Aurora 18x18 Assembly Guide

Here's the assembly guide for Aurora 18x18. Follow the steps in the order shown here should give you the easiest assembly. (You can also download the PDF: Aurora18x18-PartPlacement ) I recommend reading my instructables of Aurora 9x18 (the prior version) to understand the overall process. Although I outlined the hot-plate reflow method, I now recommend hand soldering, because it's simpler and quicker. Some notes to share:
  • Tidy up the work area - it's much easier to make errors when you work in a messy area.
  • Quality of tools and material can make a big difference. Temperature-controlled soldering iron is a must. High quality solder is also important.
  • Using thin solder wire seems to make a big difference not only with SMD parts, but with RGB LEDs as well. Due to the unusually narrow lead spacing of the RGB LEDs used. I use 0.015" (0.4 mm) soldering wire.
  • Flux is also essencial for SMD soldering. I think a flux pen might be the easiest to use.
  • If you need to remove/re-solder parts, I recommend using Chip Quick removal kit. Although marketed as SMD removal tool, it's very effective in removing through hole parts as well. (I don't think I can build an Aurora without Chip Quick - I always end up replacing a LED or two, either I inserted in wrong orientation or they were defective.) (Now my air reworking tool is collecting dust.)
  • Good (bright) lighting is very helpful in seeing small details.
> Here's the firmware. >Start here. Click on the image on each page to move on the next step. [gallery columns="5"]