My first surface-mount package

Up until now I’ve worked exclusively with through-hole components. While they’re great for fast prototyping, it’s becoming more difficult to find DIP versions of every part I need, especially for some of the more recently released devices (USB controllers, ARM-based MCUs). You may find a DIP package here and there, but the majority is only available in various surface-mount sizes. The only way for me to keep up is to learn how to solder surface-mount packages.

Over the past few months I’ve been gathering all the tools I need to move my soldering techniques to the next level. Last week I received the final parts on my list – a high-quality soldering station, iron tips for soldering surface-mount packages and a head-mounted magnifier. With everything ready for my first surface-mount experience, I grabbed one of my I2C EEPROMs and an adapter board, and gave it a try.

so8-soldered-closeup

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My display obsession

Shortly after I started experimenting with electronics, I discovered my fascination with LCDs and other displays. For me, these screens are not just about providing a convenient way to display visual feedback. Any green backlit 16×2 display will probably suffice in most situations. It’s more about expanding my collection, and playing around with all the different colors, form factors and display technologies. I love having shelves full of screens, and thinking about possible projects I could embed them in. Perhaps one day I’ll have a use for them all, but for now the pile just keeps growing.

One of the first displays I bought was this 1.3″ 128×64 monochrome white OLED display from Adafruit. I was aware of the cheaper options on eBay and sites like Banggood and AliExpress, but since this was my first try at working with one of these screens, I wanted to make sure that any issues would most likely be caused by my own mistakes, and not related to product quality.

oled-0

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