Magnetic Surface Mount Device (SMD) Adapter

This Instructable is part of my Current Regulated LED Tester.

This is an adapter that can be plugged into a breadboard or a PCB for testing of simple SMD components. When I say simple I mean components which are limited to two terminals such as resistors, capacitors, diodes, and LEDs. A magnet is used to attract the components to stay on the pads.

I didn't originally wanted to write up an Instructible on this adapter because it really doesn't work as well as I hoped it would. Firstly, not all components are ferromagnetic. I tried a bunch of SMD components and found that at least the tantalum capacitors that I had wasn't attracted to the magnet. Secondly, the components tend to orientate themselves in a funny position. I would attribute this to the distribution of the ferromagnetic materials (presumably the terminal ends) and the magnetic field. I only used one magnet in the center and the components tend to stand up on one side of its terminal. Perhaps using two separate rectangular magnets slightly spaced apart would yield better results. The last thing that I'm not entirely satisfied with is how well it sticks. You would need magnets that are rather strong because there's very little ferromagnetic materials on an SMD component.

While this adapter has two pads, it is quite possible to increase the number up to three or four. A four pad adapter means you can use it to test components with four terminals. Any more than four pads will be impractical as too much effort will be needed to align the component terminals to the pads.
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Step 1: Tools & materials

Picture of Tools & materials
- Copper clad board
- Veroboard
- Rotary tool with drill bit
- Masking tape
- Permanent marker
- Scouring pad
- Acetone
- Etching tub/container
- Etching solution
- Male PCB headers
- Magnet
- Superglue (or other strong adhesive)

You will also need the tools and materials needed for soldering.
ironsmiter4 years ago
It's a LITTLE tip, but one you may find useful.

For the "shortened pins" for use in the led tester...
Consider flipping the header.

The header stock I have, the only difference between the pin ends is their length. The short side has plenty of length to seat fairly securely in a normal socket. May not work with all headers and sockets, but for the ones I have, it does.

If you don't want the long headers poking up out of the top of the board, Trim off with nippers, and you're good to go.
sweet ible