What to do with project after breadboard

Hi all,

Just got my Arduino Uno (YAY!). I've had some ideas for soldered projects, and my question is: What do you solder every thing to? Really noob question, I know.

Thanks

Stripboard is a good next step.
Then you can think about moving on to your own PCBs (design and manufacture, or just design and send out).

Thanks for the quick reply! I think I'll go with stripboard.

I never use bread board as the contacts are too unreliable. I solder everything up on strip board.
See my web site for some hardware examples.

ahalverson:
Hi all,

Just got my Arduino Uno (YAY!). I've had some ideas for soldered projects, and my question is: What do you solder every thing to? Really noob question, I know.

Thanks

@Ahalverson... Welcome.

Projects can evolve many different ways. I have quiet a few with pictures:
Ray's Public Projects

Not all are graceful, but all work. If you intend on making a permanent project or a gift, you may want it very tidy. If the project is a step beyond a breadboard, you may want to construct so parts (or modules) are reusable. The more projects you do, the easier the thinking process becomes.

Ray

Grumpy_Mike:
I never use bread board as the contacts are too unreliable. I solder everything up on strip board.
See my web site for some hardware examples.

Yes!

However, a quality solderrless breadboard with stainless spring contacts is not cheap and I have one almost 15 years old that is still going strong. Every few weeks, I will dust it with compressed aid. About twice a year, with all components removed, I vacuum the board, brush it with a stiff nylon brush, and vacuum again. It works like clockwork. (While the vacuum is out, I get the bottom of the notebook and around the fan vents.)

I use 20 to 22 gauge factory tinned wire. All Chinese pre-made pin jumpers are cleaned of oil and wax before first use. A pair of needle nose pliers is used to straighten bent pins and a quick spin in the smooth area of the pliars also remove and corrosion... Far easier than emery cloth.

Anyway, I cannot promise that anyone will get 15+ years, but I can say that 15 years ago, I got my money worth from:
Solderless Breadboard

Ray

Grumpy_Mike:
I never use bread board as the contacts are too unreliable. I solder everything up on strip board.
See my web site for some hardware examples.

That's fine if you're able to just prototype things out right the first time (or not care how many strip boards you cook till you get it right). When you're first learning, a solderless breadboard is invaluable. I work a lot of circuits out real quick on the breadboard before moving them to a strip board. You don't want to leave that project on the breadboard, of course, but it's a great tool, IMO.

If you have the space, you can use a breadboard for permanent projects. It costs a bit more than perfboard/stripboard, but it's easier and "cleaner".

A custom PC board is best, but more costly.

I've build a few permanent projects on breadboards. Almost 20 years ago I build a car alarm for my 1994 van and it's still running! It runs 24/7 even when not armed, and it's only gets shut-down and "rebooted" once every 3 or 4 years when the van's battery dies. I've got a couple of other projects built on breadboard that are more than 10 years old. (These older projects are not Arduino based, they use a different-older microcontroller.)

I still solder... I solder to switches, panel-mounted LEDs, connectors, etc. I used a perfboard recently (where space was an issue) and I've been thinking about getting some custom PC boards made for a project I'm thinking about. (But, I'm going to try to avoid surface mount, and I'll absolutely avoid fine-pitch surface mount components.)

That's fine if you're able to just prototype things out right the first time (or not care how many strip boards you cook till you get it right). When you're first learning, a solderless breadboard is invaluable. I work a lot of circuits out real quick on the breadboard before moving them to a strip board. You don't want to leave that project on the breadboard, of course, but it's a great tool, IMO.

That's how you are "supposed" to do it... :smiley:

First you "breadboard" the deign. That could be a plug-in breadboard, strip-board, wire-wrap, etc. It's a "quick and dirty" assembly to validate the design concepts. You might breadboard various parts of the project separately to test-out the circuits before putting everything together.

Next, you "prototype" the design. That might involve a "first-pass" at the PC board, or just a more- refined breadboard design, closer to what the final product will be like.

Lastly, you go "into production", possibly with a small pilot run or beta design before going into full-production.

But with modern high-density designs, the company I work for goes straight to PC-board for the prototype. Typically, we'll build 5 boards and there are usually at least some changes before going into full-production.

But as hobbyists, we want to keep the cost and effort down, we don't have the manufacturing capabilities of real manufacturing companies, and we often use these "hand assembly" breadboard/prototyping techniques for the "final product."

I've played with a lot of different prototyping systems. Stripboard is not fun. It takes me more time trying to work out how to do the circuit on the strips than anything else. For very small projects (one IC) then the type of board which has an IC pattern in the middle and lots of paired holes around it is useful. Proto board, with individual solderable holes, like many Arduino prototype shields is more useful to me than stripboard.

But then I discovered Eagle and OSH Park. I go straight to a custom PCB for all my projects now. The quality is fantastic and it saves enormous amounts of time having everything labelled in silkscreen on both sides of the board. The time spent cutting incorrect traces and adding 'green wire' fixes is much less than trying to lay out something on strip board.

Stripboard is not fun. It takes me more time trying to work out how to do the circuit on the strips than anything else.

Then you are not doing it right.

Beginners often try to make the strips do too much work. That is they think you have to maximise the use of strips for connections. What you should do with a circuit with a few ICs in it is to cut the tracks between the IC and the third hole out from the pin, leaving two holes you can solder a wire to. Then you wire up the interconnections with thin gauge solid core wire.

If the circuit uses more discreet components like transistors, resistors and capacitors then there is no need to do much planning, just start and lay it out as you go. Sure you can make good and bad decisions with each component you lay but it is not important as most of the interconnections should be made by wires, it is a bonus if you can get the tracks to make some.

Another way I have used strip board is to use the Vero wiring system.
http://www.verotl.com/en/category/wiring-systems
This uses a pen a bit like wire wrap. Only this pen has enamel covered wire that melts when soldered. You do point to point to point wiring with the pen and when it is done solder it all up. It is great for circuits with lots of ICs and IC interconnections. You can also use it with surface mount capacitors bridging adjacent tracks, great for decoupling caps.

Here is a picture of some Vero wiring I did on a recent project:-

most beginners use the protoboards. the easy to make and easy to fix and easy to remove and start all over is a blessing when learning.

as was noted, you can find that some connections are not good enough. if you want to test, create a simple voltage divider with a 12v power supply and pair of 10k resistors. feed the center wire into a lead you can move around.

create a second voltage divider with another pair of 10 k resistors. feed the center into an analog pin. feed the end to a lead.

take the two leads and touch them together to calibrate the input.
then plug one into a row on the board, then the other into ever other hole in that row. wiggle them around a bit.
watch for changed on the analog

many of us use the proto spring boards to whip up a circuit and test the operation, then modify it with led and change resistors and such.

if you think it should work, but it does not, test the board for errors. do not always assume you are wrong. comes with experience.

once you are really good, then you will know when going straight to soldering is the way you need to go.

for about $20, you can get 10 5mm x 5mm boards made, (takes 15 minutes to make and 30 days to mail) use 1, then toss the other 9 out

if you have the patience, I suggest you get a drill press, a harbor fright cheapie, a dremel adapter, or any such device and you can etch your own boards. lots of sites will help you learn to do that. actually pretty easy to do. the drill press is excellent tool to have. you can put tiny holes in the corners of a square cutout you want in a box. or drill holes in a perfect row for LED's and such.

After breadboard? That sounds like an assumption that breadboard will be used.... Personally, I have never owned one, and only saw pictures of them and the jumpers you need on ebay. Copper stripboard always! Why mess about experimenting when you can build semi-permanently first time? :wink: 8) It saves much time in the long run. If you make a mistake and cut a hole in the wrong place, a blob of solder and another hole is all it takes to fix it. I suppose if you are only playing with an led and a resistor, it is not worth breaking out the iron, but once you start on actual circuits, the breadboards I would think become a limitation.

Regards,

Graham

no i use bread board dont let their holy image be tainted. you cant avoid the not fun bit. pen paper, photo an aerial view of the schematics of the project, write down all important electric values ie resistors values, inductance, capacitance, ra ra ra then file it away with a list of potential purposes for the circuit, indexing these tags, then toss it in the filing cabinet or desktop folder.