Saturday, 9 February 2013

Soldering onto Surface Mount ICs

I recently bought an accelerometer IC to use on my epileptic seizure detector project.  It is a tiny surface mount device as you can see below.
I gave a lot of thought to how to connect wires to it.  I did consider conductive glue, but it would be difficult to hold them all still for long enough for it to set, so I went back to solder.  This is how I did it...

1.  Mount the IC onto stripboard using apoxy adhesive:

2.  While the glue is setting, modify the soldering iron by wrapping some 1mm2 copper wire around the tip to give a very fine tip.  Use solder to increase the heat transfer between the wire and the tip:

3.  Tin the solder pads on the IC, using some very fine solder (I got some 32swg solder off ebay).

4.  Obtain some very fine copper wire (I disassembled some cheap alarm flexible cable, and used strands from that).

5.  Hold a strand of wire onto a solder pad, and touch it with the soldering iron to melt the solder and create the joint.

6.  Repeat for all connections:

7.  Route the fine wires to the copper tracks, and solder on.  I used the insulation from the original alarm  cable to prevent short circuits:

Fiddly, and not very neat, but it worked for me - it is being used in my prototype epileptic seizure detector.

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