Prototyping Circuits with Veroboard

What is Veroboard?

Veroboard, AKA stripboard, is a circuit prototyping board somewhere between solderless breadboards and printed PCBs. It allows you to make a more permanent circuit, which has more reliable connections than with breadboard, but without the expense of etching or ordering printed PCBs. It consists of strips of metal on a side of a board and a grid of holes spaces 0.1" (2.54mm) apart. This means you can solder most types of non-surfance mount ICs, resistors, capacitors etc onto them.

 

First lets start with an IC (integrated circuit). Place it in the holes of the veroboard (the legs usually need bending inwards a bit before they fit in the holes). Make sure that the strips run across the chip.

 

 

When you look at the otherside, you can see that when the chip is soldered to the board, opposite legs will be connected by strips. This means the circuit wouldn't work. In order to prevent this, you must cut the track. There are 2 common ways of cutting tracks - using a drill bit/track cutter, and using a knife.

With a drill bit you place it on top of one of the holes and turn it until the track has been cut away.

 

 

With a razor you just cut it between two holes.

 

 

The advantage of using a drill bit is that the cut is more reliable (ie you can be pretty sure connection has been destroyed). The advantage of using a knife is it is quicker and you dont sacrifice a hole for it. If you are unsure about whether the track has been properly cut, you can use a multimeter to test it.

First place the multimeter on the Continuity Test setting (the symbol of the diode).

 

 

This setting is used to see if there is a conducting path from one point to another. If the trace is properly cut, there wont be a conducting path. Place a test-probe on either side of the cut.

 

 

If the track is correctly cut then the display will read 1 (see above picture).

If the track is not correctly cut, and there is a conducting path across the cut, then the display will read 0 and most models beep.

 

 

So back to the IC. Cut all of the tracks underneath the IC using whichever method you want.

 

 

Solder a corner pin of the IC to the board.

 

 

Then turn it over and check the chip is nice and flat. If it isn't, remelt the solder and push it flat. Then, when you are happy, finish off soldering all of the pins. Be careful when soldering ICs, since some are pretty sensitive to heat. Try not to keep the soldering iron on a pin for longer than 3 seconds.

 

 

So say you want a resistor connected to pin 9 and pin 14. You would just place the leads into the board so that they touch the tracks of the afformentioned pins.

 

 

Solder them like normal and cut off the excess wire. I use nail-clippers to do this and it works really well. I recommend it!

 

 

What if you needed a resistor across pins 10 and 11? Then, because the pins are much closer, you would stand the resistor up and then do the same.

 

 

What about just connecting two pins. Here is how to make a jumper (which in this case connects pins 1 and 8).

 

When you buy veroboard, it comes in quite large sheets. If you only have a small circuit, then you will have to cut or snap the board. To snap the board, take some pliers and place them along a line of holes. Bend the board, be pretty careful, and it should snap nice and sufficiently neatly across the line of holes.

 

 

There you have it. A veroboarded circuit. It is equivalent to this schematic.

 

 

Here is a much more complicated circuit done in veroboard. A couple of tricks used here -

Jumpers underneath the board, instead of ontop. This can look a lot neater in some situations.

At the bottom left, there is extra solder on the tracks. This is because these track will be carrying alot of current. You have to be careful with high current and veroboard, the tracks can't handle a great deal of it.

 

 

As you can see, the concepts remain the same, regardless of the size of the circuit.