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Understanding PC boards

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Matt Till, Feb 4, 2005.


  1. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I'm looking over effects construction sites/modding sites/etc and I'm starting to "get it" but I'm still confused about PC boards. I mean I get what they are for, but do they need all that "writing" on the back? Or is it just a board that connects everything?
     
  2. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    It's basically just a board that connects everything. The "writing" on the back connects all the parts electronically. Works just like soldering a wire from one piece to another.

    The only difference is these are easier to mass produce and are much more foolproof.
     
  3. Rav

    Rav

    Dec 29, 2004
    Aurora, IL
    If your refering to the circuit trace lines they aren't just writing. they are circuit path. You need to etch a board to the correct path to build the circuit onto.

    There are places that sell kits to do this. You start with a board that has a thin sheet of metal on one side. You draw the circuit on with an etching pen then you soak the board in acid that eats away the metal thats not covered with the pen lines ( trace lines ).

    Then you drill holes in the locations that the circuit components need to attach.

    Finally you insert the components so that they are on the non metal side with their metal prongs sticking thru the holes. Solder them down then cut off the excess leads. This makes the components use the circuit traces as connections between themselves.

    You can alternately use a multi purpose type of board but then you have to solder wires between the components leads instead of using the board to make the path for you. This is actually more complicated to make and much less durable. Its very easy to tear a wire or get it caught in a screw when your fastening it to a platform or a box.

    -Rav
     
  4. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    OK, cool. I saw PC boards sitting at radio shack completely blank and didn't know what anyone would do next. Cool. I'll look into one of those kits.
     
  5. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yeah - you don't need to use a PC board to duplicate a pedal that's built on one. You can just stuff all the component leads through a 'perf board' ('perforated'), and then point-to-point wire everything on the back by soldering wires between the leads. You can also use a 'wire-wrap' system that uses square posts that you wrap special wire around with a special 'wire-wrap tool' - then you don't even have to solder.

    Joe
     
  6. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Yep, Perfboard is my weapon of choice for prototyping. Then there's wire wrap for connecting boards. All works great!
     
  7. Rav

    Rav

    Dec 29, 2004
    Aurora, IL
    The boards your refering to as perf boards are called breadboards.

    They are great to prototype but not really practical for an actual build project you plan to keep, mount in a box and use on stage.

    But they are wonderful to experiment with.

    -Rav