How small is too small?

Not a rhetorical question! This week we consider the most microcontroller: the HC32L110. It is the new title holder of the smallest ARM Cortex M0+ part. But could you really use it?

MCU is the black thing which is smaller than the capacitor.

I remember way back when I first learned to solder surface mount components. It was clunky at first, but these days I don’t use continuous components unless someone turns my arm. And I still solder myself – until 0603 is really not that bad with an iron, and below that there is always the heating plate. My heating plate also got me through the two times I actually needed to put down a ball grid array part. It wasn’t as bad as I feared, to be honest.

So maybe it’s time for me to take the BGA plunge and design a board or two to get more familiar with the technology. I probably won’t dive right in, like the chip pictured here with a 0.35mm bullet pitch, preferring to stick with something the cheap PCB services can handle easily. My experience tells me that the best way to learn something is to just try it.

Now, off to go shopping in the midst of a chip crisis! Wish me luck.

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