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Surface mount components

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Looking at some of the latest projects in electronic magazines, you will see that they are using surface mount components. These components are not that easy to solder onto the tracks of a pcb, especially if you are an older person with failing eyesight and also have the slight shaking hands! So you say I am young and I can do it, but when you go to the electronics shop to buy these components, they dont stock them. Often I get boards for repair, the surface components are also not available, they can be ordered, but the customer wants his system back in operation as soon as possible and 14 days does not make it.

So one solution is to go to the manufacturer and get a new board, this could be a lot more expensive than anticipated, the other option is to find a circuit that does the same thing, using "normal" components, make a pcb, build it up and give that as a substitute. The latter is not always a viable solution in the more complex applications, but many of the systems I have to fix are basically the power supply boards. This is probably the most obvious pcb one can substitute. (For this reason I have a variety of power supply pcb's ranging from single to dual supplies, low voltage to high voltage regulation) Many of the single chip regulators do not tollerate more than 30 volts, so alternative solutions have to be sought.

Your normal soldering iron is also totally inadequate, you will need a lens so that you can see what you are doing, each soldered joint has to be meticulously inspected to ensure a good joint. (This is done with normal components as well, but it takes much less time.)

Some time ago I priced a setup to do multipin (square chips with more than 20 pins) soldering, and it was the price of a motor car, but there would be no mistakes or bad soldering with this system.

If any one has found a viable way of doing SMD soldering, pleas let us know where and how much it is, until then let us stick to the normal component projects.

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