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All actuals DSP or MCUs comes in BGA-like packages with numerous pins and very small size that make them hard to integrate in home project. Does anyone has knowledge of revolutionary breadboards, cheaps sockets or just expansible developement boards that would make this task easier ?
Just for notice, I take my interest in audio systems. This far I never put feet on hardware ground (just sofware) despite old theoretical knowledge bundled with my university graduation.

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Most chip manufacturers offer development kits for these types of device either directly or indirectly though a separate company. – kjgregory Jul 8 '14 at 16:31
Of course but even if they're fine to start experimenting, they're not tailored to suit the project I'm working on (often far too complex with a lot of feature I have no use of and with a lack of other ones that would be mandatory for me) – user9020 Jul 8 '14 at 16:41
If you have a method for fabricating a PCB you can probably do BGAs with solder paste and the oven in your house. But most manufacturers provide a non-BGA alternative for most chips – Jay Keegan Jul 9 '14 at 8:06
up vote 11 down vote accepted

BGA is mighty hard, even for non-home operations. I can't think of any way you'd solder them without a reflow process, and without good equipment and a way to inspect them, you'd probably just destroy a lot of parts. There are some sockets available, but they aren't particularly economical.

However, other surface mount components are feasible. Adapters for various *QFP and *SOP flavors can be found which adapt the package to some .100" headers which will stick in a breadboard. It's also not impossible, with the right tools and a steady hand, to solder directly to the leads.

For the more expensive components, microcontrollers, DSPs, FPGAs and whatnot, there are most usually development or evaluation kits available which include the component in question, attached (with a socket, where feasible) to a development board with plenty of .100" headers or other accessible connectors. Just to pick an example from Mouser's front page, see this TI MSP430FR5969 LaunchPad Evaluation Kit. Of course, these are also somewhat expensive, and highly specific to a particular device.

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Thanks ! Going the distance from design to prototype doesn't seam to be a one (hobbyist) man job for these kind of packages. I'll take my chances with arduino to begin with even though it is not very audio-friendly, some new cards with adc/dac and cortex-0 32bits architecture begin to appear which might be enough to suit my needs for now... – user9020 Jul 8 '14 at 18:05
Note that the BGA sockets are also BGA mount, so you still have the same problem... – Adam Davis Jul 8 '14 at 18:44

While BGA is often considered hard for hobbyist level development, many of those devices also come in QFP style packages with pins around the outside. While they are tiny and difficult to solder, they can be soldered by hand with some practice.

If you have a part in BGA, look for that same or similar part in an easier to deal with package, or change your design to use easy-to-prototype parts.

Lastly, there are services which will do the difficult parts of assembly for you if you cannot adapt your design away from parts you can't handle yourself. Let them install the few difficult components, then assemble the rest yourself. You might be surprised at how affordable this is.

There is no need to let difficult parts prevent you from building your project.

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Indeed, QFN packages look promising for personnal project, and I discovered affordable adapters exists for this kind of packages. Thanks for the cheerings ! – user9020 Jul 9 '14 at 6:46

Soldering of most of those packages can be dealt with using a fairly modest investment in reflow equipment. It's not really necessary to inspect BGA soldering- if the process is controlled the yield is quite high and plenty of people do hand rework on BGA packaged parts without X-ray machines or fiber microscopes. QFNs and various chips-scale packages are also a PITA.

J-lead SMT packages can be soldered with nothing more sophisticated than fine solder/tip and some solder wick (and preferably a microscope unless your eyes are very good).

The big thing pushing you toward eval boards for BGA packages will probably be the high cost of bespoke multilayer boards in small quantities, and the tedium of installing huge numbers of microscopic 0402 and 0201 bypass capacitors. If you can get a relatively compact eval board for a part such as a high-pin-count micro you perhaps can mount it on your own design of carrier board.

If you want stuff that's physically, as well as functionally, similar to commercial stuff, you really have to pay to play, to some extent.

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Thanks a lot! Phil frost's answer accepted because it answer my question with a larger view. – user9020 Jul 8 '14 at 18:09

Inexpensive breakouts for surface mount packages can be found quite cheaply and soldered via a hot plate. If you don't want to risk damaging the chip or use up an expensive one on an adapter, there is always the magnet method http://notanumber.net/archives/142/simple-reusable-zif-socket-smd-parts

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