Surface mount soldering in depth


[doctek] wants to help ease any fear you may have of surface mount design. He has written this extremely in depth explanation of how to design and build an LED driver composed of surface mount parts. While there has been plenty of surface mount instruction floating around for a while, he feels that they skimp on the details, especially when it comes to really tiny parts who’s pads are unreachable with a soldering iron.  The method he uses is the “hot plate” method we’ve seen before. There’s enough information to build your own tiny LED driver with pulse width modulation, as well as tons of references to explain how and why he does things the way he does. Great job [doctek].

If you’re going to be doing a lot of soldering, you should check out our soldering station how to.


  1. alexfox says:

    nice beginner tutorial on the subject

    fyi — using a toaster oven is much better than using a hotplate; thats the way they do it in industrial processes (with a very big toaster oven)

  2. medix says:

    I would imagine that an ‘oven’ setup is better for double sided boards..

    Then again, I’ve never done a two sided board with any other method than soldering by hand.. (and possibly the help of a hot-air smt station.. ;) )

  3. doctek says:

    Thanks for the pointer to my instructable. Please note two things:
    – The instructable doesn’t tell you how to build the LED power controller circuit. It’s just the example I use to show the process. All code and schematics are included for the PWM controller for the hot plate, however.

    – Most (toaster) ovens you can buy barely get hot enough to melt lead solders, let alone lead-free. That’s why I used the hot plate. Works great for a hobbiest doing a few boards; not so good for an manufacturer doing 1000’s

    Enjoy the INstructable!

  4. ino says:

    It’s a really good instructable for hobbyists.
    Good job.

    One annoying thing tho, the stencil cost as much as the PCB. Make me still want to solder by hand with hot hair.

  5. JamesD says:

    Thanks for the useful info. It’s so interesting

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