Perboard Brownout but Works with Wires

This will be my first perfboard, and I bought the perma-protoboard from Adafruit (Adafruit Perma-Proto Half-sized Breadboard PCB - 3 Pack! : ID 571 : $12.50 : Adafruit Industries, Unique & fun DIY electronics and kits). I am able to get my project to work with the soldered perfboard when I run wires from the Arduino; however, when I actually “plug” the Arduino into the perboard, I start getting exceptions and “Brownout detected”. After that, my solenoid just “buzzes” and I quickly unplug the Arduino.

I have attached two pictures for reference. I soldered a header kit into the protoboard so that I could easily take out the Arduino if I needed to. I have no idea why this is happening. I even tried soldering just the pins necessary on the Arduino and then plugging that in, but I get the same issue.

The second picture is with the Arduino plugged in, and that’s the configuration that causes brownouts.

I have no idea why this is happening. I guess I can just use wires, but why won’t it work when plugged into the perfboard? Thanks!

My crystal ball indicates shorts in the soldered headers, perhaps missing jumpers.

"Brownout" means excess current draw and consequential operating voltage drop.

The soldered headers on the protoboard or the Arduino? If that's the case, then do you have a suggest as to why it works with jumper wires from the Arduino to the soldered header on the perfboard, but not work without the jumper wires (header on Arduino straight into the header on the perfboard).

It sounds like I may need to draw a schematic, but most of my parts are components I've purchased from Pololu (motor driver, voltage regulator).

After thinking about it... maybe it's a bad soldering job on the proto-board headers. Maybe some of the solder is touching somewhere and that is causing the short?

Right, check all header pins on the protoboard for shorts, in detail for shorts to Gnd or 5V. You can plug in wires to all pins one by one, and find out which wire/pin causes the problem.

czu001:
It sounds like I may need to draw a schematic,

Usually a good idea to do this BEFORE you start building...

Hi,
Do you have a DMM that you can use to check for shorts between the header pins?

Tom... :slight_smile:

(deleted)

Hi,
Can you post a clear picture of the solder side of your circuit board please?

Thanks.. Tom.. :slight_smile:

"I am able to get my project to work with the soldered perfboard when I run wires from the Arduino; however, when I actually "plug" the Arduino into the perboard, I start getting exceptions and "Brownout detected". After that, my solenoid just "buzzes" and I quickly unplug the Arduino.
"
Really ??? do you think perhaps you made an assembly error?

Thanks for the great feedback! So, I a ran a jumper from the Arduino to the soldered header one by one, and I was never able to trigger the brownout. It only happens when I plug the Arduino directly into the board. The only thing I can think of is the header pins on the Arduino are maybe longer than the jumper wire pins, and there’s a bad solder connection somewhere on the header on the protoboard.

I even tried a different Arduino (same kind), and I got the same issue. So I’m pretty sure it’s the header on the protoboard. I’ve included some pictures of the bottom of the protoboard. I’m definitely open to any critiques or feedback on how to do a better solder job… I do have a few places it’s bled onto an un-used hole, but I didn’t think that would be a problem since it’s on the same rail.

Only thing I can think to do now is to de-solder the header on the board and try again. Although that’s a lot of pins… and I’ve never de-soldered before.

When I try again… i may just solder the header where I need the pins instead of the entire header.

I notice from your photos, that when using jumper wires you are plugging an external battery into the Arduino but when you plug the board in you run from the supply on the other board.

A brownout means the power has dropped to unexceptable levels this may mean your supply on the board is faulty (going to the Arduino).

This would be overridden by the battery on the Arduino while running on the wires.
Highest voltage supplies the circuit.

Daz

czu001:
Thanks for the great feedback! So, I a ran a jumper from the Arduino to the soldered header one by one, and I was never able to trigger the brownout.

For proper simulation you would have to connect all jumpers at once, not one by one. The problem could be between two normally unconnected ones. Or some other combination.

Overall soldering looks good to me, on the photos. Nice and tidy, no excess solder.

When I try again.. i may just solder the header where I need the pins instead of the entire header.

Less mechanical strength if you do it like that.

Hi,
Soldering looks good, just desolder the unused pins and see what happens.
Don't remove the pins, just take the solder away, a good job for desolder wik.

Tom... :slight_smile:

Thanks all! Ordered some solder wick, and I'm going to try again. I also connected all jumpers at the same time into the headers and still no brownout. I'm going to take the suggestions and first try to desolder the unused pins one by one and see what happens. Thank you!

This forums is amazing. I've gone from knowing nothing about electrical engineering to knowing enough to be dangerous :slight_smile:

Invest in some liquid soldering flux.
Putting a small amount of flux on a suspect solder joint then reheating that joint will solve most bad soldering connections.

czu001:
I also connected all jumpers at the same time into the headers and still no brownout:)

Sounds like your soldering is fine.

Did you power your board by USB? Or the other power supply - as if it'd be in the socket?

After a lot of trial and error, I've come to the conclusion that these stacking headers are not really designed for soldering onto a protoboard. The connections are extremely close together, and my guess is that they are touching. Unlike standard header pins, there's not enough plastic/insulation between pins.

Does anyone have a suggestion as to what to use when soldering a microcontroller onto the perfboard without making a permanent connection?

(deleted)

Hi,
With nothing plugged into the headers, use you DMM in ohms mode and check for shorts between adjacent pins on the solder side of your board.

Tom... :slight_smile: