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Jameco Challenges

Product Review: Surface Mount Adapter Boards

By Robert Cong

In electronics design, the worst assumption a designer can make is building a "foolproof" circuit that ends up not working. The process of troubleshooting can be a lot of trouble especially when you have no idea what the problem may be. There are wires everywhere, tiny pins to count, and many components to check and test. The last thing you want to do is bring out the iron and desolder any ICs.

That's where surface mount adapter boards come in very handy. With the majority of new ICs these days emerging on the market in only surface mount packages, being able to build new prototypes requires designers to use only SMD components or make use of specialty SMD protoboards. Instead of using the old, trusted and familiar DIP-friendly breadboard.

With the new Jameco ValuePro surface mount adapter boards, designers are able to make use of multiple surface mount packages with one single board, you will save money over using multiple adapter boards, save time by soldering less, and ease your troubleshooting headaches if you are soldering SMD ICs directly into your breadboard.

Surface Mount SIP Surfboard
Surface Mount SIP Surfboard

SOIC and TSSOP-packaged ICs can be great for finished products; they take up much less real estate and allow the end product to be more easily manageable from a size perspective. During the design phase, it's much more convenient to work with ICs without needing a magnifying glass. The SOIC/TSSOP-to-DIP adapter board has both footprints on either side of the board so that you can design with either package without needing to purchase another adapter board. It comes in 8, 16, and 28-pin footprints and can easily snap apart at your convenience.

For those who want to work with more than just SOIC and TSSOP packages, the multiple footprint adapter board can accommodate SOIC, SOT, TO, TSSOP, as well as various SMT passive component packages. Just solder on some headers and you're ready to go.

Prototyping with SMT components is made a little simpler with these convenient adapter boards, although it still won't guarantee that everything will work as expected when you first flip that ON switch. That never happens in real life anyway.

Notes: For a beginner video tutorial – Getting Started with Surface Mount Devices by Collin Cunningham (Make Magazine).

For additional products to help with SMT prototyping, see the Jameco catalog and refer to the WEB Codes below:

Robert is a graduate from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in Electrical Engineering. His interests include sports, movies, music and playing with cool, new gadgets.