Author Topic: System Red & E-Field build underway.  (Read 1355 times)

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Offline ayde_bury

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System Red & E-Field build underway.
« on: June 15, 2014, 02:06:33 PM »
Well it's been nagging me since it arrived to be built and like a complete loon I started at 9pm last night.

I already have a system green (station 574 in the UK) but was always temped to go red and the the e-field addition pushed me over the edge and an emil went off the Egon.

So the plan was all the SMC items on first, then the e-field pre amp, main amp and controller, then the standard amp to finish.

Findings so far which you might want to include in your documentation...

Two of the capacitors on the e-field preamp used are disc and labelled slightly different to the documentation C1 and C2 are labelled 22 and 10 with 100 underneath.

The 5mm radial inducers values are the first two figures on the sleeving, the inducer without a sleeve is the 470/330uH one.

So far all the SMC components are on all the boards, including the GPS module and what a ball ache they are to get fitted. I found that using a low temperate solder paste  (150c) and putting a tiny dot on each board connection using a tooth pick and then heating it with an iron for a split second gets a pad in place. Then cleaning around all 8 pads to remove residue and flux to a nice clean board, followed by placing the SMC component on top of these and heating the solder again made the component stick. I could then use a tooth pick to put pressure on the chip and reheat a second time to make sure it was bedded in well, topping up with normal solder where I though necessary.

Someone is going to tell me different, but it worked for me so far.

So two boards working after two days of fumes and burns ( all except one dry solder joint on the red power led) - fingers crosse the next board goes well.
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Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Re: System Red & E-Field build underway.
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2014, 02:13:29 PM »
Why, that's about the way I soldered my SMD's!  It works, doesn't it?  =D>
 

Offline ayde_bury

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Re: System Red & E-Field build underway.
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2014, 02:25:00 PM »
I'm sure I read a post somewhere about not to use the paste, but hey I've inhaled enough smoke today to make everything seem a bit cloudy.

Right on to the main controller board...
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Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Re: System Red & E-Field build underway.
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2014, 02:29:27 PM »
I'm sure I read a post somewhere about not to use the paste, but hey I've inhaled enough smoke today to make everything seem a bit cloudy.

Right on to the main controller board...

Oops... I missed the bit about the paste... no, I pre-tinned pad 1 , tacked it down, and positioned it with a toothpick... later, I used a dab of heatsink compound on a Q-tip to hold the chip still while tacking, then wiped off the compound.  Works great.
 

Offline ayde_bury

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Re: System Red & E-Field build underway.
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2014, 05:36:07 PM »
It's alive, IT'S ALIVE!!! (sorry watched the 80's movie Weird Science last week).

The controller board is done, and the GPS module is blinking and the STM discovery board blinking like it's Christmas :)

Not sure I can take the stress of a firmware upload tonight, but will carry on tomorrow get the E-Field part up and running. I'm not sure if it's just me being a slow and careful workman, but it's a good 2 full days to get one up and running from checking the parts are all there to assembly.

I still have the standard Amplifier board for the ferrets to complete, but that may well be a bit later in the week.
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Offline corwyyn

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Re: System Red & E-Field build underway.
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2014, 07:56:44 PM »
I'm sure I read a post somewhere about not to use the paste, but hey I've inhaled enough smoke today to make everything seem a bit cloudy.

Right on to the main controller board...
No your memory's good: http://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=22836.msg220088;topicseen#msg220088 but I think Greg was using paste on the whole board which is how he got some in the vias that he had to clean off.  Just using daubs to tin a pad prior to placing an IC shouldn't cause a problem.

Good luck on the rest of the build, I'll be getting to mine later tonite.
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Offline miraculon

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Re: System Red & E-Field build underway.
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2014, 10:25:47 PM »
I'm sure I read a post somewhere about not to use the paste, but hey I've inhaled enough smoke today to make everything seem a bit cloudy.

Right on to the main controller board...
No your memory's good: http://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=22836.msg220088;topicseen#msg220088 but I think Greg was using paste on the whole board which is how he got some in the vias that he had to clean off.  Just using daubs to tin a pad prior to placing an IC shouldn't cause a problem.

Good luck on the rest of the build, I'll be getting to mine later tonite.

I tried to apply paste with the hypo on each pad but I had trouble controlling it and it got on all four pads on each side. Capillary action pulled the solder paste to the pins in most cases, but I did have some excess that got under some of the parts.

If I had to do it over, I would try this:



http://www.karlssonrobotics.com/cart/soic-8-1-27-mm-pitch-150200-mil-body-stainless-steel-stencil/?gclid=CjkKEQjwiPWcBRCTj_-Vz8fE3cMBEiQAZIMSUuKNJLyv_df5V7JRHcrOUCCL3mN5XiP0QRTGWfJKYpvw_wcB

Another supplier here, (double check which body size to use):
http://www.proto-advantage.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2220001

They also have a mini-squeege: http://www.proto-advantage.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=1200006

I think that I will order one of their kits to practice on and see how well it works.

At my former employer(s) we used custom stencils that matched the pad pattern for the entire board. The solder paste was applied by squeege to the entire surface. This mini-stencil would allow one part at a time which would be OK for kit building.

Greg H.

===========================================================
Update: I checked the Microchip datasheet and the 150/200 is the right stencil

Quote
Molded Package Width E1 .146 .154 .157 3.71 3.91 3.99




« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 08:20:32 AM by miraculon »


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Offline W3DRM

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Re: System Red & E-Field build underway.
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2014, 01:02:52 AM »
Yes, the assembly instructions I wrote for the E-Field do need to be changed relative to C1 & C2. I will make changes to the documentation tomorrow. I found the same when I began my own E-Field build today. Sorry for the typos but they will be corrected so others don't have any problems.

The idea of using layouts of the PCB's (masks) so we can accurately solder is a great idea but, unless we are using a temperature controlled oven to actually solder the SMD's, I don't think it is worth the time or expense to do this for a single board. I originally looked into this but discovered that the solder-paste used in the ovens (it contains both a flux paste and tiny balls of solder) and the mask required to correctly apply the paste is simply too much work (and expense) for a single board. Personally, I just use a liquid flux applied to the pads and then solder the chips. It works and is a lot less of a hassle than using other methods.
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Offline ayde_bury

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Re: System Red & E-Field build underway.
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2014, 03:43:03 AM »
There are now 10 SMC items in a total build so as mentioned above the toothpick and magnifier cutting off a little past and doing them in pairs worked well for me.

Station 1039 has a pulse, is connected to the internet and is of course in interference mode - no ground, no copper antenna and its at ground level whilst testing.
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Offline dfroula

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Re: System Red & E-Field build underway.
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2014, 08:19:38 AM »
I know the mask and paste method is preferred for small batches of prototype runs. I've used that method at work in the past.

However, I can solder all the SMD parts onto a single board using conventional methods in less time than it would take me to apply paste properly to one set of pads!

Don
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Offline miraculon

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Re: System Red & E-Field build underway.
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2014, 08:31:25 AM »
I know the mask and paste method is preferred for small batches of prototype runs. I've used that method at work in the past.

However, I can solder all the SMD parts onto a single board using conventional methods in less time than it would take me to apply paste properly to one set of pads!

Don
WD9DMP

Indeed, I probably could have done it all with the soldering iron faster especially in light of the time it took to hunt down the solder shorts. However, I am obstinate enough to try the stencil if I build up another kit!

Greg H


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Offline miraculon

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Re: System Red & E-Field build underway.
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2014, 08:39:43 AM »
Yes, the assembly instructions I wrote for the E-Field do need to be changed relative to C1 & C2. I will make changes to the documentation tomorrow. I found the same when I began my own E-Field build today. Sorry for the typos but they will be corrected so others don't have any problems.

The idea of using layouts of the PCB's (masks) so we can accurately solder is a great idea but, unless we are using a temperature controlled oven to actually solder the SMD's, I don't think it is worth the time or expense to do this for a single board. I originally looked into this but discovered that the solder-paste used in the ovens (it contains both a flux paste and tiny balls of solder) and the mask required to correctly apply the paste is simply too much work (and expense) for a single board. Personally, I just use a liquid flux applied to the pads and then solder the chips. It works and is a lot less of a hassle than using other methods.

I wasn't suggesting getting a custom stencil for the entire board. It would probably cost more than the kit!

What I am considering is using the single SOIC8 mini-stencil on each part individually. There is a video on that first link (karlssonrobotics), that shows the process. It seems OK to me.

Greg H


Blitzortung Stations #706 and #1682
CoCoRaHS: MI-PI-1
CWOP: CW4114 and KE8DAF-13
WU: KMIROGER7
Amateur Radio Callsign: KE8DAF

Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Re: System Red & E-Field build underway.
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2014, 08:48:46 AM »
 =D>
I know the mask and paste method is preferred for small batches of prototype runs. I've used that method at work in the past.

However, I can solder all the SMD parts onto a single board using conventional methods in less time than it would take me to apply paste properly to one set of pads!

Don
WD9DMP
=D>  Yeah. 
Sometimes we can over complicate and over expense things... listening to some of you guys, I still can't understand why mine works.
But... we all do what our experience, background, toobox and intuition tell us.
 

Offline JonathanW

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Re: System Red & E-Field build underway.
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2014, 09:12:45 AM »
=D>
I know the mask and paste method is preferred for small batches of prototype runs. I've used that method at work in the past.

However, I can solder all the SMD parts onto a single board using conventional methods in less time than it would take me to apply paste properly to one set of pads!

Don
WD9DMP
=D>  Yeah. 
Sometimes we can over complicate and over expense things... listening to some of you guys, I still can't understand why mine works.
But... we all do what our experience, background, toobox and intuition tell us.

Exactly.  For me, it worked well enough using kapton high-temperature tape to hold the SMD parts in place (available from McMaster-Carr and elsewhere), then soldering the corner pins in the usual fashion, followed by the others.  Use what works for you!

Offline W3DRM

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Re: System Red & E-Field build underway.
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2014, 02:00:52 PM »
Hey, one thing we all forgot is that by doing this manually, we are all gaining experience working with small components!  \:D/

BTW, just finished my E-Field kit and it worked right away - guess I must have followed my instructions correctly  :-P

I will also be posting the latest updates to both the parts listings and step-by-step documents in a few minutes...
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