Electronic – How to use multiple terminal surface mount chips in amateur project


As you can probably tell from the question I am a beginner in the embedded world. The extent of my experience is some playing around with C and assembly using the Arduino. I'd like to make the jump to the more complex embedded chips that use surface mount device package types rather than through hole device package types. How does one integrate them into an amateur project?

Are there breakout boards or CPU sockets for them? I was particularly thinking about Motorola ColdFire devices or ARM Cortex M3 devices. Apologies for the question but I'm somewhat lost by the vast array of devices on offer and just need a starting point really.

Best Answer

For SMD there are adapter boards SMD-to-PTH, like

SMD adapter

Soldering the parts takes some exercise. You may want parts with a 0.8mm pitch instead of the higher density 0.5mm pitch. The latter you'll find mostly on devices with 48 pins or more.
The other option is that you design your own boards for which you need an EDA (Elecronic Design Automation) package like Eagle. This has a free version with limitations, or a full version which has to be payed for. This design has a long learning curve. When you designed stuff this way you have to option of etching your own board or have it produced by a PCB production shop. The latter is the best choice for quality, the DIY is cheaper and faster.
For starters I recommend the adapter boards I mentioned at the beginning of this answer.