Stripboard

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A piece of unused stripboard Stripboard.jpg
A piece of unused stripboard

Stripboard is the generic name for a widely used type of electronics prototyping board characterized by a 0.1 inches (2.54 mm) regular (rectangular) grid of holes, with wide parallel strips of copper cladding running in one direction all the way across one side of the board. It is commonly also known by the name of the original product Veroboard, which is a trademark, in the UK, of British company Vero Technologies Ltd and Canadian company Pixel Print Ltd. In using the board, breaks are made in the tracks, usually around holes, to divide the strips into multiple electrical nodes. With care, it is possible to break between holes to allow for components that have two pin rows only one position apart such as twin row headers for IDCs.

Electronics physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter

Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. The identification of the electron in 1897, along with the invention of the vacuum tube, which could amplify and rectify small electrical signals, inaugurated the field of electronics and the electron age.

Veroboard

Veroboard is a brand of stripboard, a pre-formed circuit board material of copper strips on an insulating bonded paper board which was originated and developed in the early 1960s by the Electronics Department of Vero Precision Engineering Ltd (VPE). It was introduced as a general-purpose material for use in constructing electronic circuits - differing from purpose-designed printed circuit boards (PCBs) in that a variety of electronics circuits may be constructed using a standard wiring board.

Vero Technologies Ltd is a UK company located at Hedge End, Hampshire, UK and formed in 2003 after the APW Electronics Group went into administration. The APW intellectual property was sold off to various companies around the world with the prototype and plastic enclosures business being acquired by Vero Technologies.

Contents

Stripboard is not designed for surface-mount components, though it is possible to mount many such components on the track side, particularly if tracks are cut/shaped with a knife or small cutting disc in a rotary tool.

Variations

Stripboard is available from many vendors. All versions have copper strips on one side. Some are made using printed circuit board etching and drilling techniques, although some have milled strips and punched holes. The original Veroboard used FR-2 synthetic-resin-bonded paper (SRBP) (also known as phenolic board) as the base board material. Some versions of stripboard now use higher quality FR-4 (fiberglass-reinforced epoxy laminate) material. [1]

Printed circuit board board to support and connect electronic components

A printed circuit board (PCB) mechanically supports and electrically connects electronic components or electrical components using conductive tracks, pads and other features etched from one or more sheet layers of copper laminated onto and/or between sheet layers of a non-conductive substrate. Components are generally soldered onto the PCB to both electrically connect and mechanically fasten them to it.

FR-2 is a NEMA designation for synthetic resin bonded paper, a composite material made of paper impregnated with a plasticized phenol formaldehyde resin, used in the manufacture of printed circuit boards. Its main properties are similar to NEMA grade XXXP (MIL-P-3115) material, and can be substituted for the latter in many applications.

FR-4 is a NEMA grade designation for glass-reinforced epoxy laminate material. FR-4 is a composite material composed of woven fiberglass cloth with an epoxy resin binder that is flame resistant (self-extinguishing).

Hole spacing

Stripboard holes are drilled on 0.1 inches (2.54 mm) centers. This spacing allows components having pins with a 0.1 inches (2.54 mm) spacing to be inserted. Compatible parts include DIP ICs, sockets for ICs, some types of connectors, and other devices.

Dual in-line package

In microelectronics, a dual in-line package, or dual in-line pin package (DIPP) is an electronic component package with a rectangular housing and two parallel rows of electrical connecting pins. The package may be through-hole mounted to a printed circuit board (PCB) or inserted in a socket. The dual-inline format was invented by Don Forbes, Rex Rice and Bryant Rogers at Fairchild R&D in 1964, when the restricted number of leads available on circular transistor-style packages became a limitation in the use of integrated circuits. Increasingly complex circuits required more signal and power supply leads ; eventually microprocessors and similar complex devices required more leads than could be put on a DIP package, leading to development of higher-density packages. Furthermore, square and rectangular packages made it easier to route printed-circuit traces beneath the packages.

Integrated circuit electronic circuit manufactured by lithography; set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece (or "chip") of semiconductor material, normally silicon

An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit is a set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece of semiconductor material that is normally silicon. The integration of large numbers of tiny transistors into a small chip results in circuits that are orders of magnitude smaller, cheaper, and faster than those constructed of discrete electronic components. The IC's mass production capability, reliability and building-block approach to circuit design has ensured the rapid adoption of standardized ICs in place of designs using discrete transistors. ICs are now used in virtually all electronic equipment and have revolutionized the world of electronics. Computers, mobile phones, and other digital home appliances are now inextricable parts of the structure of modern societies, made possible by the small size and low cost of ICs.

Stripboards have evolved over time into several variants and related products. For example, a larger version using a 0.15 inch (3.81 mm) grid and larger holes is available, but is generally less popular (presumably because it does not match up with standard IC pin spacing).

Board dimensions

Stripboard is available in a variety of sizes. One common size (at least in the United Kingdom) is 160 mm x 100 mm. [2]

Assemblies

An example of a populated protoboard Streifenrasterleiterplatte IMGP5364.jpg
An example of a populated protoboard

The components are usually placed on the plain side of the board, with their leads protruding through the holes. The leads are then soldered to the copper tracks on the other side of the board to make the desired connections, and any excess wire is cut off. The continuous tracks may be easily and neatly cut as desired to form breaks between conductors using a 3 mm twist drill, a hand cutter made for the purpose, or a knife. Tracks may be linked up on either side of the board using wire. With practice, very neat and reliable assemblies can be created, though such a method is labour-intensive and therefore unsuitable for production assemblies except in very small quantity.

Soldering process of joining metal pieces with heated filler metal

Soldering is a process in which two or more items are joined together by melting and putting a filler metal (solder) into the joint, the filler metal having a lower melting point than the adjoining metal. Unlike welding, soldering does not involve melting the work pieces. In brazing, the filler metal melts at a higher temperature, but the work piece metal does not melt. In the past, nearly all solders contained lead, but environmental and health concerns have increasingly dictated use of lead-free alloys for electronics and plumbing purposes.

Drill tool for boring holes

A drill is a tool primarily used for making round holes or driving fasteners. It is fitted with a bit, either a drill or driver, depending on application, secured by a chuck. Some powered drills also include a hammer function.

External wire connections to the board are made either by soldering the wires through the holes or, for wires too thick to pass through the holes, by soldering them to specially made pins called Veropins which fit tightly into the holes. Alternatively, some types of connectors have a suitable pin spacing to be inserted directly into the board.

Comparison with other systems

Wire wrap

For high density prototyping, especially of digital circuits, wire wrap is faster and more reliable than Stripboard for experienced personnel. [3]

Breadboard

Veroboard is similar in concept and usage to a plug-in breadboard, but is cheaper and more permanentconnections are soldered and while some limited reuse may be possible, more than a few cycles of soldering and desoldering are likely to render both the components and the board unusable. In contrast, breadboard connections are held by friction, and the breadboard can be reused many times. However, a breadboard is not very suitable for prototyping that needs to remain in a set configuration for an appreciable period of time nor for physical mock-ups containing a working circuit or for any environment subject to vibration or movement.

Prototype boards

Stripboards have further evolved into a larger class of prototype boards, available in different shapes and sizes, with different conductive trace layouts.

TriPad

TriPad stripboard has strips of copper broken up into three-hole sections UniversalPCB.jpg
TriPad stripboard has strips of copper broken up into three-hole sections

For example, one variant is called a TriPad board. This is similar to stripboard, except that the conductive tracks do not run continuously along the board but are broken into sections, each of which spans three holes. This allows the legs of two or three components to be easily linked together in the circuit conveniently without the need for track breaks to be made. However, in order to link more than three holes together, wire links or bridges must be formed and this can result in a less compact layout than is possible with ordinary stripboard.

Perf+

Perf+ prototyping board showing the pad shapes Perf+ prototyping board.png
Perf+ prototyping board showing the pad shapes

Another variant is Perf+. [4] This is best described as a selective stripboard. Instead of having all the holes connected together in a strip, a Perf+ board can have holes connected to the bus using a small dab of solder. On the other side the busses run in another direction, allowing compact layouts of complicated circuits by passing signals over each other on different layers of the board.

Other

400 point PCB that is an electrical equivalent of a solderless breadboard Pcb33.430-g1.jpg
400 point PCB that is an electrical equivalent of a solderless breadboard

Other prototype board variants have generic layouts to simplify building prototypes with integrated circuits, typically in DIP shapes, or with transistors (pads forming triangles). In particular, some boards mimic the layout of breadboards, to simplify moving a non-permanent prototype on a breadboard to a permanent construction on a PCB. Some types of boards have patterns for connectors on the periphery, like DB9 or IDC headers, to allow connectors with non-standard pin spacings to be easily used. [5] Some come in special physical shapes, to be used to prototype plug-in boards for computer bus systems.

See also

Related Research Articles

Wire wrap

Wire wrap was invented to wire telephone crossbar switches, and later adapted to construct electronic circuit boards. Electronic components mounted on an insulating board are interconnected by lengths of insulated wire run between their terminals, with the connections made by wrapping several turns of uninsulated sections of the wire around a component lead or a socket pin.

Point-to-point construction

Point-to-point construction is a non-automated method of construction of electronics circuits widely used before the use of printed circuit boards (PCBs) and automated assembly gradually became widespread following their introduction in the 1950s. Circuits using thermionic valves were relatively large, relatively simple, and used large sockets, all of which made the PCB less obviously advantageous than with later complex semiconductor circuits. Point-to-point construction is still used to construct prototype equipment with few or heavy electronic components.

Breadboard

A breadboard is a construction base for prototyping of electronics. Originally it was literally a bread board, a polished piece of wood used for slicing bread. In the 1970s the solderless breadboard became available and nowadays the term "breadboard" is commonly used to refer to these.

Zero insertion force

Zero insertion force (ZIF) is a type of IC socket or electrical connector that requires very little force for insertion. With a ZIF socket, before the IC is inserted, a lever or slider on the side of the socket is moved, pushing all the sprung contacts apart so that the IC can be inserted with very little force - generally the weight of the IC itself is sufficient and no external downward force is required. The lever is then moved back, allowing the contacts to close and grip the pins of the IC. ZIF sockets are much more expensive than standard IC sockets and also tend to take up a larger board area due to the space taken up by the lever mechanism. Therefore they are only used when there is a good reason to do so.

Jumper (computing) short length of conductor used to close, open or bypass part of an electronic circuit

In electronics and particularly computing, a jumper is a short length of conductor used to close, open or bypass part of an electronic circuit. They are typically used to set up or configure printed circuit boards, such as the motherboards of computers. The process of setting a jumper is often called strapping.

Ribbon cable

A ribbon cable is a cable with many conducting wires running parallel to each other on the same flat plane. As a result the cable is wide and flat. Its name comes from its resemblance to a piece of ribbon.

Surface-mount technology method for producing electronic circuits

Surface-mount technology (SMT) is a method for producing electronic circuits in which the components are mounted or placed directly onto the surface of printed circuit boards (PCBs). An electronic device so made is called a surface-mount device (SMD). In industry, it has largely replaced the through-hole technology construction method of fitting components with wire leads into holes in the circuit board. Both technologies can be used on the same board, with the through-hole technology used for components not suitable for surface mounting such as large transformers and heat-sinked power semiconductors.

D-subminiature type of electrical connector

The D-subminiature or D-sub is a common type of electrical connector. They are named for their characteristic D-shaped metal shield. When they were introduced, D-subs were among the smallest connectors used on computer systems.

Banana connector single-wire electrical connector used for joining wires to equipment

A banana connector is a single-wire electrical connector used for joining wires to equipment. The term 4 mm connector is also used, especially in Europe, although not all banana connectors will mate with 4 mm parts, and 2 mm banana connectors exist. Various styles of banana plug contacts exist, all based on the concept of spring metal applying outward force into the unsprung cylindrical jack to produce a snug fit with good electrical conductivity. Common types include: a solid pin split lengthwise and splayed slightly, a tip of four leaf springs, a cylinder with a single leaf spring on one side, a bundle of stiff wire, a central pin surrounded by a multiply-slit cylinder with a central bulge, or simple sheet spring metal rolled into a nearly complete cylinder. The plugs are frequently used to terminate patch cords for electronic test equipment, while sheathed banana plugs are common on multimeter probe leads.

Quad Flat Package surface mount integrated circuit package

A QFP or Quad Flat Package is a surface-mounted integrated circuit package with "gull wing" leads extending from each of the four sides. Socketing such packages is rare and through-hole mounting is not possible. Versions ranging from 32 to 304 pins with a pitch ranging from 0.4 to 1.0 mm are common. Other special variants include low-profile QFP (LQFP) and thin QFP (TQFP).

Desoldering

In electronics, desoldering is the removal of solder and components from a circuit board for troubleshooting, repair, replacement, and salvage.

Through-hole technology mounting scheme used for electronic components that involves the use of leads on the components that are inserted into holes drilled in printed circuit boards and soldered to pads on the opposite side manually or by automated insertion mount machines

Through-hole technology, refers to the mounting scheme used for electronic components that involves the use of leads on the components that are inserted into holes drilled in printed circuit boards (PCB) and soldered to pads on the opposite side either by manual assembly or by the use of automated insertion mount machines.

Perfboard

Perfboard is a material for prototyping electronic circuits. It is a thin, rigid sheet with holes pre-drilled at standard intervals across a grid, usually a square grid of 0.1 inches (2.54 mm) spacing. These holes are ringed by round or square copper pads, though bare boards are also available. Inexpensive perfboard may have pads on only one side of the board, while better quality perfboard can have pads on both sides. Since each pad is electrically isolated, the builder makes all connections with either wire wrap or miniature point to point wiring techniques. Discrete components are soldered to the prototype board such as resistors, capacitors, and integrated circuits. The substrate is typically made of paper laminated with phenolic resin or a fiberglass-reinforced epoxy laminate (FR-4).

Jump wire

A jump wire is an electrical wire, or group of them in a cable, with a connector or pin at each end, which is normally used to interconnect the components of a breadboard or other prototype or test circuit, internally or with other equipment or components, without soldering.

A semiconductor package is a metal, plastic, glass, or ceramic casing containing one or more discrete semiconductor devices or integrated circuits. Individual components are fabricated on semiconductor wafers before being diced into die, tested, and packaged. The package provides a means for connecting the package to the external environment, such as printed circuit board, via leads such as lands, balls, or pins; and protection against threats such as mechanical impact, chemical contamination, and light exposure. Additionally, it helps dissipate heat produced by the device, with or without the aid of a heat spreader. There are thousands of package types in use. Some are defined by international, national, or industry standards, while others are particular to an individual manufacturer.

Chip carrier one of several kinds of surface mount technology packages for integrated circuits

In electronics, a chip carrier is one of several kinds of surface-mount technology packages for integrated circuits. Connections are made on all four edges of a square package; Compared to the internal cavity for mounting the integrated circuit, the package overall size is large.

References

  1. BusBoard Prototype Systems Ltd. "ST3U StripBoard Datasheet" Retrieved on 2010-10-20. Archived 2011-09-11 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Prototype and development boards from RS Components The board size with the largest number of products listed is 160 mm x 100 mm.
  3. Bilotta, Anthony J.: Connections in Electronic Assemblies. Marcel Dekker: 1985. ISBN   0-8247-7319-5
  4. Original Kickstarter for Perf+. "Perf+ the perfboard reinvented" Retrieved on 2015-4-17.
  5. BusBoard Prototype Systems Ltd. "PR3UC ProtoBoard With Connectors Datasheet" Retrieved on 2010-10-20.