Surface mount resources

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Surface mount resources

 


 

Professional tools for assembling surface mount printed circuit boards can be expensive as commercial surface mount electronics can use very expensive components and employ densely packed pcb designs.  In school however, surface mount assembly using low cost components and less densely packed designs is a real possibility using low cost equipment.  Indeed such an approach can lead to smaller circuit boards and make CAD designed/3D printed enclosures cost effective and result in final products of retail quality.

 

Hot-air rework station

The ‘soldering iron’ for surface mount components.  It allows you to assemble a pcb component by component.  This is an essential tool for removing surface mount components; it enables you to heat all the leads on a component, including integrated circuits, at the same time.  More expensive units have digital readout for more consistent temperature and air flow setting.  These are available from www.pcb-soldering.co.uk

Part No: SI-8208 £39.09

Part No: SI-850A £56.48

Part No: SI-852A £65.17

 

Illuminated bench magnifiers

Make part placement much easier than working with the naked eye.  They are available from most electronic component suppliers. But a good, low cost one is available from: www.pcb-soldering.co.uk

 

Part No: SI-929 £14.42

 

Toaster ovens

Make a convenient reflow-oven at a fraction of the cost.  A good small oven is available from: www.mutr.co.uk

Part No: 322-001 £30.24

 

An alternative low cost toaster oven is also available from: www.electronelec.co.uk This is a smaller oven than the one above so it can only really do one PCB at a time (due to temperature variation inside the oven).  Larger toaster ovens form retail shops have also been found to be suitable but they need to have a top and bottom heater.

 

Part No: 170-075 £19.90

 

A proper reflow oven with programmed temperature profile is available from: www.pcb-soldering.co.uk

 

Part No: SI-REFLOW £586.91

 

Thermocouple thermometer

 

Provides a convenient way of ensuring consistency in heating pasted PCBs to the melting point of solder.  The following instrument is not only a thermometer but also a multimeter.  It is available from www.rapidonline.co.uk

 

Part No: 85-0721 £17.83

 

Alternatively from www.electronelec.co.uk

Part No: 585-503 £14.90

 

Magnifier glass

To help spot hard to see problems such as IC feet not touching pads available from: www.rapidonline.com

 

Part No: 52-0344 £1.87

 

Solder wick

To remove surplus solder from shorted IC pins available from: www.rapidonline.com

 

Part No: 85-0625 £0.85

 

Solder paste

Is expensive if you purchase ready filled syringes.  It is much better to fill you own; at the much lower cost you can avoid bottlenecks in the classroom by having a number available for students to use.  The toxicity of lead and the ease with which paste can contaminate students and their workspace is such that leaded paste should not be used with younger students.  If used at all, it should be under strictly controlled conditions.  Lead-free solder paste works really well although more care in heating is needed because of the higher melting point.  It is available from www.electronelec.co.uk

 

Part No Ref: 170-180 £11.75

 

 

Lead free solder paste is also available in 250g containers from: www.wharton-metals.co.uk

 

Part No: P2006 TSC £29.90

 

Syringes

Supplied ready filled are usually 5ml size.  However, 3ml syringes are easier to use because they give higher extrusion pressure (due to smaller plunger area); they are available from: www.electronelec.co.uk

Part No: 170-186 £0.20

 

Syringe nozzles

Come in a variety of aperture sizes.  The smaller the aperture the more precisely the paste can be applied to the PCB.  But this is at a cost because small apertures block more easily. The following nozzle gives a very fine bead when used with the lead free paste above.  After a few days on the shelf, the nozzle may require unblocking with a fine wire.  Alternatively the tip can be cut with a scalpel to make the aperture slightly larger.  Available from: www.electronelec.co.uk

 

Part No: 170-185 £0.23

 

Tweezers

Essential for handling small surface mount components are available from: www.electronelec.co.uk

 

Part No: 590-037 £3.49