Art and Technology are Friends

Posts tagged “Soldering

T962A Reflow Oven Hack Instructables

Recently purchased T962A reflow oven. There were a couple of issues that I dealt with. Please see the Instructable on what I did.

- See the Instructable

Aurora 12 bar – All Through-Hole, All New

Aurora 12 bar is a simple, straight line RGB LED sequencer/chaser. Aurora 12 bar’s hardware is almost identical to Aurora mini 18. In fact only difference are (besides their shapes) the number of LEDs and the microcontroller that they use. Oh, and Aurora 12 bar doesn’t use a single SMT (surface mount technology) part!

In addition to all the animations that other Aurora’s can do, Aurora 12 bar also has the analog input ready. By hooking up to Audio Interface, you can turn Aurora 12 bar into a full-color sound/VU meter!

- Aurora 12 bar Schematics

Video and Instructables are in the works, however the kits and PCBs are ready to go.

- Purchase here.

SMT Soldering 101

I get a lot of questions regarding surface mount soldering. The thing is, with the right tools and a bit of practice, SMT (Surface Mount Technology) soldering is really not difficult.

First, please view this excellent video created by (no affiliation. I just like this video very much). I’ve been doing SMT soldering for a while now, but was very impressed with the techniques shown in this video.

Here’s the list of tools/material you need:

  • Temperature controlled soldering iron/station (such as Hakko FX-888. Standard size tip works fine.)
  • Thin soldering wire – 0.015 inch (0.4 mm)
    Regular 0.03 inch (1 mm) gauge solder wire is too thick for small SMDs. A very common problem with SMT soldering is to apply too much solder. Small parts like 0603 resister only need tiny amount of solder.
  • Flux – pen type flux such as Kester 951 recommended. Apply generously – it will dry out quickly and does not harm the PCB.
  • Tweezers with small tips – get a good pair that’s confortable to use.
  • Magnifying glass – you can’t solder if you can’t see. I wear magnifier visor (OptiVisor #4).
  • Good lighting – you need much brighter lighting then reading a book to see the small details of SMT soldering.
  • Solder wick – as excess solder is the enemy of good SMT soldering, you need solder wick to remove excess solder. Perfectly soldering fine pitch packages like QFP is very unlikely without a help of solder wick. Thinner one like 1.5 mm wide is easier to use.

Traditional through hole technology is phasing out, and so many new devices are not offered in through hole style. Learn to solder SMT will broaden your choices.

(Let me know if I forgot to add anything here.)