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Old 17th Aug 2006, 5:04 pm   #1
YC-156
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Wink Bodge-o-tronic: Veroboard!

Hi gang,

Recently it came to my attention that some forum members felt uncomfortable about showing us their electronic creations, possibly built on Veroboard (known as 'fumble PCBs' around these parts! )

Neat is nice, of course. But sometimes neatness takes second fiddle to functionality, or you just want something that is reliable, works and is mechanically stable. Then one option for some types of projects is veroboard.

I have taken the liberty of attaching a few of my creations for your entertainment and possible commentary. I'd like to see more one-offs and one weekend projects here in the forum, since I strongly suspect that is what most of us makes most of the time.

The first photo shows all three projects in their finished(?) and assembled state.

Second photo shows my PICmicro serial port programmer. That one owes its existence in part to another thread here on UK-VR. It works great, but unfortunately that is as far as I have progressed on the EM34S project to date.

Next up is my NBTV triple waveform generator as seen on nbtv.org. This is pretty much a straight copy, except mine is intended to be powered by an external PSU. There is an 78L09 buried in there somewhere to generate +9V for the CMOS logic.

Finally there is my regulated 12.6V / 3A 'forever-and-a-day' power supply, complete with crowbar overvoltage protection. The main regulator IC is an LT1084CP, which is located on the rear of the external heatsink.

There are three known bugs visible in the final photo:

*) First I had managed to swap the two anode pins of the crowbar TRIAC. A quick bodge was required here, as I didn't feel like unsoldering all the connections to the regulator board required for properly fixing this assembly bug.

*) Secondly there is the paintwork. Let us not go there...

*) And finally there is twice as much smooting capacitance as is really required. This came about because I tested for this before putting the PSU together, but the test leads I used were junk. That is to say their internal resistances were way high due to lousy and non-existent solder connections. So the high peak currents in the PSU at full load skewed my measurements beyond all hope of discovery (at the time at least).

In turn I pay for my neglience by having too low efficiency from the regulator, but apparently that has not yet caused enough trouble for me to remove the excess capacitance.

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Feel free to add photos to this thread showing your own veroboard contraptions for a free membership of the non-exclusive "Veroboard Weekend Warrior" club.

Frank N.
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 9:45 pm   #2
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Default Re: Bodge-o-tronic: Veroboard!

Is it possible to see the underside of the Veroboards? I've never worked with this stuff, but plan on doing so soon. I just want to see how all the components are interconnected on the opposite side. Thanks.

Sure looks nice from the top, though!
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 9:52 pm   #3
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Default Re: Bodge-o-tronic: Veroboard!

Well, this was supposed to be inspirational, or perhaps get people to show their own stuff, not to scaring them off. Not sure the underside is worthy of being shown, but I will do my best ASAP. The PIC programmer is easy to get at, of course.

Frank N.
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 9:57 pm   #4
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Default Re: Bodge-o-tronic: Veroboard!

There is a good site on the use of Veroboard here:-

http://www.zen22142.zen.co.uk/Prac/vero_circ/vero.htm

I have using this stuff for years, Can be just as neat as a proper PCB and is easier and cheaper to use for one-off projects .

Regards, Mick.
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 10:04 pm   #5
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Default Re: Bodge-o-tronic: Veroboard!

Two things to add at this point.

I prefer the type of boards, which has a single conductive island around each hole. Thus no need to drill out any tracks, nor any wasted space in compact assemblies.

Secondly the low quality copper-only boards shown in the article linked by Mick should be avoided whenever possible IMHO. The raw copper tracks are difficult to clean properly, and the low grade base material is much too susceptible to the heat from the soldering iron. I try to always use the pretinned fiberglass boards shown in my photos, even though they are somewhat more expensive.

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Old 17th Aug 2006, 10:21 pm   #6
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Default Ambitious Veroboard!

This is my Maplin Spectrum analogue synthesiser from the early 1980s.

Rather than buy the expensive PCBs, I decided to build numerous precision analogue circuits on Veroboard, connected together by miles of wiring looms. An ambitious project. I simply coudn't afford the PCBs after buying the expensive analogue ICs on my student grant.

The thing is, it worked and is still working today, and is none the worse for being built on Veroboard. I built the precision PSU on PCB more for practice at building PCBs than any other reason. Pictures show the innards and the finished synth.
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 10:23 pm   #7
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Default Re: Bodge-o-tronic: Veroboard!



Steve, we are not worthy.
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Old 18th Aug 2006, 12:23 am   #8
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Default Re: Bodge-o-tronic: Veroboard!

There's nothing wrong with building one-off projects with Veroboard and similar systems. Many of us don't have the facilities or expertise to design, etch and drill custom PCBs.

The only thing I would say as a long established Veroboard user is it's very, very difficult to build stuff without making mistakes - crossing tracks with solder, failing to isolate tracks, soldering components to the wrong track, etc etc. Been there, done that When you *do* make an assembly error it can be very difficult to identify it.

Veroboard also isn't great for RF projects, but that may be down to my lack of skill

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Old 18th Aug 2006, 9:51 am   #9
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Default Re: Bodge-o-tronic: Veroboard!

I suspect that my comment in the other thread may be at least partially responsible for this one, so really should post my last couple of efforts!

Note that both of these are in place at FM broadcast sites, so it can't be all bad.

This first one was a modification to an old ex-Radio NZ programme switcher/silence detector, designed to switch between local programming and a network feed, and to turn on a cassette deck for emergency programme when both other sources fail for more than about 14 seconds.

We needed backup programming for when the satellite feed fails (infrequent, but then again we had a 14 hour outage of Optus B1 about two weeks after installing this).

Rhema gave us this unit which was almost ideal, but desgined for AM and only mono. I decided to leave most of it intact, but add a stereo -10 unbalanced to +4 balanced converter. The left channel of the stereo input is fed into the original mono circuitry to feed the silence detector, and I have tapped into the switching logic to trigger a 4PCO relay to switch between the satellite feed and local programming on cassette.

For I/O I have just replaced the existing 3 pin XLR connectors with 5 pin ones - less destructive than drilling holes, and its easy to revert to the original spec.

Why cassette? Its reliable - 3 hours of quality programming, which doesn't always start at the same point. Rhema are switching to MP3 on their own sites, but on our independently operating ones I'm sticking to cassette. Besides, chrome tape with dbx on a $40 deck from Trademe sounds better than a 128kbps MPEG2 stream off the satellite!

The attached photos show the detail of the new interface (uses 2x TL072s to convert to balanced +4dBm), an overview of the unit, detail of the back showing the new XLRs and the unit safely installed in the rack on-site.

BTW it seems a bit vintage - the 'original' Veroboard was from a sheet we found in my father-in-law's estate about 8 years ago I hadn't used yet, and the BC107 was pulled out of an old ex-TVNZ vision switching control PCB I somehow picked up.
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Old 18th Aug 2006, 9:55 am   #10
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Default Re: Bodge-o-tronic: Veroboard!

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
The only thing I would say as a long established Veroboard user is it's very, very difficult to build stuff without making mistakes - crossing tracks with solder, failing to isolate tracks, soldering components to the wrong track, etc etc.
I haven't used it for a few years, but did build several fairly large and complex circuits on it while I was still at school and never had any problems (but I suppose I was young and keen then, and had a lot of time on my hands!). My tips would be:
  • Plan things first, on squared paper, with an alphanumeric reference for each hole (e.g. a letter for each track, and a number for each hole along the tracks). Mark the board itself with a dot from a permanent pen at 0,10, 20, 30 etc. so there's less chance of error when you're counting tracks. And have all your intended components to hand while you're doing the design so that you know how far apart the leads have to be. This all takes a lot of time, but it's time well spent.
  • Break any tracks with the correct tool, and then inspect each break under good lightling conditions. Sometimes, if the holes are slightly off-centre with respect to the track, the break will be incomplete. If so, refine it with a craft knife.
  • After assembly, run a small jewellers screwdriver between every single strip, to rake out any flux or solder splashes.
Nick.
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Old 18th Aug 2006, 10:01 am   #11
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Default Re: Bodge-o-tronic: Veroboard!

This next one is a bit rough. Its an interface into our telemetry unit for another site.

(unfortunately the main telemetry unit died after a power cut so we're flying up tomorrow to replace it but that's another story)

The EDAC telemetry unit sends and received SMS messages for telemetry. Its inputs can be either analogue 0-5V, analogue 0-20mA or digital.

Our equipment puts out a mixture of signals - the STL receiver is a straight NO or NC relay contact so that's easy. The RVR gear is more difficult - alarms are 15V, forward power is something like 0-1.4V and reflected 0-1.6V. Rather than use resolution I decided to scale these voltages up.

The board is a lot messier than I'd like, but it was put together in a hurry and I changed my mind about a couple of things during construction. I also forgot some basic things - like pull-down resistors on CMOS inputs - which I know you have to have, and thought of several times, but never actually left room on the board for them - hence the numbers of resistors soldered to the D connectors!

This unit is due for a rebuilt in a 1U rack case sometime over our summer.

Circuit-wise this uses a 4050B to buffer the +15V signals to a +12V rail for the relays, more scrap BC107's (probably didn't need them but thought I'd over-engineer) to interface to the RS screened reed relays, and an LM324 op-amp to scale the low DC signals up to 5V FSD.
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Old 18th Aug 2006, 12:11 pm   #12
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Default Re: Bodge-o-tronic: Veroboard!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickthedentist View Post
Break any tracks with the correct tool, and then inspect each break under good lightling conditions. Sometimes, if the holes are slightly off-centre with respect to the track, the break will be incomplete. If so, refine it with a craft knife.
  • After assembly, run a small jewellers screwdriver between every single strip, to rake out any flux or solder splashes.
Nick.
I've used Veroboard for years and these two points should be second-nature when using it.


Rich.
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Old 18th Aug 2006, 12:54 pm   #13
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Default Re: Bodge-o-tronic: Veroboard!

Nowt wrong with Veroboard. I have used it for years with no problems. Obvious things to watch for are inter track capacitance and current handling on tracks, but with a bit of care, you can work wonders with this stuff. I was brought up with Veroboard and still use it. I have the gear to make PCBs but to be honest sometimes I just can't be bothered to make a proper board. For RF circuits I sometimes use the kind with no tracks just holes, to reduce capacity effects between tracks, or alternatively you can remove unwanted tracks to obtain same. I would encourage people to try it out if they haven't used it already, for small circuits anyway. I'm not sure about the voltage rating of Veroboard though, so I wouldn't use it for valve circuits.

Biggles.

Last edited by Biggles; 18th Aug 2006 at 12:56 pm. Reason: additional caution on high voltage circuits.
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Old 18th Aug 2006, 1:08 pm   #14
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Default Re: Bodge-o-tronic: Veroboard!

I'm with Biggles on using board without copper strip. Lower strays, easier to use, no possibility of shorted tracks. No tedious planning on graph paper beforehand.

For ultimate bodges, try a bit of thick card and make holes with a bradawl. Or a lump of woord or cork board and some drawing pins (thumbtacks to our friends across the pond).
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Old 18th Aug 2006, 2:42 pm   #15
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Default Re: Bodge-o-tronic: Veroboard!

I have used veroboard for most of my working life with no problems, although I do tend nowadays to prefer the "isolated island" type board. The only times when I hav'nt used it is when ready made pcbs have been available for a job. I was involved in research work on polar and cartesian loop transmitters many years ago, in this case pcbs were pretty much essential.
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Old 18th Aug 2006, 8:41 pm   #16
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Default Re: Bodge-o-tronic: Veroboard!

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
Is it possible to see the underside of the Veroboards
Here's one that has been much redesigned and experimented with. The image is a bit shaken. Just like the soldering iron.

Peter.
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Old 19th Aug 2006, 5:20 pm   #17
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Default Re: Bodge-o-tronic: Veroboard!

Well, what can I say, .

Some excellent examples of veroboard construction here, I have also been using this stuff for years.

You can't beat it.

A while ago I posted a couple of pics of my latest project, a nixie clock.

I have now finished it completely, all built in modular form, and all on veroboard.

Even cut up an old biscuit tin as shielding for the switchmode HV PSU, (even that is built on stripboard).

Keep up the good work
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Old 19th Aug 2006, 5:23 pm   #18
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Default Re: Bodge-o-tronic: Veroboard!

That's an excellent job, Pete! Very impressive.
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Old 19th Aug 2006, 6:21 pm   #19
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Default Re: Bodge-o-tronic: Veroboard!

Back in April in this thread https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...ead.php?t=8402,
I mentioned that I had built the Stereo Coder described in Television mag some years before. This has been in use a lot since then and it is built on Veroboard. As it was the last sizeable thing I've built in permanent form I thought I'd post some pictures of it's vitals.

The first picture shows the encoder panel and the small power supply panel to the bottom left. The second is the master oscillator and dividers board inside the screened box with the top removed and the third is just a general picture of the complete item. The other screened box houses the modulator but I didn't show this because it was part of the Maplin kit built on a ready made PCB so not entirely 'my own effort'.

There were no layout plans for the Veroboard assemblies so I had to work them out based on the suggested component placements and cut the strips accordingly.

It was fun to build, easy to set up and it works well.



Rich.
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Old 19th Aug 2006, 7:36 pm   #20
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Default Re: Bodge-o-tronic: Veroboard!

Here's another example to show the versatility of good old Veroboard . I made this "Tele-Tennis" unit about 30 years ago when such things were all the rage, just after the introduction of the AY-3-8500 games chip. Previously one needed about 4 huge boards full of ICs . This one was built from a Practical Wireless design using the AY-3-8500, on a piece of Veroboard with bits from the BT stores and an old TV tuner adapted as a UHF modulator. The novelty of playing the games soon wore off , but having just retrieved the thing from the loft, It still works perfectly! .

Regards, Mick.
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