When the MCU in DIP form bacame a Dino !!

Circa 1980

A friend wants a small gadget which he can program to turn something on/off and it should also have a clock display in LED that dims when night falls.

Well its too simple a job for a MCU but still a challenge is a challenge ! SO you pick a 8051 DIP MCU, a general purpose PCB , and other required things like resistors and transistors , LED modules and deliver the finished gadget which did exactly what it was supposed to. Then go out for a beer with the friend. Life was blissfull.

Cut to 2018

No more DIPs . No more normal components. Its all about MCUs which you need a magnifier to read the number and resistors / capacitors which can be picked by tweezers only.

The days of the simple hobbyist and DIY enthu guys are numbered. Now its all about break out boards for what you want to do and in the process it invariably has many parts you dont want and does not have many you do want. SO its a mess of add on boards , connectors and so on.

Is there any way out of this ? I have seen on the web some companies who do SMD pcb even for proto quantities. But then is there anyone who does assembly of these PCB on proto quantities ?

I live in India and can import from anywhere ( if they are willing to ship )

Would be happy to learn the experienec and solutions if any !! Thanks

Mogaraghu:
Cut to 2018

No more DIPs . No more normal components. Its all about MCUs which you need a magnifier to read the number and resistors / capacitors which can be picked by tweezers only.

Thats just not true.

The ATmel processors, used in Arduinos, ATmega328, Atmega 1284P, ATTiny etc are available in DIP, and wired resistors, capacitors and the like are easy to find.

I design a lot of circuit boards. Like 5-10 per year. The services which produce them make them so cheaply now. The amount of product you get for a cheap price is very high - you get solder resist which stops solder sticking anywhere that it shouldn't. You can also get stencils so that SMD paste solder only goes where it should.

I try to avoid using through-hole components on my designs. It's so much quicker and easier to stencil the solder on, place the components and cook the board. A frypan on an electric or gas stove can cook leaded solder easily. I love watching the solder magically pull the components into exact alignment.

So you just need to find a PCB maker and a stencil maker local to you. I'm sure they must exist.

Shop Mouser, Digikey, Sparkfun, etc. There are plenty of through-hole chips and components. There's no Radioshack, but there is Fry's.

ChrisTenone:
Shop Mouser, Digikey, Sparkfun, etc. There are plenty of through-hole chips and components. There's no Radioshack, but there is Fry's.

And in the UK, no more Maplin.

I still remember the days my dad had to make the scary move (for him) from valves to transistors.
I had to move from valves to (germanium) transistors to integrated circuits.
Now (retired age) I mainly use smd components.
The trick is to use the right equipment for your (dis)abilities.
I have a reflow oven and an smd hotplate (prefer the smd hotplate), and a rework station (hot air).
A big white A3 sheet of paper on a well-lit desk (if you drop the critters), a set of smd tweezers, and a magnifier headband are my essentials.
I have several 'hobby projects' per year (latest one), and sometimes make hundreds of boards for clients.
The boards I design are made by a board house.
Biggest hassle is the 2-3 weeks waiting time if you want is cheap.
I use solder stencils for the bigger projects, but otherwise use leaded paste and a toothpick on a slightly warmed board.
SMD is not as hard as you think. You just have to get the experience (and learn from the mistakes).
Ask here for any tips when you're ready to make the move.
Leo..

Otoh, the $30 dip-format arduino BOARDS are about MUCH cheaper than the old 8051 systems, plus the special purpose programmers and etc you needed to program them. And more powerful in almost all conceivable ways…

westfw:
Otoh, the $30 dip-format arduino BOARDS are about MUCH cheaper than the old 8051 systems, plus the special purpose programmers and etc you needed to program them. And more powerful in almost all conceivable ways...

No arguments on all the points you mentioned. But if one were to try to graduate to the ARM processors ( I can almost hear you thinking ... oh what is it that you are going to design that the AVR cannot do ?? :slight_smile: Lets say I want to get my hands on the ARM that everyone seems to be talking about. Thats all.

Then I think DIP is a difficult thing ? Yes there have been lots of suggestions for the SMD pcb design / assembly techniques. But i must admit that these kind of things are not common place in the place where i live ( Chennai - India) and that is the reason I am scouting for resources to design/assemble SMD pcbs

For ARM, there are still plenty of inexpensive modules in dip format: arduino MKR series, PJRC teensy 3.x, adafruit feather and itsy-bitty, various Maple-mini and “blue pill” clones, various vendor eval boards...

I don’t know anything about international availability, but I find it hard to believe that these are any more difficult to get than an 8051 in the early 1980s. (The 51 came out in 80. I don’t recall how long it took them to reach “mere mortals” - I checked a 1980 Byte magazine, and it had no 8051s. (There were some 8048s, and some really depressing EPROM prices ($30 for a 2kbyte 2716...))

westfw:
For ARM, there are still plenty of inexpensive modules in dip format: arduino MKR series, PJRC teensy 3.x, adafruit feather and itsy-bitty, various Maple-mini and “blue pill” clones, various vendor eval boards...

I don’t know anything about international availability, but I find it hard to believe that these are any more difficult to get than an 8051 in the early 1980s. (The 51 came out in 80. I don’t recall how long it took them to reach “mere mortals” - I checked a 1980 Byte magazine, and it had no 8051s. (There were some 8048s, and some really depressing EPROM prices ($30 for a 2kbyte 2716...))

Was I asleep during the 80s? I remember the 8085, then the Z80, then the 6502, then the 68000, then all of a sudden it was all RISC an CISC, and Power this, and that Core, and ...

When AVR came along, it was so refreshing. Everything there in one chip, 8 bits, nice and easy to grasp ...

So if I had stuck with microcontrollers (ie 8051, etc.) this would all be just evolutionary and banal?

Mogaraghu:
Then I think DIP is a difficult thing ?

Nope, DIP is easy.

Cut to 2018

No more DIPs . No more normal components. Its all about MCUs which you need a magnifier to read the number and resistors / capacitors which can be picked by tweezers only

Thats just not true at all.

Think about the probable size of an Atmega 2560 in DIP format. :slight_smile:

...R

So if I had stuck with microcontrollers (ie 8051, etc.) this would all be just evolutionary and banal?

It would have been possible to pursue a career that focused entirely on microcontrollers (where I define those as single chips with data memory, program memory, and some form of IO, all on a single chip.)
It was pretty painful before 1993, when the first microcontrollers with Flash or EEPROM program memory became available...
Before that, your choices were expensive windowed ceramic DIPs with UV-eraseable EPROM memory, or multi-chip systems - the average 8051 development system used external memory, making a minimum system something like 5 or 6 chips. PJRC (of Teensy fame) used to sell an 8051 development board that was pretty representative of the pre-arduino, pre-USB era (it has flash (a separate chip), making it better than most):

Mogaraghu:
No arguments on all the points you mentioned. But if one were to try to graduate to the ARM processors ( I can almost hear you thinking … oh what is it that you are going to design that the AVR cannot do ?? :slight_smile: Lets say I want to get my hands on the ARM that everyone seems to be talking about. Thats all.

Then I think DIP is a difficult thing ? Yes there have been lots of suggestions for the SMD pcb design / assembly techniques. But i must admit that these kind of things are not common place in the place where i live ( Chennai - India) and that is the reason I am scouting for resources to design/assemble SMD pcbs

Move your own goalposts for what? ARM has too many pins for DIP as do the newer more advanced AVRs.

What you maybe don’t get is that the 40 pins or less AVR’s fit the niches they do very very well including price. They are pretty easy to work with, have pins more robust than ARM chips and the DIP versions put development of many projects into the hands of hobbyists without requiring many special skills. That lets more ideas to be translated into realities which widen the market itself.

Being able to stick the DIP into a breadboard and ‘make it go’ lends to quick easy testing but you can do the same with breakouts designed to fit breadboards – but you can’t stick an SMT chip on a breadboard.

Sure you can do the same with breakout boards and mini-boards (like Arduino Nano). Note that the board can cost more than the chip, as well. With SMD you have to have a board, with DIP AVR’s you do not. Go look up O’Baka Arduino to see an example, all that an AVR needs to run is a program in flash, power, ground and a bypass cap or two but they really do need some IO to be insteresting at all.

Seacrched on mouser atmega328p-pu got —
As for price and availability: https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Microchip-Technology-Atmel/ATMEGA328P-PU?qs=K8BHR703ZXguOQv3sKbWcg%3D%3D&gclid=Cj0KCQjwjbveBRDVARIsAKxH7vl5_553zxL7_-qgRoPmyLr3ykzUaW35ZN56_0KXPDYMRDOzZzl8vU4aAnghEALw_wcB

That’s US$2.15 for 1, for 25 the price is < $2 for an MCU that can automate a house.
An ATtiny85-PU costs a bit over half as much and can do a heck of a lot in the way of small niche fitting.

I feel sorry that you’ve had to deal with 8051’s. The AVR family needs so much less building onto to get running, it is more like candy for hobbyists.

ARM… get an RPi and run an OS while you’re at it.

GoForSmoke:
With SMD you have to have a board, with DIP AVR’s you do not.

As an example where there was no space for a PCB

DSCF4525 cropped.jpg

In the picture I am using an SOIC Attiny 1634. SOIC chips are still capable of being soldered with a fine-tipped iron.

The thing with the pins is an nRF24L01+

…R

Now you're talkin!

I have trouble soldering 10/inch spacing. Hold the iron on a pin too long and bye-bye chip.

A socket can take the heat and has room underneath for bypass caps, not sure about a crystal and caps. Thin wire leads like on leds and resistors plug nice into sockets, they make nice led holders.