Introduction: DIY Breakout for Scavenged Surface Mount IC

Picture of DIY Breakout for Scavenged Surface Mount IC

With the introduction of surface mount components comes the decline of electronic component recovery and reuse. But as a hobbyist I am still strongly inclined towards reuse of scavenged ICs. Why you may ask, when it cost little over $5 for the IC and breakout board. Well, every dollar count and the waiting time for shipping. More importantly I just see it as a challenge against the "throw-away" society.

Before undertaking this project I must forewarn you that it is VERY VERY VERY tedious work, with a lot of "one step forwards, two steps back".

Step 1: IC Removal

Picture of IC Removal

So here is the IC ready for scavenging. I will not go into great details about the process but be sure to check of other ibles covering this topic such as:

Step 2: IC Holder

Picture of IC Holder

To ensure that the legs of the IC don't bend too much and break, we are going to solder it onto a small piece of PCB with only the pads. To get this I took a Dremel to the PCB that housed the IC before and cut out the pads. Then I made a shallower cut around the pad to ensure that all the connection to the pads are cut. There are also extensive Instructables on how to solder surface mounts.

You can hit two birds with one stone if you choose to just cut the IC from the old PCB. That will save you de-soldering and soldering the IC. Just make sure to cut through PCB on the underside of the IC to break all existing connections because it is hard to know if the connection are what you need. If it is then life just got easier.

Step 3: Baseplate

Picture of Baseplate

So before any soldering happens we must first have a sturdy base to mount everything. For this I used a piece of scrap plastic I cut from an old printer. So this is to hold everything in place while we do the soldering. It is possible without it but it would be extremely difficult unless a temporary holder is used.

Step 4: Pinouts

Picture of Pinouts

So this is the output of the breakout board. For this I used some standard stripped proto-board cut into two thin strips. The end facing the IC have been tinned and a bit of extra solder left on. This makes the process later much easier.

Step 5: Preparing for Soldering

Picture of Preparing for Soldering

Before soldering all the points that are to be soldered on should be fixed. The photo shows the general layout of all the components.

Step 6: Soldering!

Picture of Soldering!

So this is the most tedious and time consuming task. I had a really thick tip on my soldering iron which made the whole process much much more challenging.
Use the thinnest enamel wire you have available on a spool.

1) The first step of soldering is to tin the wire.
2) Then place the wire on the pin and apply heat. There should be enough solder to hold. DO NOT APPLY SOLDER AT THIS POINT.
3) Tension the wire to the pinout board. Apply solder and heat to the pinout till the enamel melts away.

The final result should be a lightly tensioned wire from the IC to the pinout board.
NOTE: if a wire comes undone, do not try to resolder. Simple remove the wire and start again. It will save so much time.

Rest and repeat for all the pins.


aycan07 (author)2014-02-26

I like it :)

ben0 (author)2013-05-14

notice in step 2, he used the piece of PCB that the IC was mounted to, and made a shallow groove/'cut' to make sure any connections between pads in the PCB were separated. Using the surface area of the pads on the PCB would make it much easier to solder individual wires to each pin... I can think of a few ways to do it off the top of my head... add small balls of solder to each pad for the IC to be attached to, and during this step solder an individual wire to each pad, (of course, acrylic coated or other micro-coated wire would be best to use in a scenario like this to avoid any possible shorts between wires - either by a random flake of metal or slack causing the wires themselves to tough.)... then when you'd go to mount the IC, perhaps put a small amount of solder or use some electrical tape, whatever works so the wire doesn't move from it's place as you reheat the solder to attach the ic... Another method I can think would be to wrap the wire around the base of each IC pin a couple times, so it is tight enough that it doesn't slip around or move easily.... Then, when you go to solder the IC - the wire is also soldered to the pin.

rockyt (author)2013-03-13

I'm curious to know what you will make with this or what can be made with this? My electronics knowledge is fairly limited.


WWC (author)2013-03-08

Good idea. You covered most of it well but i was interested to see your procedure for soldering all the wires to the IC. You show one wire soldered then all soldered. I hoping to learn how to do that. I don't know if they are done one at a time which is impossible for the ones i have tried.

jam BD (author)WWC2013-03-09

It was done pin by pin. Just took a lot of time... and a steady hand.

WWC (author)jam BD2013-03-09

Ah good, That's hard to do.

About This Instructable




More by jam BD:Stirling EngineDIY Breakout for Scavenged Surface Mount ICVolumetric display improvements
Add instructable to: