Altronics Colour Maximite - Mystery Cap

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Joined: 09/06/2011
Location: Australia
Posts: 512
Posted: 02:06pm 08 Dec 2012      

My Altronics Colour Maximite kit arrived and I wasted no time in getting it built up.

I'm very impressed with board, a black board, double sided (4 layer?).

The case is nice, much like the version in the Silicon Chip magazine.

But one word of warning...

*** Mount the tiny SMD 10mf capacitor FIRST! ***

In the kit is a small bag with a tiny SMD capacitor. It's tiny at only 1mm wide and 1.5mm long. Dead easy to lose if you drop it.

There is no mention of this part in the instructions and I didn't even see it in the schematics. I could't even see where it fitted on the PCB.

I assumed it was accidently put in the kit and ignored it.

That is, until I finished building the kit and the unit didn't fire up.

I did a good job of soldering, checked power voltages, everything looked fine. That's when I turned my attention back to the SMD.

There is nothing about this comoponent in the instructions but I eventually found a spot where it's meant to go on the PCB. It's barely marked and very tiny. It's almost like an aftermath "mod" added in later in the PCB manufacturing.

Now, unless your hands are steady and eyesight good, you will struggle mounting this. This is why I say, *mount this part FIRST* while you have plenty of space around it and nothing hindering your progress.

I found this to be the hardest part to put in. I've never done SMD soldering before so it was challenge putting this on as the LAST part.

I can see this part being a problem area that Altronics should address to make what is almost a perfect kit. For some, this may be the downfall of the kit, ruining the fine tracks at this location and blowing their hard earned cash out the door.

Why not use a normal sized cap, just make the pads larger and allow the constructor to solder a conventional "human sized" component here?

Lucky for me, I got it mounted fine in the end and my Maximite booted first pop after that.