Letters: Drag-soldering small pitch TQFP packages is easy

Don writesL

Firstly , let me thank you again for my free coupon . My item which I ordered with the coupon arrived today.

You sent me a follow up mail saying to send a picture of my finished board to get a replacement free coupon.
Thats not too easy for me to do because I didnt get a free PCB with the coupon, I chose instead the practice chips
which i figured was the best option for my first try. You see , I am in the older age group . I am in my 60’s and retired from work now . The problem as you age is your eye sight starts to fail and your hands get very shaky. I am ok with
through hole components and DIL chips but I worried that SMD’s such as SOIC and worse still TQFP might be beyond my capabilities. Thats why I decided the practice chips might be a good option .

While I waited for the chips to arrive I designed a small PCB on Kicad that would give me the footprints I needed for SMD devices and I had Seeed Studio make the boards for me ( I have attached pictures of the board ).
I have looked at the chips and although most of them are either the wrong footprint for my board or the pins were a bit mangled in the post but I was able to use an SOIC and a 64pin TQFP which are the sizes I most wanted to use.

I couldnt believe how easily they went on the board. Instead of trying to solder one pin at a time I followed a you tube video which showed how to do it by applying flux and then running the tinned iron allong all the pins . I didnt even have to use solder wick as there were no bridges at all. So now thanks to your coupon I am no longer worried about soldering SMDs .

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  1. Nice board, any chance in releasing the gerbers? I think many could benifit from practizing on these board.

    Note: there are some practize chips in the pcb store!

  2. Looks very neat!

    And this was the very first try, you say? That’s encouraging to hear, perhaps taking a stab at something like a breakout board wouldn’t be completely crazy after all. (Although I wouldn’t mind a practice board like the one you had made either.)

  3. Great job, Don, that is awesome. I have only just recently tried smd soldering after thinking it was too hard. At this point I have only done a little bit, but I found it easier than through hole, at least quicker. I haven’t tried drag soldering, yet, but I still have some chips that I can test with.

  4. I agree with Don on the fear of starting my first smd project. When you ship out these bags how about including a couple 0402, 0603 and 0804 devices so we really can get practise on all kinds of smd. Im sure you have lots of loose ones laying around that fell out of their tape strip.

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