When it comes to hobby electronics and prototyping, things used to be a heck of a lot easier when I was a younger engineer, because circuit boards were implemented using lead through-hole (LTH) technology featuring dual in-line (DIL) integrated circuit packages with an 0.1 inch pin pitch. Quite apart from anything else, it was relatively easy to solder these components onto the board without creating shorts or otherwise messing things up.
Life is not so simple these days, with things like surface mount technology (SMT) and ball grid array (BGA) packages boasting pin pitches as small as 0.4 mm.
Fortunately, the folks at SchmartBoard feature a range of prototyping products, including through-hole boards, SMT and BGA boards, SMT-to-DIP adapters, and many more (click here to see a video). As they say on their website:
With SchmartBoard|ez anyone can hand-solder a 0.4mm pitch IC, even a novice. The secret is in the grooves on the board, which place the IC in perfect alignment with the pads on the board. In addition, you don’t have to fumble with solder, because the board has the solder on it already. All you have to do is heat up the solder in the grooves and push it through the grooves to the chip leads. We make them for all pitches of: Discrete SMT, SOIC, QFP, QFN and even BGA.
Well, the latest and greatest product roundup from SchmartBoard is as follows.
- Schmartboard Through Hole Arduino Prototyping Shield and Mega Shield: Schmartboard’s two New Through Hole Arduino Prototyping Shields allow the user to either solder the parts onto the board or use the free breadboard to make temporary circuits. The through-hole pattern is Schmartboard’s signature offset grid that allows greater flexibility than standard through hole boards. The Regular board sells for $15 and includes the prototyping shield, all components and required headers, and a 170 tie point breadboard with an adhesive back, which offers secure adherence to the shield.
- Schmartboard Family of Surface Mount Arduino Prototyping Shield Kits: What happens when you take a Schmartboard Through Hole Arduino Shield or Mega Shield and bundle it with a Schmartboard SMT to DIP Adapter? You have a Schmartboard Arduino or Arduino Mega Surface Mount Prototyping Shield Kit. A user solders his component onto the SMT to DIP adapter using Schmartboard’s patented "ez" technology, and then places the SMT to DIP onto the Through Hole Schmartboard Ardiuno Shield.
- SMT-to-DIP Free Breadboard Combo Packs: Schmartboard has created new product combos for each of its SMT-to-DIP packages. When you buy the pack of two SMT-to-DIP adapters for $12, it comes with a free 830 Test Points Breadboard, which normally sells for $7.95. The breadboard can be connected to other similar breadboards to create a larger working area and also has an adhesive back that allows the option of adhering it to a project. Available SMT-to-DIP Schmartboards include various sizes of SOIC, QFP, QFN, and DFN chip packages. All Schmartboard SMT-to-DIP adapters have Schmartboard’s patented "ez" technology which means that soldering the surface mount component is simple, fast, and easy.
The current SMT adapters available for use in both the Surface Mount Arduino Prototyping Shield Kits and also the SMT-to-DIP Free Breadboard Combo Packs are listed below (availability of other packages will also expand throughout the year):
- SOT 23 & SC70
- 1.27mm Pitch SOIC
- 0.65mm Pitch SOIC
- 0.5mm Pitch SOIC
- 0.635mm Pitch SOIC
- 0.5mm Pitch, 12 and 24 Pin QFP & QFN
- 0.5mm Pitch, 16 and 20 Pin QFP & QFN
- 0.5mm Pitch, 32 Pin QFP & QFN to DIP
- 0.5mm Pitch, 48 Pin QFP & QFN to DIP
- 0.5mm Pitch 8 Pin DFN
- 0.5mm Pitch 10 Pin DFN
- 0.5mm Pitch 40 Pin QFP/QFN
- 0.5mm Pitch, 44 Pin QFP & QFN to DIP