Rounded Rectangle: Information
Rounded Rectangle: Information



Some common questions are answered here as well as some suggestions to make using BoardworX SMT Prototyping System boards even easier!


Rounded Rectangle: Information


Surface mount parts are pretty small.  How do I see what I am doing?

A good choice is a microscope.  Today's parts are so small it is hard to do any significant work without one.  Lower cost units can be found in the $200 range which offer stereo-scopic viewing and adjustable magnification factor.  We have had good results in the 10X magnification range.  monocular microscopes are even lower cost as well. A google search should turn up several alternatives.

Head mounted magnifying visors work well as well if you have reasonably good eyesight.  This can be a low cost alternative.

Not all parts fit the pitch of the BoardworX boards.  Why is this?

Today's SMT packages cover a wide range of package sizes and pin pitches.  It is not possible to accommodate all of them so the BoardworX products were designed to handle the various sizes by choosing spacing and geometry that allows parts to be placed with at least 1 pad in proximity to each pin to allow soldering.  The main purpose of a board of this type is to provide a substrate for the part to be mounted to easily and wired up quickly.

Why do the boards not  have solder mask?

Because the pre tined pads can be more easily soldered  and allow bridging when desired.

Why do the boards us conventional tin/lead solder?

We believe that this provides a better product for prototyping since it serves a wider range of users.  Most components that are lead-free compliant can be soldered with tin lead solder.  If lead free  compatible boards are desired, please contact us and we can provide a custom quote for you.

What components can not be placed on  BoardworX boards?

Currently BGA parts cannot be placed easily.  If you have a way to do this please let us know.  DFN packages can be place by using a “dead bug” approach.

What about larger surface mount components such as resistors and caps? Can they be mounted easily on the BoardworX products?

It turns out that the larger the part the easier it is to mount since it crosses more pads.  The boards are particularly great for this kind of thing.

More Possibilities

Surface mount adaptor boards

Create your own surface mount adaptor boards to add surface mount parts to through hole designs or breadboards.  A simple right angle 0.100 “ pitch connector mounted to the edge of the SMT-300 board  can fan out the pin connections of a finer pitched surface mount part.  You just need to wire up the connections and you will have a quick adaptor.  If you are making this for a breadboard application, use a connector that has pins sized to fit in the holes for the breadboard to avoid damaging the breadboard connectors.


Front panel Board for LED’s and Buttons and switches

Surface mount LED’s and pushbuttons can be placed very precisely on the BoardworX boards allowing really quick indicator and user interface panels to be made to mate with many front panel needs.


Surface mount connectors

Surface mount connectors are a natural fit on the BoardworX boards since they typically have a staggered pin out that is easily accommodated by the pad layout.


Quick fix daughter boards

To add a small circuit to an existing design the BoardworX boards are ideal.  They can be cut to any size and tiny “fix” circuits made on the board and affixed to a larger board for modification or trying out a new idea.  The SMT-400’s are really geared towards this.

Guard traces

Guard traces can be made by running bare wire parallel to the wires to be guarded.

Some Other Ideas


The BoardworX products allow for a different approach to prototyping.  Being able to use the components in other orientations allows for more condensed designs with fewer connections.  Because of their size and shapes, passives and small semiconductors can be mounted in  orientations  other than flat on the board to allow sub circuits to be built above the surface of the board if desired.


In addition, Traditional prototyping techniques have required a lot of insulated wires to be used.  These are time consuming to cut and strip.  Because of the nature of the universal grid it is quite easy with the BoardworX boards to run bare wire tacked to the board and do a formed wire jump over existing bare wires.  Of course the traditional insulated wire approach is always possible if that is your preference.

Some common questions are answered here. 

More applications and uses

Some alternative ideas based on the uniqueness of the BoardworX line. 

Some suggestions about how to deal with some common concerns. 

A short clip on how the part placement works



Place parts so that wiring is minimized.  This is done by grouping placing parts strategically to achieve a condensed clean design

Run bare wires as traces on the board directly.  Bare wire connects easily to the pads by tack soldering at strategic points.

Lift pads off the board to eliminate pin shorting for special cases such as fine pitch parts and QFP packages.  Shown below is an example of pads that have been lifted or cut to allow for a particular  package to be used.


Mount special packages by adapting the board by cutting or lifting pads.  The following image shows how a QFP package can be mounted directly on the board with no special adaptor board. in this case, 2 pins on the vertical side (only one showing) needed to be treated separately by cutting away corners of adjacent pads.  This cutting is easily done and illustrated in the image above.  Also the row of pads behind the vertical ones had to be lifted, again the lifting is illustrated in the above image.


Pads cut to create channel

Pads lifted with knife

Tips And Tricks

DFN Packages are mounted using “Dead Bug” techniques and connecting wires to the pads. Note the use of no clean solder leaves a slight residue. oluble flux based solder does a cleaner job but requires cleaning fairly soon after assembly.


Special constructs such as the “Formed Lead” structure shown here allows wire crossing to be done easily, resulting in a cleaner physical design.  This one was done with an exacto knife.

Rounded Rectangle: Information
Rounded Rectangle: Information
Rounded Rectangle: Information

Special Note

The BoardworX pads are very small and can be overheated if a hot soldering iron is held on them too long.  Care should be taken when using BoardworX boards (or any PCB) that excessive heat is not applied.  The result can be pads coming off of the boards.

Rounded Rectangle: Rounded Rectangle: Home
Rounded Rectangle: Contact
Rounded Rectangle: About
Rounded Rectangle: Products



More Possibilities

Other ideas

Tips and tricks

Placement Animation