BrownDog FAQ Page
Q: What is the cost for international shipping?
A: The US Postal Service recently increased postal rates but also made other changes that affect our shipping. They eliminated the Global Priority Mail category and replaced it with 'Priority Mail International, Flat Rate' which is now $12.00US. Unfortunately, the $5.25US GPM shipping option is no longer available. The least expensive option First Class International Mail, which is $1.50US plus $1.00 handling fee.
We can also send by Express Mail International, but the cost is $25.00 plus $5.00 handling fee. Please indicate in the order notes or by email that you want this shipment option. This option provides tracking, but only up to point of the importing country's customs clearance, from that point to the final destination, tracking is not available.
Q: Can you provide a tracking number for my shipment?
A: Tracking numbers are only available with UPS, Fedex, or US Postal Service Express Mail International. Express Mail International can only be tracked up to the importing country's customs clearance.
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 much 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.
Note: 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).