Going into this project I knew I would have to do a lot of surface mount soldering to save space and money. I used the smallest SMD hand-solderable packages and still ran out of space! I’ve never been particularly good at soldering, but knew that I would have to become much better to tackle the types of projects I’m interested in. In anticipation of this, I splurged and bought a very nice soldering iron from Radioshack. I cannot express how great this iron is! I’m used to using cheap, $10 irons that just need to get the job done, but with the fine tip on my new one, SMD wasn’t difficult at all! Below is a picture of the board with most of the components soldered on.
You’ll notice that I haven’t yet soldered on the accelerometer. That’s because QFN packages are much smaller than I anticipated, even with a fine tipped iron. In order to solder this, I’d probably need solder paste and a hot air station, something I’m not quite ready to drop $100 on yet. Not sure what I’m going to do about that, especially since I’m going to need the accelerometer to minimize power usage.