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Is there any way for a hobbiest to work with a chip this small?

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Triode

Active Member
This particular one is a MP3 decoder from sparkfun
7938-VS1002.jpg


I'm probably not going to get that advanced for a while, for now I work with DIPs, but do hobbiests work with chips this small? And how do they do it? Seems like it would be very difficult, but theyre selling it on a site for students and hobbiests so there must be a way.
 

Sceadwian

Banned
If you can print the circuit boards for it. The hardest part is lining it up, you just use the right amount of solder paste and heat it up with a hot air tool, the solder wicks to the legs and the copper all by itself. It can be touched up with pencil iron. I wouldn't wanna try it but it's doable if you're dedicated.
 

DirtyLude

Well-Known Member
They have tutorials for doing it with a soldering iron as well. It's not that hard.
 

Sceadwian

Banned
Can you link to some tutorials that show that done with a soldering iron Dirtylude? I'd like to see em. There are so many packages that use that general package style it'd be useful to try.
 
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DirtyLude

Well-Known Member
It's right on the Sparkfun site under 'tutorials'

SparkFun Electronics

YouTube - Solder wicking a tight pitch IC

I don't do it quite that way.

Tin one lead, tack the IC down in the right position. Tack down and opposite lead to hold it still. Solder the rest as best you can, then use the wick to soak up any excess.

I've done 0.4mm lead IC's this way and 0.4mm lead is uncommonly small.

20090402-pcb-003-jpg.29692
 

Triode

Active Member
pretty impressive dirtylude

I'm surprised those hot plate and toaster oven methods they show dont bake the pads off the board. I guess if theyre made to take the heat they can, its just surprising.
 

Speakerguy

Active Member
I'm more of a professional than a hobbyist, but I can do something like that with little very trouble. It takes the use of liquid flux and drag soldering technique. That is the best way IMO, there are videos of the technique on youtube. The techs at the places I have worked would all use the drag soldering technique, that's where I was originally introduced to it. 0.5mm is finer pitch that what I typically do, I usually don't screw around with anything smaller than 0.65mm (ex. TSSOP and smaller TQFP) but I am working on a project right now with an MSOP-10 that has .5mm pitch pins. I'm more worried about getting the solder pad dimensions right in my layout editor than I am actually soldering it.

I find the drag soldering technique with lots of liquid flux so useful that I went and bought a gallon of the stuff (Kester 951) for my own personal use at home. Much less expensive than buying it 10ml at a time in flux pens. I think shipped it was $50 including the hazmat fee.

And that is a helluva job on a .4mm pitch device on a home etched board no less.
 
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Sceadwian

Banned
Triode you have to keep in mind, a toaster oven is only slightly less advanced that an IR reflow oven. The stuff they use commercially is nothing more than glorified highly controlled pizza ovens! They're just engineered slightly different for better control and even heat distribution.
 

Triode

Active Member
Thats true, and it makes sense, but I'm not even sure how the professional ovens dont just toast the board. What kind of heating do they use?
 

Sceadwian

Banned
They call it IR reflow for a reason. They're usually quartz IR heating elements. They just pass the boards under the heating elements and cooling sections at a constant speed and everything comes out perfect. Just like a pizza oven. The station usually has a programmable speed and heating element so that the reflow curve for the board under process can be matched. Some boards have parts more sensitive than others so they pre-heat and use different heating/cooling curves, but it's all really pretty simple. If you want to see something incredibly complex try to find video of a pick and place machine working, THOSE things are impressive, and all they do is toss chips on a board.
 
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Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
This particular one is a MP3 decoder from sparkfun
7939-VS1002.jpg


I'm probably not going to get that advanced for a while, for now I work with DIPs, but do hobbiests work with chips this small? And how do they do it? Seems like it would be very difficult, but theyre selling it on a site for students and hobbiests so there must be a way.

Photographing it next to a ruler would be more useful, I've not got a clue how big or small that chip is, never having seen such a coin.

Like speakerguy79 I use the liquid flux and drag method, using a special 'spoon' shaped Pace bit.
 

Sceadwian

Banned
Nigel, the dimensions of the US quarter are easily looked up online.
24.26mm in diameter. 1.75mm thick, 119 reeds along the edge (no idea why they call them reeds)
It's not expected everyone to know this stuff, but the information is out there and easily available, the same measurements are available for all UK coinage as well.

As a side note, I do find it strange how close the 2 pence and 10 pence pieces are in size, there's not even a full mm in diameter difference. Our dime is smaller than the penny and nickle but dramatically so.
 
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Triode

Active Member
Well a two pence is about 25.9mm, so this coin is just a smidge smaller than that.

you use inches? you know ive wondered about that, cause even in some metric countries you hear people say "just a few inches from my face!" "a couple of feet more than i could reach" "miles away from here" and so on, so I guess the old units are still used in normal speach. Is the old system still used to actually do stuff there? your in England right?
 
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Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Well a two pence is about 25.9mm, so this coin is just a smidge smaller than that.

you use inches? you know ive wondered about that, cause even in some metric countries you hear people say "just a few inches from my face!" "a couple of feet more than i could reach" "miles away from here" and so on, so I guess the old units are still used in normal speach. Is the old system still used to actually do stuff there? your in England right?

Yes I'm in England.

It really depends how old you are, I was brought up on feet and inches, pounds and ounces, fahrenheit not centigrade. For many years though teaching in schools has been entirely metric, so younger people don't understand imperial.

For a while there was a government uproar about shops selling food in pounds and ounces, with them prosecuting some stores - but now all seem to list both metric and imperial, and I always buy meet by the pound, not the kilo.

Incidently, beer in pubs has always remained in pints, it never went metric, and road signs and car speedometers are still in miles.
 

Triode

Active Member
But I read somewhere that they serve beer in litres, it was a book about a fellow named winston, that that took place 25 years ago now!
 

Sceadwian

Banned
I just wish we could get over it all and switch totally to metric, I'm all for it, though I'm with Nigel that I'm pretty much stuck with measuring any real distance in feet or miles and weight in pounds. I've always had problem with the F to C conversion too, the centigrade metric is a little more course as well so you really need to state the first tenth of the decimal portion of centigrade to convert to F.
 
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