Author Topic: New SMD/Rework Pilot  (Read 5327 times)

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Offline Wolfie

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New SMD/Rework Pilot
« on: November 07, 2016, 06:16:35 pm »
Hello folks.  I have been soldering off and on since the 70's and am recently branching out into SMD stuff.  I can do it.  Its not easy for me given the lack of proper tools.  I have a cheap station (manual temp control) that has served me well over the past few years.  It replaced my old weller that, well, gave up the ghost.  The replacement came from American Science and has served well for working through hole stuff and building Christmas lighting.

A recent project challenged me.  I got the boards done but, well.  Its not the best soldering.

Its all done with a fine tip pencil and Kester 285 .015 62/36/02.  Also used Kester 285 .031 63/37 on the through hole stuff.

Its obvious I need some more tools here and lots more practice.

Having done some reading around, I didn't find any bad reviews of a particular rework station.  I didn't find many reviews at all to be honest.  That kinda surprised me.

I thought I would try one of the inexpensive stations to start with until I see if I am really going to enjoy hot air work or not.
Yihua 853D 2A (newer updated version)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/311397700024

I also picked up a tip pack (12), some SS anti-stat tweezers and a clip/magnifying work stand (cheap).  I am sure I can 3D print any needed accessories to the stand.  Oh, and a couple tubes of Indium 62/36/02 paste in 25g tubes.

Other than checking the fuse situation (fused neutral or line) and properly grounded as standard from anything from China, is there any other needed initial fixes or mods for this rework station that should be done right away? 

Any other tools or addons that yall would recommend for getting started here?
 

Online blueskull

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2016, 06:28:24 pm »
Quick 957DW, the best Chinese station I've seen and used. Reviews even say it performs better than Metcal 120W hot air.
Attached are the photos of a board I soldered with Quick 957DW (well, and a Metcal soldering iron and a stainless steel stencil).
You're gonna pay more, but not much more, to get much better building quality and reliability (properly grounded, brushless motor, quality ceramic heater and better designed control PCB).
 

Offline Wolfie

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2016, 06:39:09 pm »
Curious, what did you use to dispense the paste that gave such a nice flat surface? 
 

Offline gamalot

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2016, 06:44:44 pm »
Quick 957DW, the best Chinese station I've seen and used. Reviews even say it performs better than Metcal 120W hot air.
Attached are the photos of a board I soldered with Quick 957DW (well, and a Metcal soldering iron and a stainless steel stencil).
You're gonna pay more, but not much more, to get much better building quality and reliability (properly grounded, brushless motor, quality ceramic heater and better designed control PCB).

For Quick I prefer model 861DW.
 

Online blueskull

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2016, 06:46:06 pm »
 

Offline gamalot

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2016, 06:46:28 pm »
Curious, what did you use to dispense the paste that gave such a nice flat surface?

Stencil I guess.
 

Online blueskull

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2016, 06:50:08 pm »
For Quick I prefer model 861DW.

That's also a good choice if you have a large table and you need to solder large parts. I have very limited table space and a gigantic oscilloscope.
For me, I don't do many large part soldering, and if I ever need to do so, I have access to a Sikama 5-zone IR reflow oven.
 
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Offline Wolfie

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2016, 07:07:24 pm »
For Quick I prefer model 861DW.

That's also a good choice if you have a large table and you need to solder large parts. I have very limited table space and a gigantic oscilloscope.
For me, I don't do many large part soldering, and if I ever need to do so, I have access to a Sikama 5-zone IR reflow oven.

Makes sense, saw that a SS stencil was used.  Still new at this and not into mass producing anything so I didn't think about a stencil.  I will be just piping mine in place for my low quantity work.
 

Online blueskull

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2016, 07:16:00 pm »
Still new at this and not into mass producing anything so I didn't think about a stencil.  I will be just piping mine in place for my low quantity work.

I don't do mass production either, not even low volume. I only build one off academic research units, but as parts are getting smaller, working without a stencil is just too hard considering I play with 0402 passives and 0.5mm pitch leadless packages all the time.

A hint: OSHStencil offers ridiculously cheap SS stencils and they ship your stencil the same day you pay if you pay before afternoon.
www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/review-of-oshstencil-stainless-steel-stencil/
 

Offline Wolfie

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2016, 10:53:30 pm »
Thanks folks.  Good tips here.  Thanks for the heads up on the stencils.  Something to look at seriously.  Very budget friendly and turnaround times seem very good too.

Already ordered the 853D though.  Hopefully it wasn't a waste of $80.  If it was, well, it won't break the bank.

After dealing with the magnetism of my needlenose attracting the tiny components, I presume the SS tweezers will solve most of that issue.  Any suggestions on a vacuum pickup?  Is it worth my while right now or just stick to tweezers for the time being?
 

Online blueskull

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2016, 11:03:06 pm »
After dealing with the magnetism of my needlenose attracting the tiny components, I presume the SS tweezers will solve most of that issue.  Any suggestions on a vacuum pickup?  Is it worth my while right now or just stick to tweezers for the time being?

Don't get a vacuum, at least I don't like them. My Hakko 394 is pretty much $100 plus $50 of accessories down the drain. I only use them whenever a pair of tweezers is absolutely not recommended, such as handling bare dice. Otherwise I will just use my tweezers.
I recommend a pair of SS.SA from IdealTek or Aven. I personally don't like bent tips, but some may prefer them. The $30 price tag of a pair of Swiss made super fine tweezers may seems stupid, but they pay themselves off quickly as they spare a lot of your swear.
Don't buy niche titanium ones as they are just a waste of money and they don't come with ultra sharp tips. I just wasted $30 on a pair of these. Only stain steel ones are available in ultra sharp tips.
If you play with SMD parts a lot, and are willing to spend another $400, then a pair of SmartTweezers tweezers shaped LCR meter is also a nice investment especially if you deal with 0402 parts a lot.
 

Offline Wolfie

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2016, 11:11:45 pm »
Thanks.  I will wait then.  I have only done a little SMD.  Not a lot of call for it but enough to warrant getting some basic equipment.  Not enough to warrant expensive gear or a lot of single tasking items. 
 

Offline Wolfie

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2016, 08:45:05 pm »
Well, this is a bit disconcerting.  The Yihua arrived today.  The box, obviously in chineese, I note 220v within the sticker writing on the end.  Its a label sticker so not generic printed box.

Looking at the rear of the actual station it says 110v.  The power cable is clearly US.  Guess I will have to wait until I get home and get into the case to know for sure.  So I got the solder paste tubes, the extra tips, and the station now.

One question.  The solder paste tubes don't have a plunger like a normal syringe does.  What does one need to purchase to use these?  The tip appears to take a standard needle quarter twist type.

Thanks again, really appreciate the input you all are giving.
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2016, 09:36:15 pm »
You should be able to get a plunger for the syringes.. somewhere. It should be a fairly standard size. You can also rig something up (bit of dowel?).

That first photo is honestly not too bad at all, especially for a first try. If you get some flux gel you should be able to do a very nice job without needing hot air and paste at all for those size parts.
 

Offline Wolfie

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2016, 09:52:24 pm »
Apparently I need something along the lines of whats here:
http://www.zeph.com/plungers.htm

I have some syringes laying round of various sizes for glue, acetone, etc.  If one of them fits I can take measurements off its plunger.

I looked inside one of the paste tubes (which has a green snap on seal over it) and there appears to be a pusher diaphragm but I will look closer when I get home tonight.  If thats the case, all I need is something to connect to or push against that.  Now that I found a site with photos at least, I know what its supposed to look like.  I am pretty sure I can design up something quick and print it.
 

Online tautech

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2016, 08:40:20 am »
Hello folks.  I have been soldering off and on since the 70's and am recently branching out into SMD stuff.  I can do it.
:-+
Good on you for giving SMD a go, it's not really that hard to teach old dogs new tricks, right?

Quote
Its not easy for me given the lack of proper tools.  I have a cheap station (manual temp control) that has served me well over the past few years.  It replaced my old weller that, well, gave up the ghost.  The replacement came from American Science and has served well for working through hole stuff and building Christmas lighting.
You'll find your new station will help heaps.  :)


Quote
A recent project challenged me.  I got the boards done but, well.  Its not the best soldering.

Its all done with a fine tip pencil and Kester 285 .015 62/36/02.  Also used Kester 285 .031 63/37 on the through hole stuff.
That's the real problem, too finer tip with too little thermal capacity, the result is needing to adjust the heat higher and you get this too hot, too cold thing going on that will drive you nuts once you see it.  ;)

Quote
Its obvious I need some more tools here and lots more practice.
Right tools yes, a little bit of practice and a bit of understanding.
Having a few tips is fine, you mostly only need a big one and a small one, both chisel type but some prefer Hoof styles. 3.2mm is usually big enough (thermal capacity)for most jobs but I use 2.4mm for most work, enough thermal capacity and small enough for 0805 SMD which is as small as these aging eyes want to do.  :(
These are all Hakko shape D ^
https://www.hakko.com/english/tip_selection/series_900m.html#type_d


But there's another real handy shape: K
https://www.hakko.com/english/tip_selection/series_900m.html#type_k
These can bridge both pads of many SMD passives, melting the solder on each and making removal easy with just tweezers.  ;D




Quote
Having done some reading around, I didn't find any bad reviews of a particular rework station.  I didn't find many reviews at all to be honest.  That kinda surprised me.

I thought I would try one of the inexpensive stations to start with until I see if I am really going to enjoy hot air work or not.
When I got my cheapy rework station it opened up work that I didn't think I could do and within short time I was etching mainly all SMD, but limiting myself to the larger footprints of 0805 and SOIC mostly.

Enjoy your new tools and remember to have fun.  :)



Avid Rabid Hobbyist
 

Offline Wolfie

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2016, 08:17:12 pm »
I picked up a set of tips too:



Yihua 853D 2A (newer Blue model with 2a 15v PSU and USB port)


Anyone reading this, please bear in mind this is my first ever rework station or hot air unit.  So my observations below are jaded by a neophyte caliber person to SMD and rework stations.  However, I have been tinkering with electronics since the 70's and have a decade plus of high power UHF broadcast engineering experience so I am more comfortable with a 200lb 50kw klystron than I am with a .001g SMD resistor.

I pulled apart the station last night and verified it is indeed fused line (not neutral).  It also has a connected ground wire going from the power socket to the chassis just below it so its reasonably grounded.  It has a DPST power switch that severs both line and neutral to the unit.  It appears to meet reasonable safety requirements right out of the box.  And despite the box label saying 220v, the transformer and all other indicators inside said 110 so I gave it a go.

I must say its going to be a nice piece of kit.  Is it lab grade?  Em..no.  Good enough for a casual tinkerer.  Oh, absolutely.  Worth $90.  Well, initial impressions say absolutely yes.  Long term durability is still in question.  It seems reasonably designed to perform in a long term situation however my inexperience in this realm needs to be factored in as well.

I can already see it needs some mods but it is usable as is and adheres to common safety needs.  Not sure whats possible for alterations/mods.  I didn't have it open other than to verify safety of the AC feed and correct voltage so I didn't take a hard look at the panel and how its wired or whats there in the way.  I need to re-open it and look closer at the front panel.

Initial testing using reasonably priced pair of multimeters (don't have the budget nor need to buy a 3 or 4 figure Fluke, if I did I wouldn't be buying a $90 chinese knockoff rework station).  I did some quick tests of the soldering pencil on some wires and a PCB using 0.015 Kester 285 62/36/2 and .031 Kester 285 63/36.  I tested the heat wand using the medium round tip to remove an 8p SOP MAX485 chip from a PCB (the chip had let the white smoke out so was ripe for testing).  I can't dispense my solder paste so I can't test the wand for initial soldering yet.  The pencil with included tip was sufficient for medium size soldering jobs.  Not sure with its blunt tip how well it would do on tiny SMD stuff.  Perfect for throwing wires on a PCB or standard through hole stuff maybe overly large and wrong shape for SMD.  The wand performed its task quickly and the chip was removed from the PCB in mere seconds with way less cleanup than had it been removed using a pencil and wick.  All meters/gauges worked properly and were reasonably accurate.  All switches worked properly and have a good feel.  All controls' functions seemed to operate properly and were fairly obvious on what/how they do what they control.

Build quality seems reasonable especially given it cost less than $90 with free shipping.  Supplied accessories were reasonably useful with exceptions noted below.

Would I buy it again knowing what I know now about it?  Yes.  Given its cost, I feel it performed well, provides adequate safety, and functioned as expected or better than expected.


My initial negative observations:
1. The test leads are extremely cheap.  They are molded and non-reparable.  They even still have the nibs still on them from the injection molding spew tree.  They are, for all intents and purposes, a POS.
2. The test leads won't even plug in!  They have a partial sheath on the banana male so its not possible to even plug them into the PSU/Meter banana jacks on the front panel.  Imagine buying a test meter and you can't even physically plug in the test leads that are included in the box.  Yea, thats happening here.  Thankfully they molded the connector on the end out of softer plastic.  I took a scalpel and trimmed off the sheath from the negative lead and am able to insert it into the center ground connector.  Will also do the red lead as well.
3. There is no connector on the heat wand.  Why?  Seems darn odd that they would have one on the pencil but not the heat wand.  I need to look closer at the leads of it to see if a connector is possible.
4. The banana jacks are nearly a total fail.  Their screw caps are not captive which means they can unscrew and be lost.  The main shafts have no cross hole for wires to prevent them from twisting when attaching loose wire leads.  I will open the unit back up and see how possible it is to replace these with better quality ones.
5. The heat sink internally is simply an aluminum plate.  I may investigate adding some fins to it for more efficient heat dissipation.
6. Came with a sponge I have no clue where to put.  The can with flux/brass cleaner seems well attached to the stand so I got no idea where to put the sponge should I wish to use it.  Doubt I will ever use it but the point still stands, where does it go if I did?
7. Came with a mystery tool.  Plastic handle with metal U shaped prongs.  No clue what its for.  But, yes, its outstanding for toasting mini-marshmallows using the heat wand.  Me and one of the granddaughters had quite a bit of fun with this last night :)  No, really.  We did.  FYI, 250c on about 50% fan with no tips seems to work best for the mini's for best balance between toasting and melting interior without it falling off the prongs.  Didn't have any full size marshmallows to try.
8.  Chinglish manual.  I needed half a bottle of Tylenol and several hits off the Tequila by the time I got though the 5-6 pages of english.  If you can call it english.  If you can even call it a manual.  They even mentioned a clown and a fuzzy PID at a couple points in it.  Wow.  I still don't know what thats supposed to mean.  I am absolutely sure the $5 hot glue gun I bought from Michael's has more of a manual than this does and I absolutely guarantee it had more coherent sentences in its manual.
9.  Fingerprints on the LED displays.  Pet peve of mine.  I want it clean when its new.  And, no, there were no plastic peal off sheets protecting them either.
10. Pushbutton for switching between PSU display and meter reading.  Absolutely no physical indicator showing whether you were reading the output of the PSU or the test leads.  Another thing I will see if it can be replaced.  I like the old toggle switch.  Easy physical indicator to reflect what you are seeing.
11.  Solder pencil stand needs re-thinking for improved use.  Its storage is all but useless.  Its a bit too short.  It looks like it could be used to store the wand tips in, you can't because it would interfere with the pencil tip while its in the stand.
12. The PSU set knob is extremely sensitive.  Its a standard 270 degree turn radius that covers 0 to 15v.  There is very little turning required for a .1v change and simply tapping or bumping it (when flipping the PSU on/off switch for example) could alter the setting.  Again, time to dig in and see if it can be replaced by a multi-turn pot for more accurate setting.
13. Manual says or at least tries to say that you can switch from C to F.  I could not figure out how nor is it described in the manual at all.  Just says it does, not how.
14. Lots of holes on the right side, only 2 on the left for mounting stuff.  But the holes on the right side really don't have anything in the box to attach to them, so no clue what they would be for.
15. Only one pencil tip.  Some other kits come with 5 or more.
16. Meter test leads say 1000v isolation.  I am not willing to test that nor am I planning on trusting that either.  I will be replacing them anyway.
17. The ebay photo is not exactly what you get.  As stated above, the Auto/Manual switch and the PSU/Meter switch are now push buttons not toggle switches.
18. Panel organization is poor and  is broken up.  Reordering it would place controls/displays better grouped with their respective tools.  If they had switched the placement of the pencil on/off and temp settings with those of the wand on/off and temp that would be a far better layout.  This would place the pencil at top and since it has no other controls,  would be better in overall design.  It would place the wand on/off and temp setting down next to the blower control which also affects the wand thus grouping all the controls for the wand together and separating it from the pencil controls.  The way it currently is laid out, the wand on/off/temp is at the top and its blower control/auto/manual is at the bottom with the pencil controls between.  Poor organization if you ask me.  All controls for a particular tool should be in proximity to each other and not be broken up by controls for a completely different tool.
19. Air intake for the wand is on the wide portion of its handle.  And only on one side even though it looks like vents are on both sides.  Its possible to cover them with your hand if you don't watch where you hold it.  Again, my inexperience here may indicate a design flaw where none exists.


My initial positive observations:
1. The unit as a whole is reasonably sturdy and fairly well put together.  The metal is a sufficient gauge to insure it will last a reasonable amount of time given its diminutive $90 price.
2. The solder pencil stand is all metal.  I had seen in videos where it was metal/plastic combo and very poorly made.  This one is all metal and fairly heavy gauge steel too.  The holder ring (where you put the pencil) is also all metal and tack welded to the holder.  Its not plastic.  In fact there is no plastic on it at all.
3. They put rubber pads on the stand base.  Again, one of the complaints on videos of the older unit complained about lack of LRF (Little Rubber Feet).  This one has two strips of rubber material, one front, one rear so its not sliding around anymore.
4. Jesus the iron heats up fast.  I am used to turning on my old cheap iron (from American Science) 10min before I need it.  This thing goes from room temp to soldering in maybe a minute (didn't actually time it but, woof, fast!).
5. The heat wand also heats up rather quickly as well.
6. I like the safety of the wand not coming on unless the wand is on its cradle when turned on.  Can't accidentally toast anything.  Like that.
7. I saw some references to the LED voltage reading not being accurate.  Well, mine is.  At least it is in reference to two different multimeters I hooked to it.  Is it dead nuts on?  No.  However it is sufficient for a cursory check of voltage levels.  I will still rely on my multimeter.  I set the PSU for 5.0v according to the panel meter.  On the multimeter it was 5.04v.  Given the meter has deeper accuracy I would say close enough.  Set to 12.0v and its reading 12.02v.  So, again, correct.  I hooked up an ammeter and jacked in a 12/24v buck that outputs 5v (or close).  It showed 17ma on my mutimeter and it showed 17ma on the panel.  I would say thats spot on as well.  I plugged the 5v out of the buck back into the meter input on the panel and got a display toggling between 5.0v and 5.1v.  On the multimeter it read 5.13v.  When I put the multimeter into 200v scale (single decimal) it read 5.1v solid.  So the meter portion is darn close too.  The toggling tells me it was thinking 5.05v ish as it couldn't decide on 5.0 or 5.1.  So it may be reading 50mv low.  Am I going to trust it to read voltages for an op-amp?  No.  Good enough though to tell me if the 5v buck is working or not.
8. The kit comes with a small selection of gun tips (4 I think).  They appear to be sufficient for doing what I plan to do and I don't foresee needing any additional ones at this time.  However I am most definitely a neophyte here.  There is quite likely a situation I am completely ignorant of where additional tips could be needed.
9. The pencil is quite comfortable to hold.  I did some test soldering and it was an immediate comfortable feel.  Heavy enough to know you got it.  Light enough to not overly fatigue you.
10. Digital ammeter instead of the analog one of the older versions of this unit.
11. I had seen mention of the fact the wand tips didn't come with bolt/nuts.  Mine did.  However there were two different lengths of screws and I have no clue whch one goes on which tip because they all seem to need the same size.  Clueless as to why they provided different lengths.
12. The brass/flux tin seems pretty decent to be honest.  There is an ample amount of flux in the bottom so I see it lasting a decent period of time.  The scrunchie also seems quite ample and dense.  Surprisingly decent considering the overall package price.
13. The power cord is fairly heavy duty and appears to be made of heavier gauge wires.  In fact it feels and looks heavier than the cord that came with a 1500w computer PSU and this unit is only supposed to be 800w.
14. Reasonably compact design providing hot air wand, pencil iron and a 2a PSU in a convenient and fairly portable package.
15. Heavy enough to stay put.  Light enough to carry easily.


Possible alterations/accessories:
1. Multiturn pot for PSU voltage set
2. Replacement of banana jacks with better quality ones
3. Possible addition of a ground jack (yielding two ground banana jacks, one for PSU out, one for meter lead in)
4. Possible connector for heat wand
5. Front panel main power switch
6. New test leads
7. PSU power leads with clips on them
8. 3D print a stand for the wand so it doesn't have to attach to the unit's side.
9. Replace PSU/Meter reading push button with toggle switch
10. 3D print an attachment to the pencil stand to hold tips and perhaps solder wick.
11. 3D print a side mounted cup to hold the wand tips behind the wand holder.
12. Possible addition of fins (old computer heat sinks) to the internal heat sink.

So thats my initial feelings on the unit.
 

Offline Doofenshmirtz

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2016, 07:27:54 pm »
For SMD work, I really like "reverse tweezers" (squeeze to open) - I never worry about relaxing too much and dropping the part, or squeezing to much and shooting the part across the room.  But the only usable ones I've found are Xcelite XHT412 - they are rigid with a nicely pointed tip.  (They're thicker construction down to the tip, then ground to a point.)  Digikey has them for $6.80 - http://www.digikey.com/products/en?keywords=xht412.  However... they seem to have a tiny magnetic charge that's a headache with really tiny parts (esp. 0402, which isn't a problem since I use a vacuum pickup for them).


Two more cents from the peanut gallery while I'm writing...

A vacuum pickup is really handy for small passives - say, below 0805 size.  Multi-pin packages are generally easy enough with tweezers that it's not worth changing the vacuum tip to use it on them unless I've got several on a board.

A sharp dental pick is handy for nudging small parts, and for holding down tiny parts in position while soldering, so they don't get blown around by an air pencil and so surface tension on a soldering iron tip doesn't pick them up.  0603 and 0402 passives like to "tombstone" if you don't reflow both pads simultaneously.

One of those silly magnifying visors with the strongest lens they offer, then add on the strongest inspection loupe they offer.  It's not quite as good as having a bench top microscope, but handier.  Better than a magnifying lens on an arm, in my opinion (more portable, different angles).

I use the zeph.com system, and I like their pre-heater idea, though their setup is a far cry from $100.  When you have pads on ground planes, they're much easier to solder when the copper pour is close to soldering temp.  A larger air pencil (like the one posted above) can also overcome the heat wicking and yield a nice joint.  So can an iron, though the results will not look as nice.

Air can also do things that an iron would struggle at best - like reflowing the ground pad under a QFN package or a microUSB connector, and pins under that same connector that are tucked underneath.

FWIW,
Richard
« Last Edit: December 19, 2016, 10:17:18 pm by Doofenshmirtz »
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2016, 08:13:47 pm »
Hakko 394 is the best $100.00 I ever spent. And that purchase was made when I already had two other vacuum pickup stations.
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2016, 05:10:17 pm »
For SMD work, I really like "reverse tweezers" (squeeze to open)
You can do better than those Xcelite's. There's a seller on eBay that carries a bunch of well made tweezers (Italian & Swiss made).

For example, you'd be interested in the 31.SA Reverse Action Tweezers. Much better quality (Italy, made by Viola).

A vacuum pickup is really handy for small passives - say, below 0805 size.  Multi-pin packages are generally easy enough with tweezers that it's not worth changing the vacuum tip to use it on them unless I've got several on a board.
Although I've a vacuum pickup (Virtual Instruments TV-1000), I find I still use regular tweezers more often.

A sharp dental pick is handy for nudging small parts, and for holding down tiny parts in position while soldering, so they don't get blown around by an air pencil and so surface tension on a soldering iron tip doesn't pick them up.  0603 and 0402 passives like to "tombstone" if you don't reflow both pads simultaneously.[/quote]
Another good tip.  :-+ I've a couple of sets by Moody that are decent (10mil & 25mil).

I use the zeph.com system, and I like their pre-heater idea, though their setup is a far cry from $100.  When you have pads on ground planes, they're much easier to solder when the copper pour is close to soldering temp.

Air can also do things that an iron would struggle at best - like reflowing the ground pad under a QFN package or a microUSB connector, and pins under that same connector that are tucked underneath.
Absolutely.

FWIW, since I don't need a pre-heater anywhere near as frequently as my iron or hot air station, I went with an inexpensive Chinese made unit. It's at least constructed safely (i.e. fused on line & grounded), and has served it's purpose when I've needed it.
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2016, 05:14:34 pm »
Hakko 394 is the best $100.00 I ever spent. And that purchase was made when I already had two other vacuum pickup stations.
Do you have a Virtual Instruments for comparison?

I'm asking, as I don't think mine is developing the amount of vacuum it should (mmHg).  :-// If it's within spec, then it doesn't develop as much vacuum as I'd like/need (I've dropped IC's while using it).
 

Offline bpiphany

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Re: New SMD/Rework Pilot
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2016, 03:09:32 pm »
A vacuum pick-up tool is really handy for picking parts directly from tapes. No need to dump them out onto something, which will turn half of them upside down, all of them in an ill-defined orientation, and some of them gone with the wind.. I got one of these extremely cheap ebay ones. The included tips are much too large for 0603s which I mostly do, probably even 0805 will risk getting sucked in.. I have some hypodermic needles I bent into a curve for a more ergonomic and steadier grip. Even the larger needle is a bit on the big side for 0402s.. For crystals, ICs, and larger stuff the included tips work a treat. Larger tip diameter - larger suction capacity. I bought myself a Weller vacuum pen (just the pen part) because I thought I was worth it :) It's nice quality, but I would probably have been better off with a shorter one. I grip it all the way down by the base of the needle for more precision. Resting the pen hand on my work surface and stabilizing/fine tuning position with my left hand index finger gives fantastic precision.

I also taped over the hole you control the airflow with. I couldn't for my life hold the pen still while releasing the part. I moved the "valve" further down the hose and use my other hand to maneuver it. Most times the part sticks enough to the solder past to let go of the needle anyway.


I also really love my titanium tweezers. I got a small line-up of the Aven Tools ones from DigiKey. They are light and sturdy to work with, non magnetic and corrosive resistant. I've got two of the #1 ones, one of which I sharpened the tips on. To be honest I never owned any quality stainless tweezers. On the other hand they are no cheaper than the titanium ones I have  :)


Stencil, paste, pick-and place, re-flow is what makes SMD awesome to work with. I've only ordered simple plastic stencils so far. They should be good for hundreds of iterations, and are £15 or something for a full A4 sheet.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2016, 03:11:35 pm by bpiphany »
 


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