Apr 5, 2010
The SALAMANDER triple sensor boards arrived and are under construction by students in the Gadget Lab at the University of Louisville. We used a laser-cut mylar stencil from Pololu to stencil solder paste onto the pads, then students placed the parts and we reflowed the solder on a hotplate. These boards were previously hand-soldered, but we need 50 of them for the summer so that had to change. If you’re considering the hotplate method, it is very very good and you should try it. The Gadget Lab has a fancy “lab” hotplate but I have just acquired the $20 Target skillet and will try it soon with that. We do all the surface-mount parts this way, then stick on a few through-hole connectors. The staggered SparkFun connector footprint does hold the connectors in place nicely (though much better for the 3-pin ones than the 2-pin parts) Now we have 27 working boards, and the bottleneck has moved to testing and sensor calibration. One person’s bottleneck is another person’s summer research project!