Thursday, July 21, 2005
Luke Enriquez, VK3EM, has published a 101 level discussion of soldering SMT projects in A Guide to prototyping with surface mount technology (SMT) - HTML Version. (Also available as a PDF file.)
- invest in a really good pair of tweezers. However, other people, including (I think) KD1JV, have suggested using a toothpick dipped in beeswax as the easiest way of handling SMT components. In particular, an accident with tweezers will send the components flying off into never-never land. Hmm: would soldering flux be a good replacement for beeswax? By the way, having tweezers on hand is essential anyway, in case you have to desolder a component.
- Luke recommends LMP - low melting point - solder to avoid frying components. He goes on to define LMP solder as the 2% silver variety. That doesn't sound quite right. Although I've seen a lot of people recommend silver-bearing solder recently, the solder makers do NOT show it melting at lower temperatures. More on this later, in a post about Indium Corporation.
- cream solder is not as good as wire solder for hand soldering with an iron; the shelf life is short, and it is easy to boil the water in the cream and splatter tiny solder balls which can cause shorts.