Surface Mount Component Assembly of the Micro908 Kit

Some folks in this initial deployment of the Micro908 Kit have expressed doubts about their ability to successfully assemble the surface mount technology (SMT) components used on the circuit board.  In order to shed a little light on what really lies ahead, I'll discuss the extent of SMT used in the kit and you can perhaps better determine your own need for assist in assembly.

Further, I've placed onto our Micro908 project page an advance copy of an article I did for HOMEBREWER Magazine #3.  It's called "Working with Surface Mount Technology" and will hopefully give you all some sense of how easy is can be - all you need is a couple of common work place tools and a semi-steady hand.  (Please don't share this article around to anyone - it'll be available to others downstream on the HOMEBREWER CD-ROM.)
First, it's not overly clear from the Micro908 schematic and photos how many SMT components are used.  Here's a component breakdown (numbers are approximate) ...
MAIN BOARD - (option for pre-assembly, see below)
 DDS DAUGHTERCARD - option for pre-assembly (see below)
 HC908 DAUGHTERCARD - comes preassembled, programmed & tested
DSPx DAUGHTERCARD - comes preassembled & tested
So, you'll see there's really not too much to worry about.  The "1206 packaging" is a piece of cake to apply, as seen in the photos from the article.  The ICs are the only tricky part, but I've personally had 100% success on all the ones I've ever attached ... and I have a fairly heavy hand and have used lots of heat on the leads (and SolderWick) along the way.  These little parts are surprisingly robust.  I urge you to give it a try ... we'll have extra parts and some volunteers downstream to help out if you mess something up along the way and need some help.
As some of you know, we already have an arrangement for ownders of the DDS Daughtercard Kit to get the IC attached, or the whole board assembled, by Mike WA6OUW of KitBuilders, Inc. out in California.  For a very nominal price, Mike does an excellent job of attaching the component(s).  All you need to do is mail him your kit and DDS chip (freely obtained from Analog Devices) and he mails it back to you assembled.  You still need to put the rest of the project together and test it out, but you can be assured that the components have been expertly attached.
We're arranging the same deal with KitBuilders for the Main Board of the Micro908.  Mike is currently sizing up two options:
  1) just attaching the SMT components (ICs, resistors, capacitors); and
  2) assembling all components, including controls, display, connectors, et al.
Remember that you'll need to put the rest of the kit together yourself (install daughtercards, enclosure, batteries, etc.), as well as test and diagnose any problems.  That is, Mike does not deliver a completed, operation uinit back to you.  He just assembles the components to the circuit board.
In some cases you might wish for someone else to build and test the whole Micro908 Kit for you.  We don't have anything lined up here, and will likely stay out of this part of the "business".  However, we will advertise on the QRP-L list for others who might wish to perform this surface and we'll connect you with these volunteers so you can negotiate price and other details.

Back to Micro908 Home Page

Page last updated:  April 16, 2004