[time-nuts] Prototype boards. Was: Re: Divide by five

dan at irtelemetrics.com dan at irtelemetrics.com
Fri Nov 7 21:27:32 EST 2014

     Hi all, 

  I completely agree here. Dip parts are so 'old school'! :) You do get 
a much better board layout with SMT components. I do understand it can 
be difficult for some to solder these new SMD components. However with 
good magnification, a little liquid or paste flux, and some tweezers, a 
lot of you may be surprised how quickly you'll pick it up.  

  As for the cost of the prototype boards, there is a board sharing 
site worth looking into. For any of us wanting to 'try something', 
OSHpark.com is a community circuit board order site. They have great 
prices, if you don't mind purple boards! Silk screen, solder mask, 
through hole vias, and any shape, 2 or 4 layer boards, with gold 
plating. They work well with Eagle, if you have it. (FYI, I have no 
affiliation to them, just used them a few times in the last few 
weeks...). The really nice thing is if you make a board and others 
want it you can 'share' the board. Then anyone can order it for 

  For example, I did a layout of an SMT version of Warren S's HP10811 
outer oven controller (Thanks again Warren!), with some extra stuff 
added and received three boards shipped, for a total cost of $10 (Not 
per board, for the whole order and shipping!). Other boards I have 
ordered were $1.30 and $2.80 (Synergy GPS connector boards, etc.) for 
sets of three shipped. (Yeah, postage should be more than 1.30!)

  Don't completely knock surface mount until you try it. SOIC size 
packs, and 0805 and 1206 passive components can be pretty easy to work 
with!  Eventually you'll start to think .5mm spaced leads, 0603 and 
0402 passives are too big! :) 


> The days of DIP parts are drawing to a close. Most of the DIP’s are 
> now surplus and stocked by odd places here and here. The risk with 
> many places (even major names) is that the part you get isn’t what 
> you think it is. It may be a re-labeled something else pulled off a 
> board in China with a blowtorch. I think that in a lot of ways, you 
> are better off with something in one of the larger SMD packages than 
> a surplus / questionable DIP. The other half of the equation at 
> higher frequencies is good layout. That sort of forces you in the 
> direction of a pc board. Custom boards are now so crazy cheap that 
> doing them for a one off makes sense. Bob

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