SMD or DIP? Which is more common for hobbyist home projects?

Thread Starter

milad1234

Joined Apr 27, 2016
4
Hello there,

I am working on an open source project that will be released for hobbyist to create their own devices at lower cost.
We have to make a decision to design the PCB and select components for SMD packages or redesign for DIP packages.
I am not able to find many options for DIP components.I know DIP packages are getting harder to find these days. A few years ago SMD wasn't common among hobbyist as they did not have the tools to deal with SMD chips.

As SMT tools have become cheaper and it's becoming easier to use surface mount SMD reflow soldering, how difficult is it to build a home project
with SMD parts for hobbyist if DIP package is not available?

So in short,how would people deal with it if only SMD parts of available for the chip they need?
 
Last edited:

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
11,251
Welcome to AAC!

There are pros and cons for each form factor.

Through hole is easier to breadboard, but as you mentioned some parts aren't available in that form facter.

SMT devices are readily available, but they're harder to breadboard. You can use SMT to DIP/SIP adapters, but the adapters are relatively expensive; on the order of a dime per pin. Rework is best done with a hot air tool. Be prepared to lose some parts...
 

Roderick Young

Joined Feb 22, 2015
408
Soldering SMT IC's is something I would try to avoid. I will do the occasional SOIC part, but if I was buying a board, I would prefer that it have any IC's already soldered on. If there are passive SMT components that need to be installed or changed, that wouldn't be too much trouble.
 

Thread Starter

milad1234

Joined Apr 27, 2016
4
Welcome to AAC!

There are pros and cons for each form factor.

Through hole is easier to breadboard, but as you mentioned some parts aren't available in that form facter.

SMT devices are readily available, but they're harder to breadboard. You can use SMT to DIP/SIP adapters, but the adapters are relatively expensive; on the order of a dime per pin. Rework is best done with a hot air tool. Be prepared to lose some parts...
Thanks for your response.SMT to DIP/SIP adapters wont be useful in this project as we are using PCB in both cases and not breadboard.So would you go with SMD in that case?
 

Thread Starter

milad1234

Joined Apr 27, 2016
4
Soldering SMT IC's is something I would try to avoid. I will do the occasional SOIC part, but if I was buying a board, I would prefer that it have any IC's already soldered on. If there are passive SMT components that need to be installed or changed, that wouldn't be too much trouble.
Thanks for your response.How about parts like bluetooth modules? I have difficulty finding the DIP packages which is forcing me to use SMD packages.What do you think about hybrid of SMD and DIP? So DIP for IC's and SMD for rest of components?
 

tracecom

Joined Apr 16, 2010
3,944
Rather than choosing between SMD and through hole components, perhaps you should be considering which SMDs hobbyists can handle. With the cost of paste stencils declining and the ease with which a toaster oven can be used for reflowing, building with surface mount components is much less daunting.
 

tindel

Joined Sep 16, 2012
724
I don't mind SMD parts, but I've been soldering for 3 or 4 years now. In fact, the more I work with different kinds of parts I've found surface mount to be so much more easy to use. SOIC is best for the beginner since they are still pretty large. 0805 resistors / caps are the smallest I'd go for beginner hobbyist.

I'd stay away from parts with exposed pads, BGA's. CGA's, TSSOP, Lead-less parts... especially if the final product is meant to be used by beginning hobbyists.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
11,251
SMT to DIP/SIP adapters wont be useful in this project as we are using PCB in both cases and not breadboard.So would you go with SMD in that case?
Personally, I wouldn't make a board for a circuit unless there was a high probability of it working without breadboarding to test the design before hand.

I've only made a board for a circuit without testing first once and the circuit had issues. Fortunately, I made the board myself and the cost was mainly my time.

Even if you use a simulator, a good simulation doesn't necessarily mean the circuit will work.

I find SMD rework to be more difficult than through hole. BGA parts, or anything with hidden pads, are generally not suitable for hobbyists.
 

hp1729

Joined Nov 23, 2015
2,304
I got into the show before SMD came on the scene and I'm dedicated to DIP and solderless breadboards. Seldom do I commit a design to PCB any more. For learning I think DIP is preferable. For production SMD certainly has advantages.
 

Roderick Young

Joined Feb 22, 2015
408
Thanks for your response.How about parts like bluetooth modules? I have difficulty finding the DIP packages which is forcing me to use SMD packages.What do you think about hybrid of SMD and DIP? So DIP for IC's and SMD for rest of components?
A hybrid of both is fine with me, but again if there is anything finer than a 50-mil lead pitch, I would not buy a bare board and try to assemble it. Certainly, there are hobbyists that have the means to reflow boards, and there's probably a higher than average proportion of them on this site. You'll have to decide for yourself what your target market is. Could you offer an assembled board option, as well as a blank fab (PCB with nothing on it)? If your're just going to release open source artwork, there won't be many takers, as the people will have to get their own boards made.
 

Lestraveled

Joined May 19, 2014
1,946
I have been increasing my skills in SMD soldering. With a fine tipped soldering iron and a pair of Optivisors I can easily solder .035 pitch leads. (I am 62 years old.) I bought a hot air rework station (http://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/suggestions-for-a-hot-air-rework-station.122319/) that I use to remove the SMD parts.

SMD parts are here and will not go away. Through hole parts, for the most part, ARE going away. Develop your SMD soldering skills now. Buy the equipment and learn to use it. It is not that expensive and it is not that hard to solder fine pitch SMD parts.

Through hole parts supply is shrinking fast. Digi-Key used to stock any 1/4 watt precision through hole resistor you needed. Not any more. They only stock the cardinal values, like 1, 10, 100, 1K..... You can get any resistor value you need in SMD.

All the fun new parts are SMD.
 

Veracohr

Joined Jan 3, 2011
720
For ICs 1.27mm (0.05 inch) pitch is easy by hand. I've done 0.65mm and 0.5mm but it was more a process of soldering a big blob across multiple pins and then removing the bits in between with copper braid. I don't recommend that.
 

ErnieM

Joined Apr 24, 2011
8,053
I personally have no trouble soldering down SMD devices, but when prototyping I drop back to DIP standards and place them on adapters with 0.1 inch spaced holes. Then I point to point wire things together.

Sorry to call them this (but I have the years on my belt to qualify) but the kids today damn well better learn how to solder SMD if they want a career in this stuff.

As far as making a commercial product... I back way off any iconoclastic statements and do whatever it takes to sell the most of my product.

This puts me square on the center of the fence. Oops... sorry.
 

Thread Starter

milad1234

Joined Apr 27, 2016
4
We will be testing the PCB and provide the design so prototyping won't be necessary.We are aiming for high volume usage and the final product should be at a reasonable size.
 

SLK001

Joined Nov 29, 2011
1,548
As has been stated, many of the newest parts are available only in SMT packages. I'm with ErnieM - if you want to play in this game, you better have the needed tools and skills. My tools for SMD soldering consists of 1) two Hakko soldering irons, 2) Weller heat gun, 3) Harbor Freight magnifying lamp and 4) Bausch and Lomb StereoZoom 7-30X microscope. None of these tools was overly expensive.

If you don't have #4 above, keep the chips to 0603 size (0.030"x0.060") and the IC pitch to 0.05". A skilled hobbiest should be able to handle these with no problems.
 

fastlingo

Joined Apr 29, 2016
13
when I started soldering I followed the advice that is currently given about soldering, which is to not apply solder to the iron tip, but rather to the part. it wasnt until I realized it's not necessary that I becan to solder easily any parts, including smd. actually I consider smd easier, you dont need to drill holes, the soldering is faster. the key is flux, a lot of flux on the components, I apply a thin layer of solder on my board (home made) and then get some solder on your tip, apply for a second and that's it.
 
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