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Author Topic: A Beginners Guide to Soldering Surface Mount Components  (Read 931 times)

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Offline Michael Lloyd

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A Beginners Guide to Soldering Surface Mount Components
« on: March 13, 2017, 01:28:05 PM »
I'm a beginner and this is my guide  :o

When I was in my 40's I decided that SMD's were the spawn of satan and they would never catch on  :-DD Now approaching 59... that's a long way from 60 just so you know... I have decided to start using surface mount devices. It makes perfect sense really. Now that 15+ years have gone by, I can't see worth a damn and my hands shake more than they used to (but not much). I normally work on things with tubes in them but I have an OtherMill Pro and dabble in making my own boards every now and then. I use the mill to make a prototype and then order from Osh Park if I want commercial boards (like for friends or gifts). When it comes to ordering boards, size matters  :-//

This isn't the first project but it's a good for illustrating my list of things that a beginner should know about soldering surface mount devices. It's a double sided board with a bunch of 51 ohm resistors on both sides. There's also a diode and cap for rf detection. Apparently they screwed up the board somehow and the surface mount cap location is not usable.





In no certain order these are the things that I know about soldering SMD's.

 Opinions
(1) if someone tells you that you don't need a microscope to solder SMD's, poke their eyes out with a sharp stick and take their microscope (not really but that's bullshit)
(2) use the correct soldering iron and tip. A 1/4" chisel tip might work fine on that old 1948 Zenith AM radio but it's not going to cut it for SMD work
(3) make no mistake, SMD's ARE the spawn of satan. Especially if they are smaller than 0805
(4) it's best if you know at least one or two expletives.
(5) Do Not Yell Expletives at the Board While Looking Thru The Microscope. Your components will flit off into whatever dimension those little bastards come from
(6) Concerning item 5. Add Sneezing, Coughing, or in some cases, Breathing to the list of things that shouldn't be done

Laws of Physics
Law 1: If your project requires x components, buy at least two more than x. SMD's can occupy other dimensions, so if you drop one, it's gone, forever.
Law 2: If you place a component on the board you will need to either turn it or flip it or both
Law 3: If you drop a component and it stays in this dimension (lands on the bench) it will be upside down. Especially if it's a resistor or capacitor. They are top heavy
Law 4: When you solder a resistor or capacitor to a board, make sure you either solder them all such that the numbers are the opposite of the silkscreen or solder just one the wrong way around. This will drive some people batty and it can be a source of amusement
Law 5: Make up some bullshit like Law 4 to try to cover up the fact that you soldered 1/2 the resistors on your board opposite of the silkscreen
Law 6: If a kit manufacturer supplies 2 extra components you will, at a minimum, lose 2 components
Law 7: The first component that you pick up with tweezers will make a click sound and disappear never to be seen again. Proof they come from another dimension
Law 8: Resting the barrel of the soldering iron on your finger to stabilize it will result in some level of chaos and pain. Don't do that
Law 9: Once you get into a rhythm don't take a break. If you stop in the middle of a project you will come back with the coordination of a spastic ape and fling components off into the other dimension (where satan stores them), tombstone parts, and generally turn your nearly complete board into an ugly mess.
Law 10: If tweezers were the size of a small rocket we could use them to launch spacecraft on intergalactic missions. They apparently contain some form of warp drive

Feel free to add any helpful advice that you see fit. Laws can be added at will. They are like speed limits, nobody follows them.

Endeavor to persevere

 8)
« Last Edit: March 13, 2017, 01:29:48 PM by Michael Lloyd »
 
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Online tautech

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Re: A Beginners Guide to Soldering Surface Mount Components
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2017, 01:45:51 PM »
 :-DD
Lovely and spot on.  :-+

Nothing worthy to add........yet.  :popcorn:
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Offline JoeN

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Re: A Beginners Guide to Soldering Surface Mount Components
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2017, 05:51:32 PM »
You forgot a big one.

11.  More flux.

If you have enough flux, you can use that 1/4" chisel tip.  For parts with lots of really fine leads like QFN-48's and more, it actually becomes the principal tip to use.  Flux the legs and pads and you can just drag solder across the legs.  To clear any bridges, clean the tip, flux a little more, and use the tip's solder affinity to just pull the extra solder away - no braid needed most of the time.  Soldering discrete parts like what you have shown is actually pretty easy, a first step, show us some QFP, or at least SOIC/SOP packages now.

I find my 3x desk lamp/magnifier is good most of the time.  It affords a very nice field of vision.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2017, 05:56:39 PM by JoeN »
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Offline alsetalokin4017

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Re: A Beginners Guide to Soldering Surface Mount Components
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2017, 06:46:59 PM »
Hah... wait until you advance to the Hot Air Station and Solder Paste level. You'll discover entire new ways to lose multiple components at once with too much airflow, to melt all kinds of stuff you haven't melted yet like the more distant parts of your vise, new levels of pain when you lose control of the air nozzle and it falls into your lap... sheer terror when the dog makes off with the solder paste dispenser, complaints from S/HWMBO about the jars of solder paste and flux in the refrigerator....    :rant:

The easiest person to fool is yourself. -- Richard Feynman
 
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Offline Avacee

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Re: A Beginners Guide to Soldering Surface Mount Components
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2017, 07:44:32 PM »
Law 6 has a mathematical error. The number of components lost will be Delivered - Required + 1   |O
Law 11: The chance of a component disappearing off to another dimension is directly proportional to a) its cost b) replacement delivery time c) a multiplication of a * b 
 
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Offline OutbackBob

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Re: A Beginners Guide to Soldering Surface Mount Components
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2017, 09:46:01 PM »
As a newbee looking to get in to surface mount as well, I have been looking into USB microscopes... Are the el'cheapos suitable? Any recommendations?

Don't quite have the budget for Dave's Targano :(
 
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Offline Michael Lloyd

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Re: A Beginners Guide to Soldering Surface Mount Components
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2017, 11:30:59 PM »
You forgot a big one.

11.  More flux.

If you have enough flux, you can use that 1/4" chisel tip.  For parts with lots of really fine leads like QFN-48's and more, it actually becomes the principal tip to use.  Flux the legs and pads and you can just drag solder across the legs.  To clear any bridges, clean the tip, flux a little more, and use the tip's solder affinity to just pull the extra solder away - no braid needed most of the time.  Soldering discrete parts like what you have shown is actually pretty easy, a first step, show us some QFP, or at least SOIC/SOP packages now.

I find my 3x desk lamp/magnifier is good most of the time.  It affords a very nice field of vision.

I've used the "more" flux method when I built a clock kit a few months ago. I used my magnifying hood and a small chisel tip for that. I tacked a corner and then "strip soldered" (that's what I called it. I think it has a different name? Drag soldering?) the other side and then came back and did the same on the tacked side


Hah... wait until you advance to the Hot Air Station and Solder Paste level. You'll discover entire new ways to lose multiple components at once with too much airflow, to melt all kinds of stuff you haven't melted yet like the more distant parts of your vise, new levels of pain when you lose control of the air nozzle and it falls into your lap... sheer terror when the dog makes off with the solder paste dispenser, complaints from S/HWMBO about the jars of solder paste and flux in the refrigerator....    :rant:

I have one of those. I think it was made for cleaning circuit boards   :)

Law 6 has a mathematical error. The number of components lost will be Delivered - Required + 1   |O
Law 11: The chance of a component disappearing off to another dimension is directly proportional to a) its cost b) replacement delivery time c) a multiplication of a * b

100% correct  :-+

As a newbee looking to get in to surface mount as well, I have been looking into USB microscopes... Are the el'cheapos suitable? Any recommendations?

Don't quite have the budget for Dave's Targano :(

I had a really cheap AmScope but the field of view was poor. I happened across a YouTube guy (Louis Rossman) that repairs Apple boards (none for me thanks) and decided to go with his not as cheap AmScope with light. So far I like it.
 

Offline klunkerbus

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Re: A Beginners Guide to Soldering Surface Mount Components
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2017, 12:11:19 AM »
...
This isn't the first project but it's a good for illustrating my list of things that a beginner should know about soldering surface mount devices. It's a double sided board with a bunch of 51 ohm resistors on both sides. There's also a diode and cap for rf detection. Apparently they screwed up the board somehow and the surface mount cap location is not usable.

Enjoyed the post. 

The resistors are actually 2200 ohms based on the 222 markings.  22 on each side puts 44 in parallel, which gives you the 50 ohms desired for a dummy load. 

On the cap, yeah, the board is generally set up so that you can use either SMT parts or through-hole parts.  The through hole pads for C1 are on the rectified voltage and ground, which makes sense. But the SMT pads for the capacitor are between RF IN and the rectified voltage, which is likely a layout error. 
 
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Offline Michael Lloyd

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Re: A Beginners Guide to Soldering Surface Mount Components
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2017, 12:25:43 AM »
...
This isn't the first project but it's a good for illustrating my list of things that a beginner should know about soldering surface mount devices. It's a double sided board with a bunch of 51 ohm resistors on both sides. There's also a diode and cap for rf detection. Apparently they screwed up the board somehow and the surface mount cap location is not usable.

Enjoyed the post. 

The resistors are actually 2200 ohms based on the 222 markings.  22 on each side puts 44 in parallel, which gives you the 50 ohms desired for a dummy load. 

On the cap, yeah, the board is generally set up so that you can use either SMT parts or through-hole parts.  The through hole pads for C1 are on the rectified voltage and ground, which makes sense. But the SMT pads for the capacitor are between RF IN and the rectified voltage, which is likely a layout error.

 |O Yes... admittedly I prefer colored stripes and profane mnemonics to determine resistor values but you are correct.

All in all, it's a nice little board and I needed the practice, which is why I selected the SMD kit to begin with.
 

Offline jolshefsky

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Re: A Beginners Guide to Soldering Surface Mount Components
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2017, 12:35:56 AM »
I bought a pair of Galilean 2.5x Loupes from LW Scientific that clip on to my glasses. I like to call them "super bifocals" since with a 380mm working distance, I can comfortably work on boards at a natural distance. They were fairly expensive, but I just can't afford anything cheaper, as the saying goes. (That is, I paid the price I did to have no eyestrain using them for the rest of my life which is far cheaper than suffering with junky optics.)
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Offline Michael Lloyd

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Re: A Beginners Guide to Soldering Surface Mount Components
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2017, 12:47:06 AM »
I bought a pair of Galilean 2.5x Loupes from LW Scientific that clip on to my glasses. I like to call them "super bifocals" since with a 380mm working distance, I can comfortably work on boards at a natural distance. They were fairly expensive, but I just can't afford anything cheaper, as the saying goes. (That is, I paid the price I did to have no eyestrain using them for the rest of my life which is far cheaper than suffering with junky optics.)

Expensive... yes... but 380mm working distance! And the convenience of having them right there  :-+
 

Offline JoeN

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Re: A Beginners Guide to Soldering Surface Mount Components
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2017, 05:40:24 AM »
I bought a pair of Galilean 2.5x Loupes from LW Scientific that clip on to my glasses. I like to call them "super bifocals" since with a 380mm working distance, I can comfortably work on boards at a natural distance. They were fairly expensive, but I just can't afford anything cheaper, as the saying goes. (That is, I paid the price I did to have no eyestrain using them for the rest of my life which is far cheaper than suffering with junky optics.)

What are the main advantages of using this over say a quality desk lamp and magnifier of the same magnification?  These look interesting and I have never considered them, but my desktop magnifier has not let me down so far.
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Offline Housedad

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Re: A Beginners Guide to Soldering Surface Mount Components
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2017, 08:17:23 AM »
Michael, I just ordered a Amscope SM-4T 7X -45X scope, a .5x barlow off ebay, and a 114 led ring light.   It will arrive Friday.   I'm the same age and have the same aging eyes problem at 58 years old as you.  I just hope when it gets in that it is comfortable to work with.   Any Issues with your eyes using your scope?

THEN I will try to solder SMD parts!  I bought a bunch of practice boards off of Ebay and will cross my fingers. 


« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 08:22:35 AM by Housedad »
 

Offline jolshefsky

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Re: A Beginners Guide to Soldering Surface Mount Components
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2017, 10:18:51 AM »
I bought a pair of Galilean 2.5x Loupes from LW Scientific that clip on to my glasses.  [...]

What are the main advantages of using this over say a quality desk lamp and magnifier of the same magnification?  These look interesting and I have never considered them, but my desktop magnifier has not let me down so far.

If your desktop magnifier works, then by all means stick with it. I have a cheap-ish one with a glass lens about 4" = 100mm in diameter. I had a hard time positioning it at the right spot between my hands and my work as it's basically a swing-arm lamp. It is barely big enough for both my eyes to see through, so I'd be looking through the edges of the lens where the optical distortion was worst, and also I'd have to adjust it, my head, and my work often making it a two-handed job just to look, the third hand for soldering. With the loupes, I can either look through or around with a tilt of my head just like bifocals. They are stereo and perfectly focused at my work distance with a large focal range of about ±50mm and a wide 100mm field of view. I find all this leads to less head strain and less eye strain making it much more comfortable to do SMD work or any close, small work.
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Offline Michael Lloyd

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Re: A Beginners Guide to Soldering Surface Mount Components
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2017, 11:06:15 AM »
Michael, I just ordered a Amscope SM-4T 7X -45X scope, a .5x barlow off ebay, and a 114 led ring light.   It will arrive Friday.   I'm the same age and have the same aging eyes problem at 58 years old as you.  I just hope when it gets in that it is comfortable to work with.   Any Issues with your eyes using your scope?

THEN I will try to solder SMD parts!  I bought a bunch of practice boards off of Ebay and will cross my fingers.

I don't have any problems with mine and I didn't have any problems with the smaller one that I had other than it didn't have a ring light and it was fixed magnification (which hasn't been an issue btw). Mine had one eyepiece that could be adjusted and one that couldn't. Like binoculars. So you focus with the non-adjustable eyepiece and then adjust the other eyepiece until they match.
 

Offline Cupcakus

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Re: A Beginners Guide to Soldering Surface Mount Components
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2017, 05:18:38 PM »
Great post! I also use a desktop magnifying lamp and it's fine for 0603 and up, I don't usually have any issues.  I do have much younger eyes though, ask me again in a few years.

 Except SOD23 diodes, those things are the devil.   Somewhere in the void under my bench there are dozens of those never to be found again.
 
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