My prior blog covered the Screaming Circuits Manufacturability Index. It’s something I’ll be using from time to time when discussing new components I run across. I’ve got a few examples to put the numbers into context.
On the low side of the index, we have:
1: Just about anyone could hand solder the part
Examples: Through-hole parts
The SN7400 quad NAND Gate, shown on the right, is a good example. It’s big, it’s through-hole, and if someone has trouble hand soldering it, they really need a few more classes.
Closer to the other end, is a new chip I’ve run across. The Silego GPAK4 is a small FPGA-like mixed signal device. It’s got a number of analog peripherals, a bank of programmable logic, and the ability to configure it up the way you want. Take a look at it below:
This little thing is housed in a 2mm x 3mm QFN package. That’s pretty tiny by the standards of my giant fumble-fingers. I’ve given it a rating of 4.b, on the Screaming Circuits manufacturability index. The number ranking “4” means: “Needs advanced automated assembly technique“, and the letter suffix “b” means: “Typical level of challenge within the number rank.” In other words, right up our alley.
Unless you posses super-human abilities, and maybe lasers in your eyes, you won’t be hand soldering these. You’ll have them assembled by us (or someone with the same technical capabilities as us), where it will be a standard process.
If you do want to put one or more of these in your design, you will want to make (or find) a custom library footprint for your CAD software. Due to the variable length pads, a standard one-size-pad footprint might lead to solder joint reliability issues.
The chips go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah
The chips go marching one by one,
The little one stops to suck her thumb
Just to see if the solder is lead-free