Assembling surface mount components at home

Currently I am working on improving the Smart Turn project to build a turn signal indicator for my bicycle. I have made significant progress on this project which I will cover in a later post. But in this post I am going to show you how I assemble surface mount components on to a PCB using my home made reflow oven.

If I can get away with just using through hole components I will  never bother with surface mount at all. But some components only come in surface mount packages like the Bluetooth Low Energy modules from Bluegiga, which I am using for the Smart Turn project. Also through hole is bulky and takes too much space. So inevitably I found myself needing to use surface mount components.

Hand soldering surface mount components is not too difficult if you are only dealing with size 0603 (inch) or greater, but some packages have pads underneath the component and is impossible to access with a soldering iron. So I decided to build a reflow oven a while ago to take care of my surface mount assembling.

While working on the Smart Turn project I created a video that shows step by step from start to finish how I use my reflow oven to assemble surface mount components. As you can see in the video below it is not that complicated of a process. It requires a bit of patience to get solder paste onto the pads, but once that’s done you can sit back and relax while the reflow oven takes care of the rest. Try it out and let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.