Author Topic: Tutorial: Stripboard-based Adapter Boards for Surface Mount Transistors  (Read 417 times)

EBK

I was slightly bored, and I was thinking about how I used to be scared of trying surface mount parts, so I created this. I hope at least one person finds this helpful (or at least amusing).

Tutorial: Stripboard-based Adapter Boards for Surface Mount Transistors

Or

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the SOT-23


MOTIVATION:
Through-hole JFETs are getting more expensive as manufacturers phase them out.  To say that the supply is being rapidly depleted would be a bit overdramatic, probably, but the available supply is definitely decreasing and will likely continue to do so.  However, surface mount JFETs continue to be available at reasonable prices, and they are suitable for guitar pedal building if you can adapt to using  the tiny form factor.  Adapter boards are commercially available to convert the surface mount form to a conventional through-hole terminal spacing, but these boards are sometimes more expensive than the transistors themselves.

GOAL:
To cheaply and easily modify the SOT-23 JFET to work as a drop in substitute for the through-hole equivalent transistor.

In this tutorial, I will be using a MMBF5457 and modifying it to substitute for a 2N5457.  The same steps will work for other transistors, such as the MMBFJ201 as a substitute for a through-hole J201.  These are the pinouts of the 2N5457 and MMBF5457:


Instead of using a custom etched PCB, I'm using a tiny piece of stripboard (Veroboard).
The final product will look like this:


MATERIALS:
One piece of stripboard, 3 rows 4 columns, and

one MMBF5457 transistor.

You will also need a little bit of wire (and a soldering iron with solder, of course).



STEPS:

Cut:
The board requires only a single trace cut.  Be careful not to make it too wide though.  The source and drain terminals of the transistor will need to straddle this gap.


Prep surface:
Lightly apply solder to the spot where the transistor will be mounted.  This will make subsequent soldering easier.


Place:
This is the correct location and orientation for the transistor.  Tweezers may be helpful for placement.


Tack:
To successfully solder the transistor, it is helpful to tack it down with a temporary solder joint at one of the transistor terminals.  Depending on how much solder is already on the board you may be able to simply press down on one of the terminals with a hot soldering iron tip.  Here, I grabbed a small blob of molten solder on the iron and unceremoniously plopped it onto the gate terminal while using my fingernail to hold the transistor still.


Solder:
Once the transistor is temporarily fixed in place, solder the unattached terminals before returning to clean up the initial tack with a proper solder joint.


Jumper (and optionally clean flux):
The last key component to our adapter is a wire jumper connecting the top holes of the left and center traces.  I have also taken the opportunity to clean up residual flux on the board using a toothbrush and isopropyl alcohol.  You could wait to do this clean up later, or you can probably get away with not doing it ever.

At this point, the adapter board is effectively done. The bottom three holes are electrically connected to the drain, source, and gate terminals, respectively, of the transistor.  You can solder header pins or wires to these holes and connect them to the appropriate places in your circuit and enjoy.  If, however, you want a through-hole device with a minimally-bulky, reasonably-robust set of solid leads, I suggest the following additional steps.

Leads:
Prepare the leads by bending three pieces of wire similar to the jumper used previously, but with one side substantially longer.

Insert the wires into the copper side of the board like this.

Solder the wires into place at both holes and along the length of copper in between.  Then, bend the leads straight, clip them to the desired length, and trim the ends poking out of the other side of the board.


CONCLUSION:
Congratulations!  You now have an inexpensive through-hole transistor equivalent made by adapting a surface mount transistor.
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kraal

Re: Tutorial: Stripboard-based Adapter Boards for Surface Mount Transistors
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2020, 02:02:04 PM »
It remembers me when my dad was teaching me parking his car on tiny parking spaces... I was terrified on the day of the driving test: "will I succeed ?". Then I burst out laughing: the parking space in which I had to park the car was twice the size of my car.
The day I placed a SOD882D component on a PCB for the first time, I realized that I stopped worrying about using SMD components :icon_lol:
« Last Edit: December 31, 2020, 02:27:20 PM by kraal »

Fancy Lime

Re: Tutorial: Stripboard-based Adapter Boards for Surface Mount Transistors
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2020, 02:19:55 PM »
Eric,

not only is this both helpful and amusing, it is also very charmingly hacky.

Cheers to that,
Andy
My dry, sweaty foot had become the source of one of the most disturbing cases of chemical-based crime within my home country.

Ben N

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Re: Tutorial: Stripboard-based Adapter Boards for Surface Mount Transistors
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2020, 05:24:01 PM »
That looks... doable.
Thanks, Eric

digi2t

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Re: Tutorial: Stripboard-based Adapter Boards for Surface Mount Transistors
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2020, 05:31:52 PM »
Brilliant! Finally, a good use for all the bits and pieces of leftover vero I have saved in a bag from all my projects.

These "how to" threads should be pinned somewhere.
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antonis

Re: Tutorial: Stripboard-based Adapter Boards for Surface Mount Transistors
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2020, 05:33:43 PM »
So we still have to pay attention to TO-92 pin-out.. :icon_evil:
(SOT-23 could be flipped 180o without any issue..)
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EBK

Re: Tutorial: Stripboard-based Adapter Boards for Surface Mount Transistors
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2020, 06:54:55 PM »
So we still have to pay attention to TO-92 pin-out.. :icon_evil:
(SOT-23 could be flipped 180o without any issue..)
True.  It is easy enough to modify these steps to get a gate-in-the-middle pinout if you want.
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aron

Re: Tutorial: Stripboard-based Adapter Boards for Surface Mount Transistors
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2020, 07:49:33 PM »
Awesome!

quad4

Re: Tutorial: Stripboard-based Adapter Boards for Surface Mount Transistors
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2020, 08:48:14 PM »
Very nice.  This should be a sticky post!

Looks like you could skip the jumper wire and attach the leads directly to the holes in the three islands.  That would only need two vero strips instead of three ... perhaps one row longer to allow for the leads being wired into two holes as you have done.

Nature abhors jumper wires (and vacuums).

Of course this means the pin out doesn't match the thruhole arrangement.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2020, 08:51:11 PM by quad4 »

bluebunny

Re: Tutorial: Stripboard-based Adapter Boards for Surface Mount Transistors
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2021, 06:42:17 AM »
We're only a few hours in, and already Eric has won 2021.   :icon_cool:
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EBK

Re: Tutorial: Stripboard-based Adapter Boards for Surface Mount Transistors
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2021, 08:47:13 AM »
We're only a few hours in, and already Eric has won 2021.   :icon_cool:
I'll trade it, sight unseen, for 2022.  :icon_razz:
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"There is a pestilence upon this land. Nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history." --Roger the Shrubber