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Thread: How to of prototype with surface mount chips

  1. #1
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    Default How to of prototype with surface mount chips

    Hi forum,

    as a newby to 21st century electronics I have a burning question:

    How does an hobbyist deal with surface mounted chips?

    Quite a few ICs nowaday come only in the surface mount package and are therefore difficult to handle.

    I have soldered a small 8 pins surface mount chip onto an adapting board to go achieve a DIP configuration. The soldering in iself was do-able, although I haven't finished building the circuit yet, so I don't know whether I damaged the chip.

    Using adaptor boards is however is inconvenient as you have to hase the right size for each chip, etc. and I was wandering whether there are stripboards/veroboards/breadboards/anyboards which can take surface mounted chips.

    How do people handle such devices?
    What is the best way to go about prototyping?

    I looked at previous threads for a while, but not found an answer, so....


    thanks

    Riccardo

  2. #2
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    Default

    I used the same solution you did. Got some adaptor boards (a batch of 10 and they were very reasonably priced) and soldered them up to turn them into standard DIP parts.

    I've also tried really hard to avoid surface mount, at least for prototyping.

  3. #3

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    Hi Riccardo,

    Got the same prolem as you.

    Take a look at this video:

    http://www.curiousinventor.com/guide..._Soldering/101

    I've just ordered flux and new soldering iron tip to try these techniques - I'm playing with mp3 remote control and the board needs to be tiny...

    Cheers,
    C00kie
    Biodiesel-powered Land Rover 110 SW

  4. #4
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    Default

    A very good video, makes it look easy(ish)...must try it sometime as ive been avoiding surface mount as well

  5. #5
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    Default Using SMD devices

    I too have used a few 8 pin SOIC (surface mount) chips and gone the way of adapter boards. Others have become more proficient at SMD technology which would be worthwhile if you are doing more than a few chips.

    Here are a couple of links to the two methods:

    http://www.picaxeforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=9611

    http://www.picaxeforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=8953

    While the SOIC8 adapters are quite cheap (around AUD$0.50ea), I did a search a few weeks back for SOIC28 adapters and found them to be less readily available and expensive (up to US$100 for one) but did find a source at a better price . . . US$5 / AUD$8ea

    http://cgi.ebay.com.au/SOIC28-SOIC-2...3286.m63.l1177
    Last edited by westaust55; 19-11-2008 at 14:03.
    westaust55

    Hey Hamlet, 2B OR NOT 2B = $FF

  6. #6

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    I notice that Sparkfun has some protoboards with SMD in mind (models are Bandicoot, Diprotodon, and Kangaroo). I haven't used them; look like a pain in the rear, but better than trying to solder wires onto tiny pins. I'd use a breakout board for prototyping. Or if you are confident, go for a PCB: with the right design, you can make a few small boards that have the common footprints you use in a convenient package, and you can dremel out the ones you need. That might actually be the most economical, if you are clever.

  7. #7
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    Default

    No doubt about it, SMT has made this hobby a further challenge and the tools more expensive. But it can be done.

    Semiconductors in SOIC and SOT packages are usually OK. So are caps and resistors in cases 0603 and larger.
    The other packages I usually steer clear of them.

    A few key things in succesfuly soldering SMT devices:

    1) A temperature controlled soldering iron with replaceable fine tips
    2) Hot air gun for desoldering things
    3) Very fine solder, and liquid flux
    4) Tweezers
    5) Even though you may have a 20/20 vision, get yourself an illuminated magnifying glass.
    6) Needle-pointed test leads for your multimeter

    I'm sure other memeber may add to the list.

  8. #8
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    Default

    I'd add one more thing, and that's solder wick (i.e. a band of braided copper ribbon) to clean up excess solder. Much easier than trying to do that with a hot air gun or a solder pump. Put it onto the excessive solder. heat it up with the soldering iron (in this case a wider tip and a bit stronger iron is helpful), and it will nicely soak up the excess. That's useful for two situations:

    (1) no more need to worry about accidentally shorting two device pins together with a big blob of solder - now you can easily clean it off. Great for fine-pitch (1mm and below) soldering jobs. In fact, just make it a habit to first solder all the pins (disregarding any solder bridges between them) and then clean all of them (which will also remove the solder bridges) - makes for a pretty professional look, almost as good as reflow.

    (2) great for cleaning SMT landing pads to an almost-new condition so you can have another go at soldering the part onto the board.


    It's pretty hard to get multi-pin SMT chips off the board without a hot-air gun ans suitable adapters (of the size of the chip you want to desolder).

    Wolfgang

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rmeldo View Post
    Hi forum,
    **edit
    Using adaptor boards is however is inconvenient as you have to hase the right size for each chip, etc. and I was wandering whether there are stripboards/veroboards/breadboards/anyboards which can take surface mounted chips.
    **edit


    I've just found this little beauty.

    http://uk.farnell.com/roadrunner/smt...ard/dp/8498784

    However, note the price!

    e.

  10. #10
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    Default

    Here is another brand of smt prototyping boards:

    http://www.schmartboard.com/

    The interesting part is that they have pre-soldered "channels" for the pins to fit into, reducing soldering p[roblems

    Myc

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