Wednesday, December 2, 2009

RTC Crystals and Breadboards

A quick note on working with realtime clocks on breadboards. The leads from your typical clock crystals are very thin. In my experience, these don't make reliable contact with the teeth of the breadboard, and that can stop your RTC from running, or make it unreliable. My simple solution was to solder the crystal onto the RTC's xtal pins. It's not as if I ever want the RTC chip to operate without a crystal, and it ensures that the connection is solid. The goal is to solder the crystal so that it is sticking up about the chip and is soldered onto the top, wider part of the chip pins. Aim to get no solder on the narrower part of the pin that will engage the breadboard. As always, tin both parts, and flux them beforehand to ensure that the solder flows nicely.

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