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Through-Hole Components Getting Scarce In Favour Of SMD?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by phaeton, Apr 20, 2005.

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  1. phaeton

    phaeton Guest

    As a kid growing up in the 1980s i took apart everything i owned or get
    my hands on to see what was in it. Toy trucks, R/C cars, tape decks,
    computers, game consoles, bicycles, typewriters, my mom's sewing
    machine, the lawnmower, etc...

    Most of the electronic stuff i took apart in the 1980s and early 1990s
    had a lot of "through-hole" style (for lack of better description)
    components soldered down onto a (usually) single or double-sided PCB.
    Resistors, Diodes, Caps, Transistors and stuff just like we've all got
    in our lil plastic trays, with the long leads that you stick through
    the hole and solder.

    Nowadays (i spend a great portion of the day working on computers) most
    electronics stuff i see is mostly miniature surface mount components,
    which from a manufacturing standpoint makes lots of sense for a lot of
    reasons. There are exceptions, i.e.. caps, crystals, chokes (where
    size is a factor in its specification or performance) and high-power
    transistors or voltage regulators (large to dissipate heat).

    Is there plenty of through-hole stuff still being used in manufacturing
    these days, or with manufacturing shifted towards SMD, will
    through-hole resistors, transistors, diodes and such start to
    grandually become less available and more expensive over the next
    several years? I can think of some places where through-hole stuff is
    a better option, i.e. protoyping or higher powered stuff. Looking at
    the catalog at National, there's no shortage of through-hole stuff in
    current production at the moment. I'm sure it'd be a long, slow
    process (like decades) to phase out through-hole components completely
    and use up all the stock/surplus.

    I've spoken with a hobbyist on IRC that claims to build most of his
    projects with SMD components- he arranges them on his PCB, applies
    solder paste appropriately and sticks it in a toaster oven. He could
    be full of crap, i've never seen pics, but i can't think of any reason
    why he'd lie about it. He's knowledgeable, helpful, and
    well-respected, and doesn't smack of someone just trying to be l33t.
    Surface-mount is actually his preference, but to me it seems like that
    approach would be more hassle and less fun (disclaimer: i've never done
    it that way). Through-hole stuff just seems like it would be so much
    easier to work with.

  2. Andrew Holme

    Andrew Holme Guest

    I've started hoarding through-hole components for fear of limited supply.

    Try Googling for "toaster oven" and SMD


    Everybody's doing it, it would seem.
  3. phaeton

    phaeton Guest

    I've started hoarding through-hole components for fear of limited

    For real? Are you seeing anything in particular that's becoming
    scarce, yet? Not things discontinued completely, but things that are
    no longer available as through-hole but are going strong as SMD?

    (disclaimer: The above diatribe sounds MUCH more paranoid/conspiratory
    than how i really feel. I'm not losing sleep or getting ulcers over
    this ;))
    Oh, i didn't doubt that he could be doing everything with surface-mount
    stuff. It all seemed plenty feasible to me, just more of a hassle.
    I've never tried it, and i'd prefer not to if i could avoid it.
    Reading the article you pointed to confirmed a lot of my preconceptions
    about it- parts sliding around, heat damage, going back afterwards and
    fixing all these super-tiny solder bridges- The older i get the
    shakier my hands and the blurrier my vision ;)
  4. Guest

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