Stripboard building

A few things to know about building on stripboard:

  • It’s possible, sometimes, to build a circuit on stripboard by following the layout without understanding anything about the circuit. But if there’s a problem, and that happens frequently even to experienced builders, understanding at least a little about the circuit is vital to fixing it. You’re much more likely to succeed at building if you learn to read a schematic diagram and refer to the schematic as well as the stripboard layout while you’re building.
  • The layout diagrams you see are very often misleading to a beginner, in that they show the view from above, with the components on the top side of the board, but they also show the strips which are on the bottom side of the board. Put the components on the bare side, arranged as in the layout, and after putting each component in place turn the board over and solder it to the strips on the underside.
  • Pay attention to strip cuts. Nearly always, you’ll need to cut each strip between the two sides of each IC, as well as in other places, all of which should be shown on the layout. One way to do it is just to take a twist drill (a little larger diameter than a strip width) between your fingers and twist it to manually remove a circle from the strip. Use a multimeter to verify there is no remaining connection between the two strip segments.
  • Most module layouts just show three wires soldered to the board for ±12V and ground, but if you want to install a shrouded 2x5 header to use it in a Kosmo or Eurorack system, you can do something like this: Replace

    with

(Note the header orientation, notch is on the right to put -12V (red stripe on the power cable) on the bottom.)

The two new jumpers on the right are to connect your board’s ground to ALL the ground pins, you might get away with omitting them thereby connecting to only two of the ground pins but best practice is to connect to all. The black wire leading upward didn’t actually need to be lengthened but the blue wire needs to connect two strips lower than originally.

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I bought some nice looking board with a silkscreen over the tracks so just circles were exposed at the holes rather than the whole copper track, but in practice the silkscreen just hid any potential bridges and half way through the first project using them i noticed a bridge. I had to go down each board with a meter and score between the tracks to break joins, which wasn’t a big issue before I started building on it, but it would have been an absolute horror on a completed circuit!

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Great advice on stripboarding and schematics.

Once you get the hang of reading a schematic it’s much easier to debug any problems. You can also design and share your own layouts!

I’ve started testing circuits on breadboard before committing to stripboard and solder.

It’s another step, but I find it saves a lot of frustration.

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I’m a big fan of the protoboards that are just a bunch of plated holes, they give a great deal of freedom to lay out the circuit; I usually make the connections between components by bending the leads over to go from one to the next. They can be cut to size using heavy-duty shears like these.

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I bought a few of those once. Still don’t know what to make of them. I had this idea of somehow making connections with blobs of solder to bridge adjacent holes.

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Bending the leads over or using tinned wire works way better than blobby solder bridges, give them a try again :slight_smile:

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This is the best use for them :slight_smile:

A bit more on topic :

The trick seems to be the screwdriver (or whatever that is…)

Once you reach level 10, you can do this :

And the one you’ll watch over and over :stuck_out_tongue:

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Sahder. That’s an odd way to pronounce a perfectly simple word, solder. I looked it up and apparently it comes via mediaeval French which doesn’t have the L, from Latin which does. We pronounce it to rhyme with shoulder.

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The bend-around-a-screwdriver trick is neat, though I usually don’t lay out “traces” in advance like that, I just start building (or re-building from a solderless breadboard) and use the leads from the components to make connections as much as possible instead of immediately flush-cutting them.

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