Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Making through-hole LEDs from SMT versions

Often when people make the move from through-hole components to SMT, there's no going back. Why bother with all that messy drilling and flipping boards over and soldering and trimming legs, when you can simply plop a miniaturised component onto the board with a bit of paste and solder it up in a fraction of the time?

But because our prototype PCB for the board game module is single-sided, we're having to solder little wires from the "under" side of the board to the "top" to solder our tiny little SMT LEDs to. In short, we're making through-hole style LEDs from some 1206-sized SMT versions

This allows us to mount each LED in the tiny space alongside each of the (5mm high) pushbuttons. Regular LEDs - even the small 3mm versions - are far too tall and we didn't fancy trying mounting the LEDs on their side to get them to fit, so the obvious answer was to make some ultra-low profile through-hole LEDs.

The final board, soldered up and ready for testing:

In the final (production) version, we're going to make the PCB double-sided and put SMT pads on the top surface alongside the pushbuttons. This should not only make assembly easier, but much quicker in the long run!