Saturday, April 25, 2009

Annoyances and solutions for components when top-soldering DIY double-sided PCBs

Most components are very easy to top solder when making double-sided PCBs. However, some can be annoying and hard. The following may be a simple solution for such components:

  • Large capacitors
    • Do not insert completely. Leave space on top and bend capacitor over on its side. This will leave a lot of space for easy top soldering.
  • Male/female pin headers
    • For the male pin headers, use pliers or  a vice & hammer to tap the plastic part further toward the connection end. This will give room for top-soldering.
    • For the female headers: this can get tricky on some types as not enough pin length is left to allow for top-soldering. The best I can think of in this case is to try and raise the header off the PCB slightly anyway and solder the top parts first. Then flip to the other side of the PCB and continue soldering.
  • Switches, piezoelectric speakers, and other seated components.
    • These can also get tricky to top-solder. Again, the solution may be to raise the component off the PCB as much as possible. If this doesn’t work, then the next quickest way is to solder stiff copper wires to them as lead-extensions.


If all else fails, it’s always handy to have a few through-hole rivets (as discussed in detail in my previous post). In any case, top-soldering is the quickest and most cost-effective method for DIY double-sided PCB making.

And there’s my thought for today.

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