A single development board that supports many of Texas Instruments
Inc.'s microcontroller devices has been developed by SchmartBoard Inc.
(San Ramon, Calif.).
Normally different MCU families require multiple boards but
Schmartboard's one single development board supports all 64-pin QFP
packages in TI's C2000 and MSP430 MCU platforms and all 48-pin QFP
packages in TI's Stellaris range, 92 devices in all.
SchmartBoards' uses a 'EZ' technology to hand solder devices in surface
mount packages. It was granted a patent for this technology for hand
soldering SMT electronic components in April 2009.
The patent covers a modification of circuit board technology. A normal
PCB consists of two main components on the surface. The solder mask
and the electronic pads. The electronic pads are on top of the solder
mask, and this is where the electronic components are placed. This
system works great when circuits are mass-produced using precise
robotic pick and place technology. However, when circuits need to be
hand soldered for projects or prototyping, the average engineer does
not have the dexterity or expertise to do it.
SchmartBoard’s technology has the solder mask much higher than the
pads. additionally the pads are 'pre-tinned' with solder. What this
modification does is allow the electronic components to easily be hand
placed by virtually anyone. Because the solder is already on the pads,
a user simply takes a soldering iron and melts the solder to the
component leads or runs the boards through a re-flow oven. This
technology makes it virtually impossible to create shorts or bridges
when hand soldering SMT components.
The development board in being included in the company's 2010 MCU Design Contest
which runs from July 2010 through the end of the year.
The suggested retail for the boards is $30 but during July the product is available through SchmartBoard website