Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Very, very small

Many of the interesting ICs you can get only come in surface mount packages like SOIC or TSSOP. For example, I was looking at this interesting device only to find there is no through hole version. These packages are physically much smaller than through hole ones, and as it's already hard to see what I'm soldering with my aged eyes, I had more or less given up on them. But all is not lost. I bought a simple headset magnifier from Digikey for $10, and it is good enough for me to work with these packages and even with the teeny tiny capacitors and resistors that go with them. For learning surface mount soldering, Jameco have a kit and a video (by someone who is really irritating, but useful all the same). Here's a small 555 circuit from the kit:

Not pretty, but it works. Here what the headset magnifier looks like:
This is not to the same scale as the picture above, just in case you thought my head was 4cm in diameter.

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