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Here We Go - My First Newbie Question

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  • w6ids
    First off, Happy New Year from our home to all of yours! Secondly, I have a question regarding SMT assembly as a hobbiest. My experience with SMT was quite
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 1, 2007
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      First off, Happy New Year from our home to all of yours!

      Secondly, I have a question regarding SMT assembly as a
      hobbiest. My experience with SMT was quite some time
      back and involved commercial environments to include
      SMT component placement and ovens of the commercial
      level. Inspection used "stereo scopes" to inspect filets,
      flow, etc.

      That said, just what are you folks doing to properly install
      and solder the components to the board(s)? Do you bring
      the kitchen oven or toaster oven up to around 375 Deg F
      with a dial/digital thermometer inside or ??? Hmmm, I'm
      wondering if I need to spend a couple of hundred dollars
      for a suitable oven for the bench top?

      How are you applying solder paste without considerable
      waste? Do you perform a post-solder fluxing step?

      How are the hobby assemblers inspecting their work?
      Personally, my eyesight at 62 is just not good enough to
      simply eyeball solder quality in SMT applications.

      What happens if there is a component shift during the
      soldering creating misalignment or perhaps there is a
      solder bridge or two?

      How much difficulty is experienced doing PCBs that have
      components on both sides?

      That's it for now. Many thanks in advance for helping with
      my learning curve.

      Regards,

      Howard W6IDS
      Richmond, IN
    • Jerry Flanders
      I didn t need any oven, solder paste or any special technique - I got a strap-on magnifier thingie like
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 1, 2007
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        I didn't need any oven, solder paste or any special technique - I got a
        strap-on magnifier thingie like

        <http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=37586>http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=37586

        from my local Harbor Freight store and used a 100 watt lamp a foot
        away from the board for light. Then a spool of thin (.032) solder and
        my small soldering iron (mine is temp controlled) is all I needed to
        put my SR40 kit together. Worked first time!

        Get that strap-on magnifier and have at it - it is easier than you might think.

        Jerry W4UK

        At 10:44 AM 1/1/2007, you wrote:


        >First off, Happy New Year from our home to all of yours!
        >
        >Secondly, I have a question regarding SMT assembly as a
        >hobbiest. My experience with SMT was quite some time
        >back and involved commercial environments to include
        >SMT component placement and ovens of the commercial
        >level. Inspection used "stereo scopes" to inspect filets,
        >flow, etc.
        >
        >That said, just what are you folks doing to properly install
        >and solder the components to the board(s)? Do you bring
        >the kitchen oven or toaster oven up to around 375 Deg F
        >with a dial/digital thermometer inside or ??? Hmmm, I'm
        >wondering if I need to spend a couple of hundred dollars
        >for a suitable oven for the bench top?
        >
        >How are you applying solder paste without considerable
        >waste? Do you perform a post-solder fluxing step?
        >
        >How are the hobby assemblers inspecting their work?
        >Personally, my eyesight at 62 is just not good enough to
        >simply eyeball solder quality in SMT applications.
        >
        >What happens if there is a component shift during the
        >soldering creating misalignment or perhaps there is a
        >solder bridge or two?
        >
        >How much difficulty is experienced doing PCBs that have
        >components on both sides?
        >
        >That's it for now. Many thanks in advance for helping with
        >my learning curve.
        >
        >Regards,
        >
        >Howard W6IDS
        >Richmond, IN
      • Graham Haddock
        Howard: So far, I have not used or had to use an oven. I use a short conical point controlled temp (700 deg F) soldering iron, 0.015 dia Kester 44 solder, a
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 1, 2007
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          Howard:

          So far, I have not used or had to use an oven.

          I use a short conical point controlled temp (700 deg F)
          soldering iron, 0.015 dia Kester 44 solder, a lighted
          ring magnifying lens/lamp (for assembly), and a
          4X jewelers eye loope for inspection. For removing
          excess solder and bridges, use small size solder-wick.

          Use fine tweezers for holding and placing the chip parts.

          Anti-static mat and wrist strap for assembly of anything
          that is static sensitive.

          There are several tutorials on the web about hand assembly
          of SMT parts.

          For chip C and R, I put a small dot of solder on the board
          on one end, hold the part with tweezers while I reflow the
          solder with the soldering iron on that end. When the part
          is where I want it, go the the other end and solder it.

          For ICs, put a small solder dot on the board for one corner
          pin, hold the IC with tweezers until correct placement and
          then melt the solder at that first pin. If necessary, twist the
          IC slightly to get all pins to register, then solder one
          pin diagonally across the IC. Double check all registration.
          Adjust if necessary by melting solder at one or the other
          of the two soldered pins.
          If registration is OK, go down the row of pins on all sides
          soldering the pins. Excess solder and pin to pin bridges
          is OK at this point, most important is to solder each pin.
          Then, with solder wick, go back down each row and pick up
          the excess solder, and any bridges. You can get very a
          good looking IC installation this way.

          If you try to individually solder the pins on a fine pitch
          IC without pin to pin shorts, you will go nuts. The trick
          is to put a little extra solder on the pins, get good solder
          joints,don't care about bridges, then pick it up later with
          the solder wick

          --- Graham

          ==

          w6ids wrote:
          >
          >
          > First off, Happy New Year from our home to all of yours!
          >
          > Secondly, I have a question regarding SMT assembly as a
          > hobbiest. My experience with SMT was quite some time
          > back and involved commercial environments to include
          > SMT component placement and ovens of the commercial
          > level. Inspection used "stereo scopes" to inspect filets,
          > flow, etc.
          >
          > That said, just what are you folks doing to properly install
          > and solder the components to the board(s)? Do you bring
          > the kitchen oven or toaster oven up to around 375 Deg F
          > with a dial/digital thermometer inside or ??? Hmmm, I'm
          > wondering if I need to spend a couple of hundred dollars
          > for a suitable oven for the bench top?
          >
          > How are you applying solder paste without considerable
          > waste? Do you perform a post-solder fluxing step?
          >
          > How are the hobby assemblers inspecting their work?
          > Personally, my eyesight at 62 is just not good enough to
          > simply eyeball solder quality in SMT applications.
          >
          > What happens if there is a component shift during the
          > soldering creating misalignment or perhaps there is a
          > solder bridge or two?
          >
          > How much difficulty is experienced doing PCBs that have
          > components on both sides?
          >
          > That's it for now. Many thanks in advance for helping with
          > my learning curve.
          >
          > Regards,
          >
          > Howard W6IDS
          > Richmond, IN
          >
          > __._,_.
          >
          >
        • KD5NWA
          ... Below is a link to a tutorial on using a toaster oven to solder double-sided SMT boards. On the article is a link to sites with tutorials on two other
          Message 4 of 7 , Jan 1, 2007
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            w6ids wrote:
            > First off, Happy New Year from our home to all of yours!
            >
            > Secondly, I have a question regarding SMT assembly as a
            > hobbiest. My experience with SMT was quite some time
            > back and involved commercial environments to include
            > SMT component placement and ovens of the commercial
            > level. Inspection used "stereo scopes" to inspect filets,
            > flow, etc.
            >
            > That said, just what are you folks doing to properly install
            > and solder the components to the board(s)? Do you bring
            > the kitchen oven or toaster oven up to around 375 Deg F
            > with a dial/digital thermometer inside or ??? Hmmm, I'm
            > wondering if I need to spend a couple of hundred dollars
            > for a suitable oven for the bench top?
            >
            > How are you applying solder paste without considerable
            > waste? Do you perform a post-solder fluxing step?
            >
            > How are the hobby assemblers inspecting their work?
            > Personally, my eyesight at 62 is just not good enough to
            > simply eyeball solder quality in SMT applications.
            >
            > What happens if there is a component shift during the
            > soldering creating misalignment or perhaps there is a
            > solder bridge or two?
            >
            > How much difficulty is experienced doing PCBs that have
            > components on both sides?
            >
            > That's it for now. Many thanks in advance for helping with
            > my learning curve.
            >
            > Regards,
            >
            > Howard W6IDS
            > Richmond, IN
            >

            Below is a link to a tutorial on using a toaster oven to solder
            double-sided SMT boards. On the article is a link to sites with
            tutorials on two other methods, "embossing air gun" and a "skillet"
            method for single sided boards only. Cash Olsen's site makes available
            small quantities of soldering paste, it goes a long way.

            You should never use a oven or a skillet for cooking food once you have
            soldered boards in it, unlike you like the idea of lead poisoning and
            insanity. A gas oven would be useless anyway since to solder the parts
            and not damage them you temperature must be controlled and go up at a
            controlled rate, a large home oven is not capable of doing that.


            < URL:http://www.hpsdr.com/Public/Projects/SMT/SMT.html >

            --

            Cecil
            KD5NWA
            www.qrpradio.com www.hpsdr.com

            "Sacred Cows make the best Hamburger!" Don Seglio Batuna
          • FRANCIS CARCIA
            I lay a hunk of solder next to the first joint so there is a bit of flux to make the connection. Graham Haddock wrote: Howard:
            Message 5 of 7 , Jan 1, 2007
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              I lay a hunk of solder next to the first joint so there is a bit of flux to make the connection.

              Graham Haddock <GrahamH@...> wrote:
              Howard:

              So far, I have not used or had to use an oven.

              I use a short conical point controlled temp (700 deg F)
              soldering iron, 0.015 dia Kester 44 solder, a lighted
              ring magnifying lens/lamp (for assembly), and a
              4X jewelers eye loope for inspection. For removing
              excess solder and bridges, use small size solder-wick.

              Use fine tweezers for holding and placing the chip parts.

              Anti-static mat and wrist strap for assembly of anything
              that is static sensitive.

              There are several tutorials on the web about hand assembly
              of SMT parts.

              For chip C and R, I put a small dot of solder on the board
              on one end, hold the part with tweezers while I reflow the
              solder with the soldering iron on that end. When the part
              is where I want it, go the the other end and solder it.

              For ICs, put a small solder dot on the board for one corner
              pin, hold the IC with tweezers until correct placement and
              then melt the solder at that first pin. If necessary, twist the
              IC slightly to get all pins to register, then solder one
              pin diagonally across the IC. Double check all registration.
              Adjust if necessary by melting solder at one or the other
              of the two soldered pins.
              If registration is OK, go down the row of pins on all sides
              soldering the pins. Excess solder and pin to pin bridges
              is OK at this point, most important is to solder each pin.
              Then, with solder wick, go back down each row and pick up
              the excess solder, and any bridges. You can get very a
              good looking IC installation this way.

              If you try to individually solder the pins on a fine pitch
              IC without pin to pin shorts, you will go nuts. The trick
              is to put a little extra solder on the pins, get good solder
              joints,don't care about bridges, then pick it up later with
              the solder wick

              --- Graham

              ==

              w6ids wrote:
              >
              >
              > First off, Happy New Year from our home to all of yours!
              >
              > Secondly, I have a question regarding SMT assembly as a
              > hobbiest. My experience with SMT was quite some time
              > back and involved commercial environments to include
              > SMT component placement and ovens of the commercial
              > level. Inspection used "stereo scopes" to inspect filets,
              > flow, etc.
              >
              > That said, just what are you folks doing to properly install
              > and solder the components to the board(s)? Do you bring
              > the kitchen oven or toaster oven up to around 375 Deg F
              > with a dial/digital thermometer inside or ??? Hmmm, I'm
              > wondering if I need to spend a couple of hundred dollars
              > for a suitable oven for the bench top?
              >
              > How are you applying solder paste without considerable
              > waste? Do you perform a post-solder fluxing step?
              >
              > How are the hobby assemblers inspecting their work?
              > Personally, my eyesight at 62 is just not good enough to
              > simply eyeball solder quality in SMT applications.
              >
              > What happens if there is a component shift during the
              > soldering creating misalignment or perhaps there is a
              > solder bridge or two?
              >
              > How much difficulty is experienced doing PCBs that have
              > components on both sides?
              >
              > That's it for now. Many thanks in advance for helping with
              > my learning curve.
              >
              > Regards,
              >
              > Howard W6IDS
              > Richmond, IN
              >
              > __._,_.
              >
              >


            • Bill Dumke
              Howard, Use plenty of rosin flux. You can buy it from DigiKey or Mouser in a syringe. You can also apply it with a toothpick. I put some on each pad I am going
              Message 6 of 7 , Jan 1, 2007
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                Howard,

                Use plenty of rosin flux.  You can buy it from DigiKey or Mouser in a syringe. You can also apply it with a toothpick. I put some on each pad I am going to solder.  Then after I am done soldering, I wash the flux off with CRC Brakleen, the red can version.  But do it out of doors.  You can get this at any auto parts store.  It works great on rosin flux.  The old fashioned flux cleaners such as trichlor are difficult to get these days due to health risks.  And I have found the expensive electronics supply house flux cleaners don't work any better than Brakleen, anyway.  A side benefit of washing the flux off is you can detect the solder bridges a lot easier, as well as giving more integrity to high impedance and low capacitance circuits.  You can also use a Q-tip swap to help clean up as well. 

                Bill WA9PWR

                w6ids wrote:


                First off, Happy New Year from our home to all of yours!

                Secondly, I have a question regarding SMT assembly as a
                hobbiest. My experience with SMT was quite some time
                back and involved commercial environments to include
                SMT component placement and ovens of the commercial
                level. Inspection used "stereo scopes" to inspect filets,
                flow, etc.

                That said, just what are you folks doing to properly install
                and solder the components to the board(s)? Do you bring
                the kitchen oven or toaster oven up to around 375 Deg F
                with a dial/digital thermometer inside or ??? Hmmm, I'm
                wondering if I need to spend a couple of hundred dollars
                for a suitable oven for the bench top?

                How are you applying solder paste without considerable
                waste? Do you perform a post-solder fluxing step?

                How are the hobby assemblers inspecting their work?
                Personally, my eyesight at 62 is just not good enough to
                simply eyeball solder quality in SMT applications.

                What happens if there is a component shift during the
                soldering creating misalignment or perhaps there is a
                solder bridge or two?

                How much difficulty is experienced doing PCBs that have
                components on both sides?

                That's it for now. Many thanks in advance for helping with
                my learning curve.

                Regards,

                Howard W6IDS
                Richmond, IN

              • kerrygeek1
                I used the method on Cash Olsen s web site using the hot air gun, solder paste and a coffee cup warmer. I got the heat gun locally on sale at Hobby Lobby for
                Message 7 of 7 , Jan 1, 2007
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                  I used the method on Cash Olsen's web site using the hot air gun,
                  solder paste and a coffee cup warmer. I got the heat gun locally on
                  sale at Hobby Lobby for $12 and the cup warmer at Walgreen's for
                  $3.00. I ordered the solder paste from Cash on his web site, so far
                  we've used it to build 2 boards and haven't even made a dent in it.

                  I'm no spring chicken either (47 next month) but a pair of cheapo
                  reading glasses (also from Walgreen's) and a gooseneck light clamped
                  to the edge of the desk was all I needed. I borrowed a lid of a cake
                  pan to keep the parts from rolling off the desk, it's now back in the
                  kitchen and my wife didn't even miss it.

                  Don't worry about the smt parts, I was sweating it but it was actually
                  the easiest part of the project. I was wishing more of the board was
                  SMT. The other parts took much longer than the SMT parts.

                  73,
                  Kerry


                  --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "w6ids" <w6ids@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > First off, Happy New Year from our home to all of yours!
                  >
                  > Secondly, I have a question regarding SMT assembly as a
                  > hobbiest. My experience with SMT was quite some time
                  > back and involved commercial environments to include
                  > SMT component placement and ovens of the commercial
                  > level. Inspection used "stereo scopes" to inspect filets,
                  > flow, etc.
                  >
                  > That said, just what are you folks doing to properly install
                  > and solder the components to the board(s)? Do you bring
                  > the kitchen oven or toaster oven up to around 375 Deg F
                  > with a dial/digital thermometer inside or ??? Hmmm, I'm
                  > wondering if I need to spend a couple of hundred dollars
                  > for a suitable oven for the bench top?
                  >
                  > How are you applying solder paste without considerable
                  > waste? Do you perform a post-solder fluxing step?
                  >
                  > How are the hobby assemblers inspecting their work?
                  > Personally, my eyesight at 62 is just not good enough to
                  > simply eyeball solder quality in SMT applications.
                  >
                  > What happens if there is a component shift during the
                  > soldering creating misalignment or perhaps there is a
                  > solder bridge or two?
                  >
                  > How much difficulty is experienced doing PCBs that have
                  > components on both sides?
                  >
                  > That's it for now. Many thanks in advance for helping with
                  > my learning curve.
                  >
                  > Regards,
                  >
                  > Howard W6IDS
                  > Richmond, IN
                  >
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