@betjet: How is this particular board any different from the pad-per-hole Vectorbords we've been using for the last 30 or more years?
The primary difference is the round (through-hole) pads on one side and the square (surface-mount) pads on the other. The folks at SchmartBoard say that -- as far s they no -- no one else is doing this -- also that it's almost embarrasingly simple as a concept, but that it's provng to be very usable and polular in practice.
Max, I was using such board (square pads on one side, round on another, metalised hole), at least TEN! years ago. I do not understand what is so impressive in SchmartBoard. There are multiple companies, manufacturing similar universal board for THT and SMD, and all of them are claiming they are best.
Their SMT breakout boards are the impressive ones. They have a system with inset channels that are pre soldered. An SOIC, SSOP, QFP or other chip with leads can be very easily fixed into place with the inset channel pads. I'd definately recommend going to their website and watching the videos.
One note of caution though - you probably shouldn't try to use a Schmartboard for the first time with your only chip. Especially if it's a QFN. I tried it for the first time with a 3mm x 3mm, 12 pin QFN. I managed to cross-solder all of the leads on one side. The parts with leads are easy to align and keep aligned, but QFNs are a little more difficult.
I am planning on ordering some more parts and trying it again though. I need access to the pins on this little part and, other than making a custom board, there really isn't any other practical way to do so. Wish me luck.
Duane...you may be able to help me...some time ago there was an article, I think in EET, about some very cheap SMD breakout boards offered by TI (Texas Instruments). I lost the link and have searched the TI website but can't find them. Do you know anything about this, have you got that link? Thanks // David
Another good source is Adafruit. They have some nice adapters that are SOIC on one side and TSSOP on the other so they can stock fewer parts and pass on the savings. They have a nice collection for various packages.
I like Schmartboard. I just got a Cypress PSoC 5LP development board with QFN-68 PSoC pre-installed. It's a nice design and works great. It brings out lots of I/O as a DIP with 0.1" pin spacing and 0.8" between rows. You can also get it without the PSoC and put on a PSoC 3 instead.
(later, at home) Just ordered a bunch of adapter boards - been meaning to get some or make some for a bit now. I could not find anywhere in Australia that even supplied all the ones I wanted. Adafruit's prices were good even taking into account shipping to Aus which was about 25% of the total. Had to be very disciplined to avoid buying any of the other tasty goodies on offer there....
Max - I stopped by Fry's today and picked up a couploe more Schmartboards. I didn't find any of the BGA versions though. They sound pretty daring. I've got a little ARM processor in a 0.5mm pitch 16 ball micro BGA package that I'd love to experiment with on one of their boards.
I think it's a really good thing to be able to solder smt passive components and through hole ones on the same proto board without actually having to make a pcb. So far, the only moment I dared using 0805 resistors was on my custom designed pcb which i got made in china. I would love to try those SchmartBoard proto boards without having to make an entire pcb.
I have been looking at their SOT-23 and SOIC breakout boards too, lately. At about $6 for a set of these (multiple), they are a great deal: Each of them has grooved traces pre-filled with solder that you can just heat up with a fine tipped soldering iron. This'll help my first SMT project prototype more smoothly for sure, and I think I'll order these gridded boards too.
For SMT prototyping, especially those situations you need a devoce, like a single logic inverter in your circuit and SOT23 and smaller packages are available, Schmartboard is the answer! Plus, the board has pads that are hollowed out and tinned so aligning of a tiny SMT device is a cinch. The board in the article looks like it'll make prototyping a breeze!
Honestly, I have been out of practice for a while. My first interaction with Schmartboard was these little round piece of solder I was using for Arduino projects. Now I'm a firm believer in all they do. It's not just these boards, it's the boards for their chips, it's these easy solder boards. I have gotten kind of spoiled now with their products. Really, take a moment to check their site. My soldering skills are back on par, but I was able to get my 12 year old daughter to solder with their little solder rings. She's hanging out with me now because she can help. The products are great, and like I read before in here.. I too am suprised that they're the only ones doing this.
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