I am trying to use this IMU from sparkfun, but when I connected it to a power source it got extremely hot (I noticed it because of the smell, I'm pretty sure it's fried), and I'm trying to troubleshoot why this happened. I've checked that the circuit is wired correctly (I only wired the Vcc, ground and three other pins), so I think i might have broken it while soldering. At first I tried to solder the pins with a soldering iron that was not appropriate for electronics work (too hot and had the tip very oxidized) and let it make contact with the joints for quite a long time, so I think might have burned it then. My question is, would this behavior be explained by that? I don't want to buy another chip before first being sure of what happened to this one.

Here's what the breakout board with a header soldered to it looks like (I wired the VDD pin to the 3.3V pin in an arduino 101, the GND pin to the arduino ground pin, the SCL and SDA pins to the arduino's I2C pins, and the INT pin to the arduino's 12 pin):

enter image description here

  • \$\begingroup\$ Did you use the soldering iron on the pins of that little IC? Or only on the row of holes intended for that purpose? \$\endgroup\$
    – jonk
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 16:35
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ could you post an image of the circuit you connected and maybe a photo of the connections to the chip? it's very difficult to troubleshoot without this info \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 16:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I used the soldering iron on the holes only. @Fuzzy_Bunnys I will post that information in a minute. \$\endgroup\$
    – XaitormanX
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 16:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @neonzeon I'm positive, it's wired to the 3.3V output of the arduino. \$\endgroup\$
    – XaitormanX
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 16:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Apparently you consider your desk more important than the board - it's occupying 93% of this image that you force everyone to click through because you couldn't bother to crop it. \$\endgroup\$
    – pipe
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 17:54

1 Answer 1


You didn't destroy it from soldering. First, it's almost impossible to destroy the chip from soldering heat for a short period of time, and typically you'll wreck the board long before the chip breaks a sweat.

However, it's surely fried. There are a few possibilities as to how it could have gotten that way. Reversing the supply, even for an instant, will do it. Applying a signal to an input before power is applied to the chip, then applying power can do it (or the classic equivalent when a test prod slips and shorts some random connections together). The Arduino may be able to supply enough current to cause that to happen.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It could even be a case of ESD. \$\endgroup\$
    – user98663
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 16:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Wossname Could be .. ESD is a 'signal' of sorts. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 17:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the answer. I am absolutely sure I haven't reversed the supply. The pins from an arduino don't apply a signal by default right? The program that was running on the arduino was the Blink sample. The solder blobs in the Vcc and GND joints are almost touching each other, could this be a problem? \$\endgroup\$
    – XaitormanX
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 17:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @XaitormanX The pin you refer to as VCC actually says VDD. If VDD and GND were actually touching then you would have a short-circuit across the power supply and the chip would not heat up. (If you have trouble reading that tiny printing, like I do, then a small, reasonable-quality 8x-10x magnifying glass is a good investment.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 18:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay so it wasn't that then haha. Thanks for the advice, the printing is quite difficult to read indeed. \$\endgroup\$
    – XaitormanX
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 18:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.