For a great little Surface Mount practice kit, see Roman Black's Shift-1 wire serial LCD driver and project board
Surface mount devices have many advantages and a few disadvantages. More and more components are available only in SMT packages, so learning to work with them is becomming critical.
|Takes up much less space
Wider range of parts avilable
Can be soldered in batches by reflow or wave techniques
Automated placement very possible
|No leads to hold component in place while soldering
Small size makes hand soldering difficult wtihout a brace or very steady hand
Bridged solder traces more likely and difficult to see.
Easy to loose if dropped
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