sounds ridiculous)

I dont know if this is related or not, but its really spoiling all the time i spent on the workbench at the moment.

Anyone has suffered from something similar? I have been soldering in that room for over a year only to find this problem in the last few weeks.

The room has sound improvement foam, and i wonder if something i have used has attached to it. But i can find it damn it!

Trying to track down what has changed in this past weeks and i can only think i bought some kester solder that i used once or twice.

Edited: I have a fume extractor that i always use when soldering

Its this one: 700/

cry cry cry
do you know what rosin smells like?
adam wrote:
do you know what rosin smells like?

Unfortunately not, it is a component of the flux right? hmmm.....

But i have not changed solder for years Dead Banana
Are you in an apartment/connected building where it's really coming from the neighbor?
I had a similar problem a few weeks ago. All of a sudden there was a strange odor in my studio. After several days of checking things, I found it was a light bulb I replaced. It was a blue "party light" I got at the hardware store. Replaced bulb, problem solved.
What's the weather like where you are at? If it's cold, are you running your heater more then normal? If there is a heating duct behind a wall where the acoustic foam is maybe the foam or adhesive used to attach it to the wall (if it was done that way) is heating up enough to generate a smell? Also if it's cold, is it possible that critters (mice, rats, squirrels, opossum, etc) have crawled into the walls or ceiling? Also if it's hot where you are at the smell from critters can make itself more apparent.

Or have you added any speaker wire lately? I bought some speaker wire to set up an entertainment center for my folks once and my oh my it stunk for a couple weeks . . . eek! Dead Banana Vinyl outer jacket was out-gassing or something?
JohnLRice wrote:
If it's cold, are you running your heater more then normal?

Good point- I have this happen every fall/late winter, where the furnace is burning off the dust that's collected in it.. takes 2 weeks or so for the "Burnt dust smell" to go away.

However, given the description by the OP, I'm guessing that something outgassing is the cause of this.
Hi, many thanks for your replies.

The room is in an attic. Its quite cold right now (spanish winter).

Right behind my soldering desk there is a radiator. The heating has been on for a few months so i dont think its that.

Things that have changed in the studio that i can thin k of:

I got a new solder machine, i have installed a small euro rack case in my workbench, and have moved the oscilloscope from a wall holder to the desk.

Apart from that no major changes for the last few months.

I just finished putting every spare part around me in zipped plastic bags and going to leave the windows open all afternoon, arghhh

Many thanks
djthopa wrote:

Right behind my soldering desk there is a radiator. The heating has been on for a few months so i dont think its that.

Did something fall into the radiator coils? Something plastic or whatever that could have melted/burnt?
Could be something that came in from the cold and is living in the walls or ceiling. Squirrels are particular fond of attics in the winter.
Did you change your laundry soap? Asking because you mention that the odor is not necessarily associated with your studio.
Hi, thanks to everyone for your helpful insights.

Yesterday i took mostly everything out of the room,

I cut all ic plastic tubes and rearranged ic´s and ic holders inside zip plastic bags and trays.

Did the same with the programmers, and i think i might be onto something since some of the olimex boxes smelled bad.

I mopped the studio floor with hot water and bleach and unplugged all power for now.

I think the problem might be coming from one of the many card boxes that have with items inside, maybe it has been stored in a container or somewhere else and have picked up the smell.

I moved my tray of diy tools next door, so trying to divide and conquer.

Today when i go back if that other room smells, i will now the origin is from the push tray. Im going to plug things on one by one and see if the smell comes back and i can finally track down where its coming from.

Many thanks for your help!
Muff McMuff
Could it be the the new soldering machine? Burning something off from the manufacture? A small plastic bag blew onto my soldering iron and instantly melted and started smoking. It burnt away quickly so was no big deal but perhaps your soldering set up is contaminated with something?
I have nothing helpful to add but am now intrigued by this mystery and waiting with bated breath for the next update.
The stinkiest thing I’ve ever found in my building experience were veroboard prototyping PCB boards from China. I don’t know why but I got a bunch that smelled to high heaven of chemicals.
OP, what kind of solder are you using?
Why isn't smell-sampling a thing?
I once came back from a trip abroad to find the fridge freezer had broken and there was a large mass of viscous dark brown ooze progressing across the wooden floor. The smell was horrible. It was a large bag of previously frozen squid fermented into slime - eek!

Anyway top tip for getting rid of smells is spray white vinegar in a mister. Was the only thing that got rid of the smell in the fridge/freezer and the room.

Or leave a bottle of amyl nitrate open in the room - seriously. Never tried it but I don't think you have to worry about getting high (oh no!) unless you inhale deeply from the bottle although that might be a pleasant temporary distraction from the smell issue. Also makes you relaxed (why it is popular for gay sex, I am told) MY ASS IS BLEEDING

And if you don't have a steam cleaner then you don't know what you are missing. They are great and no chemicals needed love
Hi wigglers,

Thanks for your input, and apologies for not replying before, i had not received any notifications of replies from the forum.

Unfortunately things have not improved much.

I got all the tools, trays, components out of the room.

I cleared it with fresh air overnight and started bringing back items into the room next day one by one in periods of 10-15 minutes.

I turned both of my soldering stations on, lights on, computer on, test bench on.

Eventually i could get a faint here and there but nothing major.

After like two hours most of the stuff had gone back in the studio. Each being zipped in bags and i cleaned my tool trolley fully.

Eventually the smell creeped back in and im at a point if defeat.

I will check on the type of solder im using, but its been the same for a few years now, so that did not change.

I am now trying different combinations of incense, air fresheners and thought about an ozone machine, but have read it can also be bad for your health.

So right now im considering staying out of my workbench for sometime and see how it goes.

Crazy thing is on Friday i could get a very light faint of smell in my car, so i dont know if im loosing the plot and its all in my mind or what.

Thanks for the vinegar tip will have to try that too. The incense worked, but felt like i was back in a club smoking again.

Nitrogen oxide, and poppers, both get you high, so it might not be a great idea....

I really wish i could sample the smell as mentioned by someone before.

As i said before is like a diluid acetone burnt electric-ish smell.

I dont know what else to say apart from

cry cry cry
Not trying to be funny, but is it maybe something on your clothes? Like your shoes or something?
djs wrote:
Not trying to be funny, but is it maybe something on your clothes? Like your shoes or something?

Hi, dont worry no offense taken, any hints of the origin of this problem is always welcomed.

I wear my home slippers at home, unfortunately i wear shoes for work so its not that. Ja i actually did smell my home shoes right now. confirmed its not that.

sad banana

Last year we (at work) had some mysterious smell in our server room. We could'nt find the source...

After some days, one of the UPS began to beep (=error). I wanted to replace the batteries. But it was impossible to pull them out of the housing.
I had to remove the UPS from the 19" rack and opened it...
Then I realized the source of the bad smell a few days before:
The batteries overheated and began to melt the plastic case!

Luckily nothing worse happened!

So, if you have some batteries or a UPS in your room, please control them.

Another possible source of the bad smell: broken electrolytic capacitors.

Or a dead mouse - do you know decay smell?
I once had a rotten potatoe in my potatoe stash and mistaken the smell for a dead mouse. I was about to dismantle my kitchen furniture to access the mouse underneath when I saw that dark juice leaking from the potatoes.
Do you have any flowers in the house? I cannot stand the smell of lillies, to me they smell like burnt cooking pot plastic handles an make me feel quite ill.
When was the last time you replaced the filter in your fume extractor?
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