With a mix of anticipation and dread I finally began construction of my MTR 2.0 this evening.
Prior to beginning I experimented with various methods of soldering on a pair of cheap SMD kits. After all that, I’m doing it the old way – the way that always worked before – standard old-fashioned soldering as would be done with through-hole parts.
The first and most difficult part of the kit is now finished with the exception of U10 which will be a beast to install correctly. U8 is done and went in with a few unavoidable solder bridges between pins but solder wick cleaned them up to the ohmmeter’s satisfaction and I expect U10 will go much the same way.
After that, it’ll be on to the caps, resistors and torroids…child’s play after these tiny chips.
I followed someone’s suggestion on the relevant Yahoo group for this kit and ordered an illuminated head-mounted magnifier. I thought it might help a bit – after the first ten minutes of starting the build, I realized I should have ordered one long ago.
Faint markings on tiny parts are easy to read – even better than with a hand-held magnifier due to the small LED bulb, a second lens that can be dropped in front of one eye and the fact that is much easier to hold stable on the item of interest. And $8 – how do you beat that? A beer in Singapore’ll cost you more.
Amazon also had a variety pack of tips for my Hakko 936, one of which is just right for the task at hand.
This is my 5th SMD kit from Steve and, as I mentioned above, a certain amount of dread always accompanies me as I attempt to tackle such a project due to the fact that something can easily go wrong with such close spacing of many pins on some of the parts. The thought of a finished kit not working and then the accompanying troubleshooting looms over me until I power the kit up and make it through alignment to First Contact.
One good thing I realize upon completion of SMD kits is how quickly they go together due to not having to trim leads on the opposite side of the circuit board.