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Old 9th Feb 2020, 2:02 pm   #1
sortedradio
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Default Stripboard warning

I started a little prototype on stripboard this morning, (toneburst generator), and had tacked one leg of each of two sockets used. I started to finish soldering the other legs and noticed the stripboard hadn't been completely etched, causing tracks to be shorted. I've used stripboard for about 50 years and never seen this. I couldn't say who the supplier was as this piece has been in a drawer for years. I'm just glad I didn't get too far before I noticed!
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Old 9th Feb 2020, 2:21 pm   #2
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Default Re: Stripboard warning

Good job you spotted the problem. The copper strips seem to be very close together compared with most I've seen. Not at all well made and something to watch out for.

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Old 9th Feb 2020, 2:27 pm   #3
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Default Re: Stripboard warning

Looks like it has been milled rather than etched.

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Old 9th Feb 2020, 2:28 pm   #4
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Default Re: Stripboard warning

I had some recently where the holes were all at the right pitch and diameter but not central on the copper strip. Couldn't use it.

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Old 9th Feb 2020, 3:18 pm   #5
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Default Re: Stripboard warning

I think stripboard is normally machined rather than etched - certainly considerable variation in quality though.
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Old 9th Feb 2020, 3:39 pm   #6
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Default Re: Stripboard warning

Yes, I had the same thing, across the power rails!
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Old 9th Feb 2020, 3:55 pm   #7
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Default Re: Stripboard warning

I have some old stuff I have had for years that is pretty poor quality (board material and tracks). I have found that, over the years, the copper tarnishes or otherwise degrades too so soldering becomes more of a problem. Recent buys have been far better although I have noticed sometimes that the first hole at the beginning of a strip may be offset (I buy in long lengths and score and split).
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Old 9th Feb 2020, 5:46 pm   #8
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Default Re: Stripboard warning

They sell some decent stuff at RS from Roth. It's properly etched, tinned and drilled on FR4 board.
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Old 9th Feb 2020, 6:53 pm   #9
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Default Re: Stripboard warning

The best stripboard was always either 'Veroboard' or the RS Variety
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Old 9th Feb 2020, 8:33 pm   #10
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Default Re: Stripboard warning

I have found this quite often on cheap boards from China, no surprise there, but then you get what you pay for! The other common problem is holes drilled out of line almost cutting tracks in two. The moral appears to be inspect thoroughly before starting assembly. I seem to average about a 40% yield but its still cost effective.

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Old 9th Feb 2020, 10:30 pm   #11
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Default Re: Stripboard warning

Hi, I've also had this problem on custom, professional, PCB's for power supplies many years ago.
The raw board had been coated in low purity copper and had not etched evenly/ been properly inspected.
Known as "measles" in the trade, tiny copper spots and some conductivity across the laminate.

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Old 9th Feb 2020, 10:39 pm   #12
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Default Re: Stripboard warning

After Vero's patent expired various ersatz versions were made, even Farnell sold them.
Some had hole misalignment with a very brittle srbp.
I bought a load of the blue fibreglass Vero at a rally which is perfect. Vero even made
a version with a ground plane on one side.
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Old 10th Feb 2020, 9:45 am   #13
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Default Re: Stripboard warning

I had some a few years ago from a local electronics shop, now defunct. It also had shorted strips, definitely an etched board as the copper shorts looked like a web that hadn't dissolved properly.

Some of the tinned, and expensive board sold by Farnell from a french manufacturer has the offset hole problem, it's been reported on the product review section by a user.

I'm pretty sure some of the electronics hobby suppliers used to sell a sanding block designed for bare copper veroboard. If I'm not using tinned stuff, I always go over it with some fine wet & dry first. Makes soldering so much easier.
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Old 10th Feb 2020, 10:28 am   #14
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Default Re: Stripboard warning

This is the stuff I buy which I mentioned earlier: https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/stripboards/5185932/

Very very good quality stuff. Typical output (audio filter I built):

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I won't go back to the brown FR2 stuff now. It's horrid! Even the good stuff!
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Old 10th Feb 2020, 10:43 am   #15
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Default Re: Stripboard warning

A problem I have had twice is the rails not breaking completely when drilled. It is likely that I need to choose a different bit, but these two faults could not be seen, even with a magnifier. It was the meter that found it in the end.

I spent an hour building a mic pre-amp last night and 2 hours fault finding.
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Old 10th Feb 2020, 11:15 am   #16
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Default Re: Stripboard warning

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBungle View Post
This is the stuff I buy which I mentioned earlier: https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/stripboards/5185932/
Maplin sold something very similar for a time (FR4 substrate). It was lovely stuff, I bought all I could get my hands on!. Used a little bit this morning to mount a couple of header plugs to make an adapter. No problems.

Like you I'd not go back to SRBP stripboard having used this one.
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Old 14th Feb 2020, 12:43 am   #17
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Default Re: Stripboard warning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scimitar View Post
A problem I have had twice is the rails not breaking completely when drilled. It is likely that I need to choose a different bit, but these two faults could not be seen, even with a magnifier. It was the meter that found it in the end.
As I understand it, you're supposed to use the special hand cutting tool to break the tracks although I expect most of us have used a drill when the right tool wasn't to hand. As far as I remember, the cutting tool has a shallower profile which means you remove less of the substrate when cutting a track.
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Old 14th Feb 2020, 1:03 am   #18
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Default Re: Stripboard warning

the proper tool has a little pilot spike that goes through the hole. The one I bought from either cpc or rapid looks like a drill with a plastic handle.

Leaving a strand of copper is user error mind you, not the board's fault!
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Old 14th Feb 2020, 1:04 am   #19
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Default Re: Stripboard warning

I don't use the official cutting tool or drill bits even though I own both. They are terribly unreliable. Better to nick out a section either side of a hole with a scalpel then buzz it out with a DMM.
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Old 14th Feb 2020, 10:00 pm   #20
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Default Re: Stripboard warning

Quote:
Originally Posted by McMurdo View Post
the proper tool has a little pilot spike that goes through the hole. The one I bought from either cpc or rapid looks like a drill with a plastic handle.

Leaving a strand of copper is user error mind you, not the board's fault!
Not sure about that. The Vero "spot face cutters" I remember didn't but neither did they look like drill bits in a handle. The earlier ones looked a lot better but either type worked OK. The tool I had with the pilot pin would leave an isolated pad round the hole in strip board track but was ISTR intended for use on unetched single sided copperclad board with just a tenth inch grid of punched holes wherever you wanted an isolated pad to fix component legs to. Great stuff for breadboarding with a groundplane.
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