Simple, reusable ZIF “socket” for SMD parts.

I show how to use a pair of magnets to temporarily mount a surface mount chip to a breakout board.

Surface mount chips are becoming more common nowadays but they are harder to use for prototyping not being breadboard friendly. Using a simple SMD breakout board (like one of these) and some powerful magnets (I use these ones) you can conveniently and easily temporarily attach SMD chips to the breakout board.



You simply use a magnet to hold the chip onto the board.


I put some tape down underneath to insulate the bottom magnet. The reason my board has pins coming out of both sides is so I can flip it and use the TSSOP side in additon to the SOIC side. This turned out to not be a great idea as the top pins made it harder to place the chip, but it was still pretty straightforward. If I had more breakouts, I’d make a dedicated TSSOP one instead.



Tape the bottom magnet to the center of the board, otherwise it will want to pull to the side and squirt your chip out. You could also use a drop of super glue to attach the top magnet to your chip (easily removed later) and leave the bottom one free to side around as you position the chip if you find that easier.

And before you object, no, the magnets will not affect the operation of the chip. Just watch out if you want to use a few of these on one breadboard, get them too close to each other and the magnets may jump. a bit of mu-metal shielding may help; it’s something I want to experiment with.