Surface mount anyone?

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Jim Cordill:
Have you tried building with surface mount parts?    I started using SMD parts in projects a couple of years ago and found they are both easy and fun to build with and still find it fun to watch the parts "float" into position when heated with the hot air gun.   What are you building?

Jim KI0BK
maker of the Low Loss PwrGate

Clark McDonald:
Been prototyping SMT for commercial product development since they first appeared. 

I just use a regular fine tip iron and eutectic wire roll solder anymore, it is faster and has always worked just as well for me. 

Of course, once the prototypes are proofed, manufacturing facility is used to assemble final products using all of their automated methods. 

But my hand soldered prototype boards are all still operative. 

I think it is a pity that a lot of hams are somehow reluctant to get into Surface Mount for various reasons, there is far more going for it than against it. 

73

Dan Mills:
Seconded, and the key to good hand soldering with SMT is to get a small bottle of liquid no clean flux, makes it go much easier.

1206 is trivial, 0603 is easy if not too dense, 0402 is possible, and 0201 is forget it without a microscope.

I have a pet loathing for QFN & DFN of the sort with thermal pads, send those out to be done in a reflow oven, but for routine things SOIC is trivial and MSOP is not that hard but really needs a magnifier to check.

Kapton tape is helpful with large parts to hold them in place until you get the corners tacked down.

My current build is a DUC/DDC SDR with far too many DFN and LFCSP packages (which are being sent out to be assembled), and one 700 odd ball BGA (A Large FPGA) which is definitely being sent to an assembly house.
Plan is to fit 4 sample synchronous ADCs and DACs so I can run a four square with electronically steered pattern (Or even play some with synthetic aperture stuff on the higher bands).

Oh, if getting boards made, pay extra for ENIG surface, much better to work on then organic preservatives, especially if doing the work on a board over a few weeks.

73 Dan.

Dale Hunt:
I recently built a hand-held 80m DF receiver using a mixture of SMD and ugly
construction that worked well.  For example, I'd flip a DIP chip upside down
and solder one lead to the ground plane to hold it in place, then "tombstone"
a SMD cap up against the pins that needed bypassing and solder it in place.
Part of the board was milled out with a Dremel tool to make pads, where I
added SMD components for the RF stage (all discrete componets), while the
remaining stages used DIP ICs.  (There was at least one SMD component
connected between IC leads above the board.)

This has actually held up well even in rough service.  (They get dropped
regularly while DFing in the woods.)  And it certainly saved some space
compared to previous Ugly circuits, allowing me to fit the whole thing
(including battery) into an old battery case that was small enough to fit
well in my wife's hand.

Hmmm...  next step might be trying ugly construction with SMD ICs...

Tom Nickel:
I built the NorCal FCC-1 frequency counter and Signal Generator combo a while back.

Hot air gun, tweezers, magnifying glasses and a little patience, but no problem-o at all :-)

--KC9KEP

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