Avoiding Solderless Breadboards

These are the work of the devil that should be avoided if at all possible - because you will frequently spend more time debugging the breadboard than debugging your circuit.

Fortunately there are easy alternatives that are cheaper, higher performance, more predictable and more robust. What's not to like about that?!

There was a skillshare introducing the better methods in February 2018. Due to the size, the presentation slides are split into three files: avoiding solderless breadboards 1 of 3, avoiding solderless breadboards 2 of 3, avoiding solderless breadboards 3 of 3. Those files have the slides in the first half, and the slides plus notes in the second half.

Surface Mount Devices (SMD)

SMT (surface mount) is merely another name for SMD

Basic Soldering Techniques & Tutorials

Beginners shouldn't be afraid of soldering, but as with anything it is wise to practise and make mistakes on non-critical components. It would be wise to start with thuough hole components, later move on to SMD components, and leave BGAs to the experts.

Reliably making good solder joints without damaging the PCB or components isn't difficult, but is much easier if you understand the basic principles. While many videos on youtoob are verbose and a waste of time, there are a few which are informative, succinct and information dense. For soldering, that means describing and showing how to select a tip / temperature / wattage, where to place the tip and solder, and how to move them - and why.

Pace Basic Soldering Lessons 1-9 show good examples of what you should see happening when you've got it right - and just as importantly - wrong. The only omission is SMD components, presumably they weren't common when the videos were made. But try not to snigger at the pronunciation of “solder”!

There are a couple of other yootoob channels with soldering tutorials, which seem to have a good reputation: https://www.youtube.com/user/MrMarcSiegel/videos and https://www.youtube.com/user/jkgamm041/videos

PCB Sources

Nowadays you can order decent PCBs over the web, which is a very realistic alternative to the homebrew techniques noted above.

Some places offer stunningly cheap double-sided PCBs with plate through holes: suitable for undemanding general purpose analogue and (with care) digital circuits. Typically there is a delay of 2-4 weeks and it is worth visually inspecting the boards before soldering components.

Other places offer cheapish 4-layer boards, but not all have a well defined stackup. The stackup is important for RF and normal digital circuits.

Fast turnaround can be available, at a price.

FFI, see links at Info On Custom PCB Sources.

  • resources/pcb
  • Last modified: 3 months ago
  • by tggzzz