How are these prototype boards used?

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Building circuits is a big potential barrier for me. It takes a lot of work and often they often don't work because, well, I'm not very good at. Anyway, when I look for prototyping boards I find a wealth of these,

IMG_0461.JPG


What they are are double sided through vias with no connection between. Now there are two reasons for a product to be plentiful. The first is they're really effective or, if you shop at Fry's, they really suck and no one buys them. My question is, how does one use these?
 

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  • #2
Baluncore
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Push the component leads through the holes, then join the components together using short wires and solder bridges between pads.
Google Images 'prototyping board' to see examples of prototypes.
 
  • #6
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Had a friend in graduate school that used wire wrap. It had many advantages. To me it looks like a short waiting to happen.

Thanks for the replies. It's kind of what I was envisioning but wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something obvious. Components on one side and wires on the back looks like the most promising approach. What sparked this question was a link Jim Hardy gave in another thread where a small coil was wound on a form and then soldered to IC pins. Kind of like wire wrap with solder.
 
  • #7
berkeman
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I prefer to use sockets on the prototype board,
I couldn't find a picture online, so here is a picture of the kind of component holding socket that I use (it is plugged into a standard DIP socket in this picture). You can get them in 14-pin and 16-pin versions, and they let you easily modify the resistor values when the prototype board is already assembled. If you solder the components directly to the prototype board, that makes it very hard to modify them later on to change the values.

Resistor Socket.jpg
 

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  • #8
nsaspook
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  • #9
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I like these style, with some connected lands - fewer wires needed for most things, and good for DIP packages. Ahhh, it's not so easy to see in the picture, but the five holes on each side are all interconnected with copper (across a~e and across f~j). Row 1 is not connected to row 2, etc. The + and - are connected along their lengths.

GK1007-1_01.jpg

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071R3BFNL/?tag=pfamazon01-20
 

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  • #10
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I like these style, with some connected lands
This is exactly what I've been looking for, thanks. Why all my searches didn't unearth this?
 
  • #11
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This is exactly what I've been looking for, thanks. Why all my searches didn't unearth this?
Glad I could help! Seems I had trouble finding them too. But that's what I recall working with on the job (in the late 70's and80's), and on my hobby projects. So I kept searching.

They are essentially a solder/copper copy of the solder-less proto-boards with the spring connectors and push-in wires, so would I think they'd be more popular.

There is also another product that is interesting, I'll try to find a link later. More for RF circuits, but they are little epoxy-board/copper-clad 'islands' that you stick to a solid copper board wherever you need an interconnect. Then solder the components to the islands. Nice for discreet parts, and gives a ground plane.
 
  • #12
sophiecentaur
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At one time, Veroboard (link here) was popular. If your mind works that way, laying out a circuit can be very quick and an efficient use of board space. You can use an appropriate tool to cut gaps in the strips. It is not much good for high density component packing.
There are a number of alternative systems and it would be useful for you to try several different ones as they all tend to suit different requirements. One thing I used to find is that the layout and the wire paths should 'make sense' so that, when you come back to modify or fault find, you can easily find your way round,
PS It may be obvious but, in case it isn't - avoid multi strand wire and make use of multiple colours of sleeving and wire insulation.
 
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  • #16
Baluncore
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There is no one correct way to prototype anything. We use what works best at the time. Simply put, wire-wrap is incompatible with discrete components. Wire-wrap was once the best solution for big digital prototypes, or for back-planes. That all changed during the 1980s as programmable systems in 40 pin packages, replaced many discrete logic gates in smaller packages.

Design experience and circuit simulation both help to reduce the number and the size of the prototypes needed to quickly reach an early production version.
 
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  • #17
nsaspook
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  • #18
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This has been very helpful, thanks. I've done some of the Manhattan style just using pads I hack out with a dremal tool. It's nice to see them sold as a thing. At times I've considered buying a small 3 axis mill to machine circuit patterns and drill holes in copper clad. A small end mill could trench out line shaped islands and even do through holes where one needs them. For some reason I hate the idea of using etching chemicals. I guess this comes from living in an area where neighborhoods have toxic ground water plumes from old IC fabs.
 
  • #19
I've used them but plain vectorboard IMO makes a much nicer prototype for a future 'finished' product.
Yeah. Of course. I mean for circuits that may need a lot of designing work,like I2c between two chips.In that case,a solderless board will be fantastic:smile:
 
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  • #20
sophiecentaur
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View attachment 230682 Maybe you can use a breadboard,I personally think that it is better at “debugging” the circuit in development stages,since it doesn’t require soldering.
That breadboard system strikes me as being a bit like Lego. Lego is easy to throw together and there is no limit to the number of non-working models possible but it can come apart under very low stress; the models have to be treated with great care. The only thing in favour of the breadboard system seems to be that you don't need to use solder. But solder is such an easy medium to use (since they invented the flux-cored version in the 1950's or before) and it takes no time at all to get skilled at using it. I guess it can be a pain to use if your constructions are on a desk in your bedroom. A hot iron can burn other favourite toys but a bit of care is all that's needed.
 
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  • #21
berkeman
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At times I've considered buying a small 3 axis mill to machine circuit patterns and drill holes in copper clad. A small end mill could trench out line shaped islands and even do through holes where one needs them.
We used to have one of these LPKF PCB milling machines at my work. It was handy for trying out ideas and making small prototype boards. The limitation was that the holes were not plated through, so you had to plan ahead to either use through-hole components to tie the top and bottom sides, or put explicit wires through vias. Check out videos of how the machine works to see if they give you some ideas for making your own version... :smile:

https://www.lpkf.com/products/rapid-pcb-prototyping/circuit-board-plotter/protomat-e44.htm

5368-pcb-plotter-lpkf-protomat-e44.jpg
 

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  • #22
Besides the proto type boards one very good method is just a sheet of pc card. The method goes by several names: "ground plane" construction and "ugly construction" are two of them. I suggest getting a copy of Application Note #47 from Linear Technology Corp. The famous linear circuit designer Jim Williams used this construction for a wealth of circuits. Wes Hayward and others used it in many amateur radio circuits, most published in QST magazine. I used that technique for many years for amplifier and power supply circuits. The proto type boards do work very well for LOW frequency digital circuits.
 
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  • #23
In addition to the perfboard and a soldering iron, you'll need some fairly common tools and supplies:

Kynar wire: This is an insulated 30-gauge single strand wire. It's a rather thin wire which is useful for low current and low voltage digital circuit connections. I use three colors: Blue for Ground, Red for +, and Orange or Yellow for all the other connections. This wire is also "pre-tinned" so it takes solder very easily.

Wire Cutter, Wire Stripper and Needlenose Pliers: I have a special stripper that is permanently set to strip the Kynar wire. It may take a few tries getting the correct setting, since you don't want the stripper so tight as to nick the wire itself, or so loose that it just slides off of the insulation. A good pair of needlenose pliers are required to hold short lengths of wire when stripping off an end.

0.8mm Rosin Core Solder and Solder Paste: The paste (you can use a rosin pen as an alternative) is useful if you want to flow solder over and join a socket pin, a wire and copper pad quickly and without too much heat.

Tweezers: I have a surgeon's tweezer (the kind you got in biology class in school when you had to dissect that frog) that I use for looping wire ends and a sharper, more precise steel electronics tweezer for holding wire during soldering.

“Helping Hands”: This inexpensive reconfigurable alligator-clip holding device is an indispensable tool when using this prototyping technique.

Step 2: Place Your Components on the Circuit Board
Picture of Place Your Components on the Circuit Board
Picture of Place Your Components on the Circuit Board
In this example, I'm using a 7 x 9 cm perforated circuit board from Seeed Studio; this board has numbers and letters on the top side indicating the columns and rows, and round copper solder pads around each hole on the back side. The letters and numbers come in handy when planning the wiring (Step Two), but any perfboard can be used as long as it has copper pads for soldering. I have also used stripboard with this technique, but it requires that you to cut the copper strips and letting the kynar wire carry the signals, defeating the purpose of the strips.

You should place your components to minimize the length of wire required. This will reduce the possibility of stray capacitance wreaking havoc with your circuit. To further deter parasitic voltages, place one .01 uf capacitor across the + and Ground beside each integrated circuit that you use in your design.

To hold the components in place, you can bend the pins outward slightly on the back side, or you can use a dab of quick setting glue on the front of the board. If you use glue, don't use it on the wire pins or you may not be able to achieve a secure and dependable electrical connection. Eventually you will be soldering each component onto the board, you so don't need a lot of glue, just enough to keep the component from falling off of the board during assembly.

Note: Use IC sockets whenever possible. Try to avoid soldering integrated circuits onto your board, and if you use sockets, make sure they are empty during assembly. Some ICs use CMOS technology that are very sensitive to static electricity charges.

Step 3: Make Your Wiring Plan
Picture of Make Your Wiring Plan
Picture of Make Your Wiring Plan
This stage is crucial. The time and care you take in this step may be the difference between a circuit that works and one that doesn't.

I've developed a wiring planning sheet (attached) that is a modification of the Meccano stripboard planning sheet. Feel free to share it with your friends.

The planning sheet will represent the back of the perfboard, where you will do all your wiring. Because it shows the back side, it is a backwards mirror-image of the front of the board. This is where the numbers and letters are helpful on the front of the board, to help you navigate this mirror-image world of the circuit back side.

Correspondingly, there are numbers and letters on the planning sheet, arranged inverse to the order on the front of the perfboard. Use the following steps to create an error-free wiring plan:

1. Use a pencil to fill in the holes for socket pins and component wires. Check and re-check the placement. I find that once I have reliably established one component on the board, I can count across or down a certain number of holes to locate the next component.

2. For IC sockets, name the IC and number the pins. Remember that pin numbering on the back side needs to be done in a mirror-image compared to front side pin order.

3. Refer to your circuit schematic: Draw lines to connect the + and Ground rails to the components. On my perfboard, there are large pads along the right and left sides, and I use these for + and Ground.

4. Refer to your circuit schematic: Draw wires for all the other connections. Try to avoid having more than two wires connect to a pin or a component; there is a limited amount of space on a pin for wire connections.


Step 4: Connect the Components Using Kynar Wire...
This step is actually repeated for as many times as you have wires to connect. The process is straightforward:

1. Strip the end of the wire about 2mm
2. Measure the length of wire required
3. Strip the other end
4. Loop the bare wire ends
5. Place the loops around the pins or component wires
6. Crimp them so that they provide a temporary hold
7. Solder the connections to make them permanent

It's time to turn on your soldering iron and clear your workbench.

Affix your circuit board, back side up, to the helping hands tool.

In the next steps we will deal with each step in detail.

Step 5: Measure and Cut the Wire
Picture of Measure and Cut the Wire
Picture of Measure and Cut the Wire
Picture of Measure and Cut the Wire
Use the planning sheet to determine what connection to make.

Before cutting the wire, strip 2mm of insulation from the end.

Line up the wire on the perfboard so that it extends from one connection contact to the other to get a sense of how much wire you'll need.

Add about 5mm extra length, cut the wire and strip off 2mm of insulation.

You now have a wire with 2mm stripped off both ends.


Step 6: Make Loops Around the Wire Ends
Picture of Make Loops Around the Wire Ends
Picture of Make Loops Around the Wire Ends
Picture of Make Loops Around the Wire Ends
Using the end of a pair of tweezers, make loops over the bare ends of the wire and fit them over the pins or component wires. If you have other wires already soldered in place, you may find it helpful to feed the wires underneath the existing wires; this method will help you hold the new wires in place before you solder them.

Step 7: Crimp the Loops Over the Pins, Then Solder Them
Picture of Crimp the Loops Over the Pins, Then Solder Them
Picture of Crimp the Loops Over the Pins, Then Solder Them
Use tweezers to crimp the loops tightly around the pins. The connection only needs to last as long as it takes to apply the solder.

If more than one wire is to be connected to a pin, you have a choice:

a) Do the same as above, crimping a second loop to the same pin and then solder both wires to the pin.

b) Solder the first wire to the pin. For the second wire, don't loop it, keep it straight. To connect it to the already soldered pin, dip the end of this wire in some rosin paste (to clean it and encourage the solder to bind to it). Re-heat the solder on the pin and push the wire onto the molten solder.

If you use soldering paste, avoid using too much. The paste residue can carry current which, unless removed, can wreak havoc on your circuit. You can use a toothbrush with isopropyl alcohol to remove excess flux.
 
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  • #24
I have wire wrapped 6800 and 8088 computers. It is problematic in that you sometimes get intermittent shorts or opens. Once youre ok with the design, you might tack solder all the pins and wires to keep them consistent.

Breadboarding is probably the best for debugging a design. Push parts in and push wires in. Dont like something, just pull the wire and move it.

I eventually started doing my own pcbs with copper clad panels, some kind of etch resist, and an acid. The fumes were fun. After tge etch was done, i would put solder on all the copper, drill holes, install wires for vias and solder the parts on.

The bigger problem now is most parts are surface mount, so wire wrapping and breadboarding, wirk with through hole parts, so you need little breakout boards that convert smd parts to throughhole.

Nowadays, i do schematic capture with kicad, which is free, and has free autorouter plugins. And then i get pcbs made by oshpark. They charge 2$ a square inch and give you three boards. Turn around time might be two weeks, but they do professional quality boards for pretty cheap.
 
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  • #25
I have been breadboarding for a lot of years. I have seen some very good processor/digital work done with wire wrapping and done some myself. Lots of wires and a bit tedious. However, for low frequency low intensity digital the push-in temporary breadboards work well. Now, for analog work - up through HF and some VHF I recommend using just a ground plane. These may look sloppy when your done but the physics of short leads and power signals not interfering with low level signals is very good.
I suggest getting a copy of the old Linear Technology application note by the late Jim Williams, application note #47. It is a great introduction to breadboarding on a ground plane. I have soldered many a circuit on a piece of circuit board and they are actually quite rugged, even permanent.
 
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