Thursday, 25 June 2009

Surface mount soldering onto Stripboard

While working on prototyping a circuit to electrically isolate and level translate an I²C bus, I had to work with SMD-only chips. I stumbled upon this post on Make and decided to give it a try. The process requires little more than:

  1. Knife

  2. Stripboard

  3. SMD Solder paste

The principle is simple enough: the prototype tracks are twice as wide as the pads on the chip, so cut then in half lengthways and use fine wire (or judicious application of solder) to connect the chip's pins to the header pins. The result is a unit which can be plugged into a breadboard.

This approach is great for 8 pin devices, however a different approach is required for anything bigger - more on this later when I have to wire up a 16 pin device.

Here are some photos of the finished article:

It helps if you use two sets of headers which are the same length :O


Gavin said...

How did you manage to cut the copper track without it all coming off?

Hope it works!

Chris said...

With a sharp enough knife you can cut the outline of the section of track you want to remove. Then with the knife almost horizontal push at the corner of the section and slowly lift up just that small section of track. I didn't experience any problems with track lifting off, except when introducing the soldering iron to very short pieces of track.

I'm still shocked at how much dedicated adapters cost, even for small packages.

Gavin said...

paid a fiver each for the SMD to DIP adapters in my project, from Omega I think they were. Advantage of tyheir ones is one adapter will work with lots of different SMD packages - SOIC, TSSOP etc

Sometimes if you heat trackboard too much it melts the glue that holds the copper to the mica or whatever it is, causing it to lift off.

Vinod said...
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