SMD How To - 1

It's Not That Bad!


More and more ICs come in surface mount packages only these days. And I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone say 'Well I can't solder that because it's SMD'. They're wrong! You can solder anything. That's right, anything from your own dorm-cell-room.


That's 0.5mm from pin to pin! 50 pin connector for the GM862. You too can solder this!

This tutorial will show you just how to solder crazy things like this connector, leadless ICs, etc. There are a very few tools that are required and a handful that are recommended but you'll be able to solder:

  • SOT23
  • TQFP
  • QFN
  • Even BGA!
  • And all the others

The tools you absolutely must have:

  1. $50+ soldering iron

  2. Solder wick

  3. Solder (leaded is always easier to work with, but here at SFE we use lead-free)

That's it. That's all you need. But how can this be? The process of soldering very tight pitch components or even the larger SMD 1206 components just takes practice, a good iron, and some solder wick.

Here is a list of tools I recommend:

  1. Wire wrap wire (for 'jumper' wire fixes)

  2. Wire strippers (adjustable down to 30AWG)

  3. Hemostats (tweezers will also work)

  4. Hot-air rework station ($200 will do it)

  5. Monocle (I haven't used one, but others have recommended it to me)

  6. Scalpel (see cutting traces and green wire fixes)


Combo hot air station and soldering iron (shown later) that we use extensively at SFE. $175 goes a really long way these days! Buy the HR-906 here.

We decided to make a series of videos to help show what exactly where trying to do. Unfortunately the videos came out to be 50-90MB so we can't really host them from our server (you crazy visitors would kill our site). So we've had to use YouTube and the quality is so-so. Please have a look at Andrew Lance and his crazy soldering skilz. Be sure to search YouTube for other SMD soldering videos! There are some ok examples available.

Page 2 - Soldering a SOIC part

YouTube SFE SMD Videos

Comments 10 comments

  • Member #76406 / about 13 years ago / 1

    Pictures are down :(

    • yeah, we're working on it. We did a website change and lost a lot of the pictures for the tutorials. I'm working with IT to get it resolved.

  • Ernst Hot / about 13 years ago / 1

    Commenting to alert you that the images seem to have gone missing from this otherwise great article.

  • Paul NZ / about 13 years ago / 1

    hey the link is pointing to a product post not the SMD video :(

  • Gameinventor / about 14 years ago / 1

    Never forget the flux. You'll not get quality joints without flux.

  • Tom Davies / about 15 years ago / 1

    Thanks for the great tutorials.
    Something you don't mention:
    - what temperature should I use?
    - would a fixed temperature iron (say 320C) do, or do I need a variable temperature iron?

  • Donny Viszneki / about 15 years ago / 1

    It's a little ridiculous that you guys didn't use BitTorrent. How foolish!

  • noahspurrier / about 15 years ago / 1

    I have also had good luck using silver conductive epoxy. It usually comes in two syringe tubes. You squeeze out equal amounts of each tube and then mix. It sets up in about 20 minutes. It sounds expensive at $20 to $30 for about 10 grams, but a little goes a long way.

  • Blue Hair Bob / about 15 years ago / 1

    Thanks for the tutorials. Today I hand soldered up some 0603 components and a 44 pin 18F4550 TQFP package - and the board worked! I am an SMT convert. It helps to have access to a high power inspection station magnifier and a really tiny soldering tip.