[sdiy] how to best learn the trade

Tim Daugard daugard at sprintmail.com
Wed Feb 20 17:50:48 CET 2008

From: "Scott Gravenhorst" <music.maker at gte.net>

> One reason I do this is that I use a solderless breadboard to finalize and test the
designs.  Once
> that is finished, I use pre-etched stripboard with an etch pattern that is similar to
> solderless breadboard.  I can then easily visually transfer the circuit from the
> breadboard to the stripboard.  If I have plenty of the parts needed, I usually do not
steal them
> from the solderless breadboard because it's often convenient to reference the working
prototype if
> there's a problem.

I agree with Scott on breadboarding one set and building a second. You should always have
enough parts to make two. The first goes on the breadboard and the second goes on the
perfboard (bare or with copper patterns). The one on the perfboard is soldered with all
important parts in sockets.

It is extremely helpful to have the breadboard prototype as a way to check the perfboard
circuit against. It's also helpful to take signals from (and to) the breadboarded circuit
to test parts of the hardwired circuits while they are being assembled. My front panel
controls are always on a breadboard until the circuit is finished and functioning.

Building two copies of a circuit also helps find the problems caused by marginal
components or designs.

When you have the permanent module(s) built, you take the parts off the breadboard and
stick them in storage labeled as spare repair parts for that module. I try to have at
least one spare part for every type of part I use. I have one piece of test gear that I
built that has gone through every part in it at least once. Sometimes through my stupidity
(stupid mistake with power - took out one of the IC's) sometimes from pushing the gear
beyond it's limits (and hoping it would hold out.)

Every time the case has been opened, the circuit design was changed slightly to make it
more robust.  Next time I open it I think I'll add a zener to protect the one power
sensitive IC. Making changes applies to my modules also. If I can make a module fail, then
it is an opportunity for an improvement.

Tim Daugard
AG4GZ 30.4078N 86.6227W Alt: 12 feet above MSL
http://home.earthlink.net/~synthfred/h_toctop.htm (Fred's online edition)

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