[Boris Landoni] put together a guide to using an inexpensive 3-axis accelerometer with Arduino. The chip that he chose for the exercise is an MMA7455L made by Freescale. It’s got a lot of nice features packed into it, using hardware to do some of the things you’d need software for with other chips like reporting in which direction the chip is moving, detecting when movement has stopped, and few others. It’s an I2C device, so the examples he provides will be super simple to port to your uC of choice.
But as the title says, there’s a catch. The chip is extremely versatile and you can get your hands on one for under $2. But check out the size of it. That’s a DFN (dual flat no-lead) package which means there are no pins on it. The package has solder contacts on the bottom which do not protrude out the sides. If you want to do some at-home prototyping with the chip you’ll need a hot air pencil or reflow gear as hand soldering is unlikely to be successful. We’re not saying it’s impossible, but it is quite tricky.
Of course, if you’ve got the secret to getting this done with a quality soldering iron we’d like to hear about it.