SMT.. for prototyping?

So, like any of you, I cruise eBay and other places on occasion looking for those awesome little finds when it comes to parts. Especially in these economic times, many companies dump excess inventories to make cash. However, these days that’s also a bit of a problem, isn’t it?

I see SMD/SMT (Surface Mount) stuff that is pennies on the dollar… components at ridiculous prices… except for that little problem… I can’t imaging how I (as a hobbyist) would use them in a prototype environment. As far as I am aware of, the only way to use surface mount devices is well… to mount them to a surface (like a circuit board), and these devices are TINY to boot, eyes are gimpy enough already as it is. Mess around with strobes and power LED’s for an hour in a dark room, then try to even find the BIN that the surface mount stuff is in, nevermind the subatomic markings on the beasties… and I really don’t want to make pcb’s for discrete components. I’d be doing the marker-and-tupperware method, again, far too much grief. My ability to solder bridge rivals the Golden Gate even with normal components, I cringe at the thought of those spacings and heat tolerances. As I understand, you use an oven for best results, but I digress… I want a socket.

When I build things, I use solderless breadboards- perfect- except that you need standard-lead components- which are substantially more costly.

What I am wondering is if there exists an “adapter” jobbie that can be used with SMD devices, to allow them to be used on a breadboard? What I am envisioning would simply be a press-in (or “zif”?) socket that accommodates standard discrete component SMD devices and brings them out to standard breadboardable leads. You pop in the value of SMD capacitor, say, and there you go. The adapter would of course need to be easily re-used and cheap to make it worthwhile… so I’d think that even 2-4 lead components max would open up a whole lot of this stuff for experimenter/hobby use. I know there are chip adapters, and they tend to be very expensive… not worth it, in most case, in my opinion. I’m talking about something that would have to retail for under a dollar to make it worth purchasing, more like twenty-five cents. Since most projects really only actually require a dozen components at most, let’s say that as a hobbyist I’d pay $5 for a set of a dozen, knowing that I can save a minor fortune by buying a SMT resistor assortment for pennies, etc. The re-use is key. I’ve never seen something like this.

Thoughts? Does this exist in a usable form?

There are things like these for ICs:

But at at least 60$ each, I’m guessing it’s probably not a good option.

Haven’t seen anything for other components (resistors, caps, etc.)

I dunno if this would work, but couldn’t you solder wire leads onto smd components? For small ones like resistors and caps.

Resistors and caps are not the most important things, but IC’s, more and more the best ones are SMD’s and not DIP’s or variants of DIP packages, more than 40 legs means SMD, and in the micro-controller world that means that all the really good chips are smd’s ones.

SOIC Programming Adapters, SOIC to DIP Adapters

I’m tried to barter this part’s at forum.If someone interest and have spare part of that ,I’ll be glad to barter or trade.


Does the low price of this item change your mindset of re-using?

The instruction says you can cut the board in half to use as two boards for smaller chips.
I have not used any surface mount ICs yet but will give it a try sometime.

Heh, looks like I am not the only one that has a need for this kinda stuff on the cheap…unfortunately, also looks unlikely that there’s a very good solution at hand either. I’ve not considered (duh) simply soldering leads to smt components as an option, really- I always thought there would be mechanical strength issues.

You having any luck Jeckson? Don’t be discouraged by the rather - ahem - unhelpful folks over there, sorry to say that there are some unpleasant people who offer nothing but negative remarks. Don’t let that poster discourage you, I’ve dealt with him (and the site) in the past. Given the general “tone” of the site, it’s easy to become discouraged by the people over there… They are as helpful to newcomers and hobbyists as a firm kick to the groin, sadly. Happily, I found the Arduino site, otherwise I might have given up on microcontroller development entirely. Have you considered selling the items you have on Ebay and just purchasing the items you need, or is the cost differential going to be too high?

I’m hoping you get some luck over here :wink: … two sites dedicated to the same (hardware) platform, and they couldn’t be more different… methinks the actual site dedicate to AVR’s is here, and the Freaks part… they are welcome to and own…

I wish you the best of luck, I would think that somewhere might have the parts you need… as well as a need for the items you have. You are tossing it out pretty often, so it should show up in seaches… now it’s probably best to see if you get any takers.

Off to plug something into something else that shouldn’t be connected to the first thing in the first place…

Ebay has plenty of breakout boards for different surface mount components. Search for things like breakout board, surface mount board, 20 pin soic, etc.

Also more and more companies are developing perf board like prototyping boards for surface mount stuff.

How about Schmartboard? They allow you to solder SMT components onto carriers by using very thick soldermask as a guide for the pins, like fitting a key in a lock. No worry about misalignment. You then reflow the pads using a soldering iron and you have your own breakout board.

Here’s an example for 1.27mm SO packages:

The Rugged Motor Driver: two H-bridges, more power than an L298, fully protected

You can buy breakout boards from a lot of places and I’d say that soldering SMD is a good skill to have. Get some solder braid, flux and a good magnifying stand (preferably with in-built light) and have a go!

I have on a few occasions soldered things such as my DS3231 with a 2mm chisel tip soldering iron and no braid or extra flux. Practice is the key, a steady hand helps but you can rest your hand on the table to keep it steady.

I have recently got hold of a hot plate, going to buy some solder paste and try some stuff with that. You do need some kind of breakout board to solder your components on to (unless they’re larger LEDs, resistors or capacitors in which case you can often manage with just stripboard/protoboard.


Absolutely, I use smt as prototype. It requires making your own boards, usually its much easier as you drill far fewer holes. The key is solder paste.

I only use breadboards to work the software. Sometimes theres a chip where I don’t understand the interrupts or irqs or something. So I set that up in a breadboard to work the software.

Theres no point whatsoever in sketching, etching, designing and building for thru hole parts when production would mean reshifting everything to smt. Basically you are doing everything twice. Prime example: atmega328 in qfp has 2 more pins than the dip version…

I drove past Jameco at lunch and decided to check out their site. And what happened to be featured on their home page today?

P.S. I also see these. A bit pricey at $1.55 ea for 10 but wondering if you could fit SMD resistors across the gap.

I know, neither of these is really reusable but just found it interesting.

My mind kept wandering back to this and I decided to try something.

I don’t have any surface mount resistors but I did have some LEDs lying around. I put this together and took pictures in less than 15 minutes. It’s just 22 gauge wire and some heat shrink. If you sat down for an hour you could probably pop them out in a few minutes each. It’s surprisingly steady once you get the right shape.

!( 1.JPG)

!( 2.JPG)

!( 3.JPG)

!( 4.JPG)

!( 5.JPG)

Now THAT is a hackjob rig… awesome! Not exactly mass production, but it very well could work for those LED’s, resistors, and that sort of thing, as a very short term prototype.

I’ve been rather busy between being a bit under the weather as well as actually having a paying gig over the last few days, doing fashion and advertising photography for an upscale spa. Here’s what’s been capturing my attention instead of breadboards:

SMT resistors, or Heather prancing about at my whim-- not too hard to choose… By the way, for you other photographers out there: two of the four lights used for these shots were 10w LED floodlights, 2700K warm white. The other two are 150 watt Halogens with balanced strobes (Interfit, both with soft boxes). The LED’s are amazing, tons of nice warm light with almost no heat, and no filament to break. By using the LED floods most of the strobe is angled and metered for fill and balance lighting, ISO 200 with a Canon f/1.8 50mm prime (“the nifty fifty”) lens. The unexpected specular flare on the glass behind her in the tree shot is due to bounce from the strobe… they loved the shot anyway, but I hate things like that. A circular polarizer would have helped. The B&W headshot used no strobe at all, just the two LED’s and one of the 150w halogens at about 50% for hair lighting. Aperture fully open at f/1.8, giving that shallow DOF feel from some of those classic 60’s and 70’s shots like were so popular. Not too bad for a self-taught moron like me, if I do say so myself…

Given how well the LED’s work (I’m beginning to prefer them over strobes), I may be building a lighting rig based off them, probably with several RGB power LED’s to provide adjustable color temp accents. Best choice is likely to be a PVC pipe frame and I’ll control the whole mess with the Arduino. If I ever do the project, I’ll write it up.

Thought you guys might appreciate a little eye candy…

Yes, quite a hackjob. But that’s what I’m known for. See my site. It’s from a few years back and not needed now but at the time it was the only option.

And I don’t blame you for your choices. To hack a Princess Bride quote:

You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is “Bro’s before Ho’s” - but only slightly less well-known is this: “Chicks before Chips”.

Or should that have been Ho Ho Ho’s?

Nice pics!