Easy breadbording of 0603 SMD led / resistor

Beginner friendly way to solder 0603 or larger components to pinheaders so you can plug them in your breadboard. 2 minutes and you are done.

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I needed to draw the current vs tension graph of leds I ordered for another project.

I first tried with SMD Hooks, but they did not work well on components that are not soldered on a PCB. I then started to draw a PCB to solder them, but did not want to wait 10-15 days for them to arrive from OSH Park. Then I tried deadbug soldering but the cheap soldering iron I had tend to burn the tiny components.

Then I found the perfect solution that I describe here. Soldering a led takes about two minutes and I did not fail a single time in my five first attempts.

Soldering 0603 (or larger) component by following these instructions is rather easy. But be sure to buy good quality pin header. By 'good quality' I mean:

-Having discs or cylinder that will prevent the plastic part from sliding on the pins when you try to remove the led from the breadboard

-Having round pins with rounded extremities. Round pin will fit into the 0603 half-circular holes on each side of the component, and rounded ends will ease the snapping of the component in the pins.

Here what I used:

(Ok, I also used a crap soldering iron!)

  • 1 × SMD component 0603 or bigger
  • 1 × 2.54mm (1/10") pin header You will need good quality ones, see "details"
  • 1 × Solder paste, or solder wire Use solder flux or rosin if your solder wire do not include some
  • 1 × Heat source (rework station, heatgun, soldering iron, ...)
  • 1 × Permanent marker Optionnal

  • 1
    Step 1

    Put you SMD component upside down

  • 2
    Step 2

    Bend the pins until the gap between the upper end of the pins is about the size of your SMD component (1.6mm for 0603 size)

  • 3
    Step 3

    Bend the pins just a little more, so you can snap the pins on the component.

    When you snap, hold the component by pressing it downward with tweezers. You know you bent the pins enough when you ear a little "tac" when you snap the component.

    The round pins will fit in the half-round holes on each side on the component.

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Elliot Williams wrote 12/09/2019 at 09:05 point

Hah! I just did this the other day.  Needed a quick-and-dirty voltage divider for 5V/3.3V.  Soldered two 1206s to three pins of a pinheader, and then by "dupont" cable in/through the project.  

Very handy for temporary wiring as well as for breadboarding.

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bulrush15 wrote 07/06/2017 at 11:24 point

This is a brilliant, simple, elegant idea. But in the end, I just went with 5050 LEDs. :|

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zakqwy wrote 07/06/2016 at 20:56 point

Ah this is great! well done!

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origamimavin wrote 04/10/2015 at 02:21 point

This is really clever! Just made a few of these with 0603, 0805, and 1206. All worked really well!

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ftregan wrote 04/10/2015 at 06:04 point

I'm glade it helped ! Since I wrote this guide, I made test with 0402, but did not test with larger packages.

On my next mouser order, I'll include one of each 2 pin smd package and make new picture :)

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