Friday, November 2, 2012

Schmart 1.27mm SMD Prototyping Shield Review

Thanks to the awesome people at SchamrtBoard i got to try out one of their Arduino SMD prototyping shields. This makes it easier to solder SMD components by hand and since i have never done any SMD before, i went with the 1.27mm pitch ( more room between pins). Plus, its an Arduino shield, so you could make your circuit and test it all in one place. Very nice!

Info and parts i got in the mail from them. No manual, but it is found here as said in the package.

Detail of shield and parts.
Parts are:
  • Qty 1 – PCB, Surface Mount Prototyping Shield for Arduino
  • Qty 2 – 1x1 Single pin male header, Through-Hole
  • Qty 2 - LED red color, Through-Hole
  • Qty 2 - 1x8 0.1" spacing stackable female header, Through-Hole
  • Qty 1 - 1x6 0.1" spacing stackable female header, Through-Hole
  • Qty 1 - 1x10 0.1" spacing stackable female header, Through-Hole
  • Qty 2 - Resistor 1k ohm, Through-Hole
  • Qty 2 - Push-button Switch, Through-Hole
  • Qty 1 - Capacitor 0.1uF 0805, Surface Mount
  • Qty 1 - Resistor 1k ohm 0805, Surface Mount --- (BLACK COLOR CODED)
  • Qty 1 – 1x1 Single pin male header, Through-Hole

  • Placed the pin headers in the board in the marked places, and used an old HDD to hold everything in place. I really should get a pair of "helping hands".

    Headers done. This is where i started using the manual as i didn't know exactly where the components were supposed to go. The board has pin descriptions too so its hard to mess anything up.


    Close up of the SMD cap/resistor soldering. I managed very easily to do this with the following steps:
    1. Flux both SMD pads. 
    2. Put a bit of solder on the tip and on one of the SMD pads.
    3. Place the SMD component close to the pads it needs to go on.  
    4. Push the component against the bit of solder on the pad, heat it up with the iron and let it slide into place. Use tweezers etc. 
    5. Now, the other side of the component should be sitting on the pad, but not attached so now solder the last side.

    They give you 3 of each which is very nice as i lost one just trying to get them out of the little holders. haha.

    Surprisingly, i managed to do this with a finer tipped standard soldering iron! I think that says a lot for the board and components that they survived a non-variable 35w soldering iron. I had no issues assembling or anything, so i recommend this to all you SMD and Arduino newbs out there! 

    See here for all their products! Almost all of those categories of the left are for special breakout boards for each package type to a more manageable though-hole. Definitely for someone that cant get a SMD board router. They also have a pretty good range of general electronics on the right.

    Simply put: great products, pretty good prices, USA based, good quality. Go for it!


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