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Old 29 December 2006, 23:00   #13
Secret Vampire
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Birmingham UK
Age: 38
Posts: 214
Surface mount isn't that hard, certainly not as hard as people who haven't tried it sometimes think.
What it does require however is completely different equipment and techniques to through-hole. Ideally you'll have a hot-air rework station (Chinese ones can be had for around £60, and should be good enough for most hobbyists), along with a flux pen and solder paste, however, those on a tight budget can get acceptable results with a gas soldering iron fitted with a hot air head.
The actual process is amazingly simple, put some flux on the legs of the component and pads, put a line of solder paste across the pads, place component, heat, and watch as the paste melts and separates before your eyes, and the component shifts itself into the correct position.
Alternatively, the board can be heated in an oven with all components in place.
More modern technology, like BGA packages are near impossible to do manually without very expensive equipment though, fortunately, the only place where they're used in Amiga hardware is PowerPC chips.
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