learning how to sold SMD

Discussion in 'Homebrew and Kit Projects' started by KC6DSE, Apr 19, 2012.

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  1. KC6DSE

    KC6DSE Ham Member QRZ Page

    How would you go about learning how to solder surface mount kits? I have this kit from KD1JV, but I'm scared I will scorch the pcb since I'm not well practiced. Any suggestions? I have a Haako iron meant for this type of work. Not sure what type of tip I should use etc.
  2. KF5FEI

    KF5FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    SMD work is more about having a steady hand and being able to place the part accurately and apply the solder sparingly. I actually solder some pretty small parts with a fairly large tip -- although some folks do better with a long, tiny, pointy tip. Here is a good tutorial video.

  3. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

  4. KD0CAC

    KD0CAC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Also keep an eye out for free stuff at ham fests , for practice , so no cost while learning .
    And who knows , you may fix a dead item and be able to sell , or give away .
    Watch out , you may get hooked , bring home a lot of dead gear , and never shop for new again .
    Unless you do well , start making money to pay for the hobby :)
    Do not believe when you hear , that there is no free lunch , you could have your cake / rig and eat / operate it too .
  5. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The key is to clean components and use plenty of good quality Flux.

    The solder will flow to your connections and the flux will prevent solder bridges.

    Practice makes perfect. Do not give up.
  6. KF5FEI

    KF5FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Worth noting the flux they use for surface mount is not the same as the rosin flux you use for regular soldering. You can buy a flux pen (like a paint marker, but with flux instead of paint) and it will make things a bit easier, especially on the really small stuff.
  7. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've been at it a few decades (literally). I've hand-soldered a few hundred thousand SMT components. More than a few of those have been quite a challenge. I agree with most of the advice presented. Aside from choosing suitable soldering "weapons", it takes a bit of practice. I suggest you practice on something that won't matter if you destroy it. THEN you can confidently solder things that do matter.
  8. AB9LZ

    AB9LZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Solder bridges are usually the biggest problem, be sure to use your continuity tester to check for unxepected shorts after you install each component. Along with a good pair of tweezers, a really fine point awl is handy to have around to pick at potential problem area's.

    73 m/4
  9. N5CEY

    N5CEY Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you plan on doing a lot of smt work, it would be worth your while to get a hot air gun (specifically meant for smt), and solder PASTE. makes the job infinitely easier - the solder just flows to the joints when it melts. We did a couple hundred quad 100 pin flat pack uP's that way with no problems - but as other folks have said, it takes practice.
  10. NA7U

    NA7U Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah, the problem with practicing is that you need both a part and a PCB that matches. Perhaps you could find some non-working board with SMD parts on it and remove them with solder wick, then re-solder them just to get a feel for it. The Hakko is a very good iron, I'd suggest about 300-350C for the heat setting. Use either a small chisel tip or better yet I think Hakko has a chisel tip with a concave end that will hold a small blog of solder well. There are a couple of really good SMD soldering videos linked on my blog (below) in the third post down.
  11. KB4QAA

    KB4QAA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

  12. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    That is some cool stuff.

    Thank You for sharing.

  13. KC6DSE

    KC6DSE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Any suggestions on a tip number to get started? I know the shape you are talking about, but I believe I just have a pencil tip that it came with.
  14. KB4QAA

    KB4QAA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Another hint for SMD soldering. Professional stations often have a 'pre-warming plate" that the PCB is placed on. This warms a large area of the board so that there is not so much heat shock, it keeps the items to be worked on at a higher ambient temp so less time is needed with the soldering device.

    The poor man's method is to use a "coffee mug warmer". Eight to fifteen dollars is typical price. Shop for end of winter bargains. An old drip type coffee maker would work too, and have a larger plate area. Cut off the un-needed water reservoir.
  15. N0SYA

    N0SYA Ham Member QRZ Page

    The first rule of smt fight club is do not sneeze.
  16. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I keep forgetting about Spark Fun. they are a greally good resource.
    I'm not so big on Instructables their site is hard to read and not so user friendly.
  17. KB4QAA

    KB4QAA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yeah, Instructables is kinda hit or miss; but it gets the idea across.

    The project I really think is elegant is the fellow that shows how to use a PIC to control the oven temperature and follow the manufacturers processing times and temps. It's slick!
  18. KF5FEI

    KF5FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, using solder paste and an oven makes a better-looking board, but if you have an issue, you still need good hand-assembly skilz to fix the problem. Hendricks makes a good QRP dummy load kit for cheap that would give you some good practice.
  19. AC0FP

    AC0FP Ham Member QRZ Page

    The tip that comes with the Hakko is a general purpose tip for SMD work. If you can find it get some Kester "44" rosin core solder, .025" diameter. I prefer the SN63PB37 type that I've been using for 30 years of SMD work. I set my Hakko at 360 degrees C.

  20. KC6DSE

    KC6DSE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Did you miss my question? Maybe you just aren't familiar with my particular iron. I have the FX-951. There are so many tips I'm lost.
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