Electronics > Projects, Designs, and Technical Stuff

Going form 0603 to 0402

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I've been using 0603 as a minimum size for my resistors and caps now for a while and I find it very simple to work with, both with an iron and with hot air reflow. On my latest project, I'm going to use a TI CC2500 proprietary RF transceiver chip and the data sheet strongly recommends using as small caps as possible, preferrably 0402. Especially the balun part (I'm using the reference design) seem picky.

My question is first, will it matter that much if I use 0603 instead of 0402. If it does matter, how hard is it to go down to 0402 if I find working with 0603 pretty effortless? Is it easier to do with hot air than with an iron? I have a good (Weller WD1000) soldering station with a good selection of tips with different sizes and good eyesight.

If I have 0402 in some places, I'm thinking I might as well have them all across the board. Any reason to NOT use 0402 all the way (when the values allow, of course)?

well I've never done much SMD stuff myself but I'm guessing that if you can easily do the larger size you may well cope with the smaller one. Why not give it a go ? drop a few smaller size parts in and see how you cope until you do a full transition.

The main reason they may be recommending 0402 components is for EMI performance. Generally, as far as caps are concerned the bigger the component, the more inductance they will have. The more inductance means that they will have lower EMC performance than the smaller component. (self resonance).

I generally use 0603 components - I don't recall ever having to hand assemble but I would have thought it was possible with a decent magnifier.


Conrad Hoffman:
After using the smaller parts for a while, 0603 will seem huge! I haven't been allowed to use an 0603 for years.

0402s are significantly more fiddly, but doable if you're comfortable with 0603 - they have an increased tendancy to tombstone when using paste and and stick to the iron when soldering with wire -  the smaller size means it doesn't take long for heat to transfer from one end to the other.  The latter can be a  plus when desoldering though as heating one end will usually melt both.

And of course for resistors, 0402 is  the point at which they stop marking them.


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