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SHIPPING

Q: What is the cost for international shipping?

A:  USPS (United States Postal Service) rates:

  • First Class International - $6.55 + $1.00 handling
  • Priority International Flat Rate - $23.95 + $1.00 handling

For large value orders, we recommend shipping via DHL, UPS, or Fedex, but cost for these services can range from $55.00 up.  Contact us if you wish to ship with one of these carriers.

Q: Can you provide a tracking number for my shipment?

A: Tracking numbers all the way to the destination are only available with DHL, UPS, Fedex.  For USPS international shipments, the customs form serial number is technically not a tracking number, it might be useful for locating delayed or lost shipments by contacting the importing country's customs office.



SOLDERING

Q:  I've never soldered surface mount parts before; is it difficult?

A:  Soldering SMT parts is no more difficult than through-hole parts if you have the right tools.  I use a conical 1/64" tip which allows me to solder 0.5mm pin pitch parts without any problem; compared to that, standard SO8 (1.27mm pin pitch) parts are a piece of cake.  Probably the most important thing is to liberally apply solder flux to the pads before you put the part down.  I like to use felt-tipped flux pins (they look just like marker pins and you can get them from DigiKey or Mouser).  The pads are already plated with a small amount of solder, so you can secure the part in position before you apply any additional solder.

Do the following:

1.  Apply solder flux to the pads.
2.  Position the part on the pads.
3.  Touch the iron to one of the end pins; allow enough time the solder to flow between the pin and pad.  If the positioning of the part looks OK, then use the same procedure to tack down the opposite corner.
4.  Solder the remaining pins with a small amount of additional solder, then apply solder to the original pins you used to secure the part.
5.  Use solder wick to clear any solder bridges that might occur between pins.  This doesn't happen very often on SO8 parts unless you get too carried away with the solder; this is more likely to occur on finer pitch parts.



Here are some good Dave Jones YouTube videos on soldering.


In part 1, he talks about tools:




In Part 2, he does through-hole soldering:





In Part 3, he shows how to do surface mount soldering.  At 9:10 he shows how to solder an SO8 IC.





Also, Warren Young at Tangentsoft has produced a series of very good tutorial videos addressing through-hole and SMT soldering techniques.  You can view them here (requires Ver. 8 Flash (or later) plugin for your browser).

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