EEVblog #186 – Soldering Tutorial Part 3 – Surface Mount

Part 3 of the hand soldering tutorial. This time Dave shows you how to drag solder and tack & reflow SMD components, and in particular 0.5mm fine pitch IC’s. Including solder paste and hot air.

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    • Andrew

      lol the tweezers and iron look MASSIVE

    • http://OverClocked.TV Eugene

      Hey Dave, where can i get the board you are using to solder the PIC24 chip?

      • EEVblog

        It’s an Altium Nanoboard proto board. You can get it from the Altium online store, but not all that cheap.

    • rftghost

      Any idea how to attack this beast?

      It is a very useful component class in a creepy package…

      • Robert

        That component is no different than any of the other ones he showed in the video. Same principles apply. The example he shows at 09:10 should work just fine.

        • rftghost

          Hmm… I think it is a different size group, and with multiple pins… The whole gate is the size of that resistor.

          • Robert

            If I’m reading the data sheet correctly the part you linked to is a SOT-353 package which has a pin pitch of 0.65mm. That’s actually larger than the PIC24 that Dave solders towards the end of the video.

            Just try it, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is. Promise! (just remember to use a lot of flux, it really does help a bunch).

    • DM

      I’m loving this soldering series, can’t wait to have a workbench again and get down to it!

    • DM

      I’m loving this soldering series, can’t wait to have a workbench again and get down to it.

      Congrats on another great episode and keep up the good work!

    • Cameron

      Dave, any plans to build more micro-currents in the future?

      • EEVblog

        Yes, I have the parts here, just waiting on the boards. So soon…

    • raron

      What type flux do you use?

      • Madhu

        Great series.

        I did some research a few months ago on drag soldering, including different flux types and their strengths and weaknesses:

        For an effective soldering tip, I got a fine point conical tip and filed it down so it looks a lot like commercial hoof tips. It works really well. I have soldered 0.5 mm pitch QFPs with no problems at all.

    • Anonymous

      Might be good to note that through hole is better from a prototyping perspective. SMT is good for compact device design and volume production, but in my experience most components are available DIP/SOP or, if not available in DIP someone has made a living breaking out the SOP package into a DIP package.

    • Terran

      At 34 minutes into this video, you mention “thermal paste”. I assume you mean solder paste, right? or are you seriously advocating putting thermal grease under a component for heat sinking? I’ve never tried that, but I’m very skeptical about it interfering with the soldering.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah I don’t think he meant thermal paste…especially considering most thermal pastes are dielectrics.

      • EEVblog

        Err, no, I meant solder paste.
        My mouth is often detached from my brain.

    • László Monda

      There’s a technique that is related to SMD prototyping and reworking that is called the enamel wiring pen technique.

      I’ve just ordered such a pen from and aspire to eventually do something that resembles the works of Markus Gritsch whose work you can find at

    • Newton

      NICEEEEE.. Thank you Dave !

    • Alan Parekh

      Great video Dave, in the first part by eye kept getting drawn to the damaged pad of U6. It wasn’t till the end of the video where I saw where that came from. :)

      • EEVblog

        I thought some might notice that video continuity issue!

    • Ray Jones

      Damn I’m a fool.
      I tried using one of those bucket tips and had no luck whatsoever.
      Now I know what I was doing wrong, the bucket has to face downwards. Duh!

      Only other comment is I’d be inclined to use the flux pen after you solder the first pad, then tack down the first pin.
      IMHO the joints just don’t look properly wetted.

    • Scott Driscoll

      Awesome! My tip for getting the right amount of solder when drag soldering is to bridge the first two pins, and then clean the tip. I’ve found that’s an easy way to get the right amount of solder out there. Sometimes it works fine just getting a ball on your tip, especially if your tip is specially designed for that.

    • patb

      Dave, thanks a lot for this tutorial! I’ve just assembled Arduino (SMD parts only) and it works great. No problems at all. Even those nasty 0.5mm FTDI chips are piece of cake – flux is the answer. :)

      • EEVblog

        Nice work!
        Flux, and solder mask!

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    • Emad

      Thanks for your great site and tutorial !

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    • Jayanth Acharya

      Was redirected here from a reply on !

      Does anyone have tips on doing good/reliable SMD soldering on DIY-at-home PCB’s, without soldermask ?

      In my limited experience, my initial few attempts in such setups have not been very fruitful, rather quite frustrating. I’ve used the “generous use” of flux method, but lack of solder-mask means, extensive bridging and overlow (solder outside pads).

    • rishiraj

      good job dave excellent video on soldering sm devices i would request u to make a video for removing and resoldering (rework) of a input/output QFP chip on desktop laptop motherboards and also if possible,,,, to demonstrate BGA rework machines thanks

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    • Chief

      Hi Dave

      Nice tutorial, just wondering about the quality of joints after tacking and using the iron to re-heat the joint. Is this not a recipe for creating a dry joint even though the solder is fluxed.

      Also could you do some research into diff. solder mixes. eg lead free/ with silver and melting temperatures. I’ve noted in several service repair manuals they advocate the use of such mixes.

      Cheers and keep up the good work.

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    • Karl

      Hi, Dave. Great video, as always. Can you mention whose flux you use and what you use to clean up the residue? I use Chip Quik flux that’s supposed to be no-clean, but I suspect that just means the residue won’t harm your board, because there’s definitely residue. In fact, they recommend alcohol if you want your boards clean, but that leaves a tacky, dust-collecting film on the board. I understand some other fluxes must be cleaned off or they’ll damage the board.

    • danny

      My main issue with surface mount has been that they kind of force you to get pricey 1 use prototype board, or make a PCB. You can’t just throw stuff together on a breadboard to prototype – I really like being able to do that. Surface mount just requires more commitment to a design when I may just want to hack around and play. Dead bug pinning into a DIP socket (I’ve got tubes of the things).