Solderable breadboards - thoughts?

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I am thinking about making a permanent layout but doing an actual PCB (even with the likes of JLPCB) is a bit beyond me so my "goto" from days gone by would have been veroboard/stripboard but even that involves breaking the strips with a drill bit or (what I have used in the past) a counter-sink which I know from experience can be "fraught"

 

Then more recently I have noticed this kind of thing:

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Treedix...

 

 

So it's basically a premade PCB laid out as a "breadboard" - on the hidden side there are verticals for the power rails and horizontals for each group of 5 - just like a breadboard.

 

As I already "prototype" in solderless breadboards there's a certain appeal to this - effectively just solder the same layout into place.

 

But has anyone actually used this kind of thing?

Is it a good way to proceed?

Are there particular brands that are higher quality/more reliable than others etc?

I notice, for example that Sparkfun/Adafruit seem to have this kind of thing too - but is it worth paying a premium?

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Yes, I have used them and actually have a few in the junk box now, never gave a thought about "quality" as it's SSSSOOOO much better then the thing it replaces....  

Have fun!  Jim

 

 

FF = PI > S.E.T

 

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clawson wrote:
my "goto" from days gone by would have been veroboard/stripboard but even that involves breaking the strips with a drill bit or (what I have used in the past) a counter-sink which I know from experience can be "fraught"
Thin FR-4 can be cut by hand scissors; typical thickness FR-4 by tin snips (sheet metal snips)

clawson wrote:
Is it a good way to proceed?
Yes especially for off-the-shelf enclosures; otherwise, typical protoboard onto PCB feet, or standoffs into some sheet plastic.

clawson wrote:
Are there particular brands that are higher quality/more reliable than others etc?
The manufacturer of breadboards that Brad uses also make protoboards.

 

P.S.

clawson wrote:
... but doing an actual PCB (even with the likes of JLPCB) is a bit beyond me ...
If a secondary school student can make a PCBA then so can you; the concern is learning time duration (too much in one's rucksack so to speak)

 


Solderable PCB BreadBoards | BusBoard Prototype Systems

 

BPS-DAT-(SMTpads)-Datasheet.pdf (BusBoard, page 7 for 'Cutting PCBs')

 

Radical Brad Hacks – Vulcan-74 Page 1 | AtomicZombie DIY Plans

[mid-page]

The difference between the ten dollar Twin Industries boards I purchase from Digikey (Part #438-1045-ND) and the five dollar China made EBay deal boards is often the difference between success and failure.

Solderless Breadboard | Twin Industries: Hardware Prototyping and Development Tools.

PROTOTYPING BOARDS | Twin Industries: Hardware Prototyping and Development Tools.

Vectorbord® | Vector Electronics (IIRC from Q1'96, what I had for a mixed prototype [THT, SMT QFP DSP onto a PGA adapter])

 

Chrome OS is the third OS | Page 2 | AVR Freaks

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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I've seen those on Banggood Electronics, etc., and purchased a pack or two.

I did a couple quickie, need it now, small projects with them.

 

Note well:  Some have the little strips of 5 connected.

In some they are just 5 holes in a row, so you have to bridge the holes.

 

Every time I use one, I keep saying to myself:  "I should just make a PCB..."

But they are fast, available "now", and functional.

 

JC

 

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Board seems to be of the highest quality.

 

What is not good /to me/ is that row of 5 is connected on both sides. If you need a group of 2 or 3, mind cutting both sides foil.

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They work fine for “do it now or tomorrow (or next week)” stuff.

 

jlcpcb works fine for “need it small or with a funny package (eg qfn)” and a couple weeks will do.
 

Your choice. I’ve used both and they do what the tin says.

 

Same as always, buy from a decent supplier and the tracks won’t peel off or the holes will be drilled, and you’re fine.

There are already a million monkeys in front of a million keyboards, and the internet is nothing like Shakespeare!

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I use them and find they are much better than breadboards.

No intermittent glitchy connections and more flexible in layout and lead connections.

No component interconnection leads to fall off.

Just use through hole parts where possible and use the pigtails to run connections underneath.

Don't need to order them in, can just drive down any one of the nearest bits shops and get them straight away.

 

The best ones are the through hole plated ones with a pad on both sides, have reused that type again and again.

Have run across some that are dressed up to look like they are through hole plated but on examination they are not.

A big secret with these is that it is a must to use a decent desoldering gun when changing connections or when disassembling.

The combination of these boards, pitch adapter boards, maybe some Arduino or Sparkfun boards thrown in and the desoldering gun is the answer to construction and prototyping.

 

Need help to comprehend?

Last Edited: Thu. May 12, 2022 - 10:30 PM
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Conceptually, I really like the protoboard-like layout (and I've never understood the "pad per hole" sort of board that seems to be sol popular.)

I can't say that I've actually used them yet, though - most of my projects seem to wind up with buses between chips, which is something that works out particularly poorly with this sort of "chips go end-to-end" layout.


I think I've seen these implemented in paper/phenolic (an old RadioShack product?), but most of the more modern ones seem to be taking advantage of the cheap PCB services available these days.

The Adafruit "Perma-Proto" boards are gorgeous - they splurged for a couple of extra silkscreen colors (I have several that I've received as "perks" for "large" orders.  Haven't used one yet...)

 

 

I also hacked together an Eagle "ULP" to generate protoboard-like areas on a PCB...  ( https://github.com/WestfW/Eagle-... )

 

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For small prototyping or POC projects they're just the ticket.

 

I go from breadboard => to proto board, to iron out any problems => then to PCB.

 

This is an example of one that I created for the ATmega4809, works great. (Article link)

 

Happy Trails,

Mike

JaxCoder.com

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I have occasionally used the "holy ones" but mostly used just old fashioned veroboard for a quick job like a memory expansion card with RS232 interface......

 

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

https://www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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Wow. Great feedback. So it looks like generally they're considered a "good idea". Think I'll dip my toe in the water and see how I get on. Apart from anything else I've got 30..40 pots I want to wire up to 16 channel analog multiplexers and then into AVR ADC pins. 

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Cliff,

 

I have hundreds of boards I have soldered up of various sizes and manufacturers to prototype.  I never used a breadboard.  Futurlec used to have the cheapest ones:  Prototyping Boards (futurlec.com) .  If you solder you won't get the sometimes flakey behavior you get from a solderless breadboard after the first insertion.  My mentor said he never used breadboards or sockets.  Just solder, since it makes a connection you can trust.  Get some copper solder wick to help fix things when you mess up.  I use 24 ga solid copper phone wire for hookup.  I have 30 feet of 50 conductor phone cable.  Each wire in the cable has a unique color and stripe color, so that's nice.

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The phenolic/paper is "ok", splurge on the FR-4 if you can .

 

Also, some boards have plated through holes, some do not (just pads on the surface &punched out holes)....obviously plated holes are nice, if you can get them/pay for them.

 

I only buy the kind that have multiple holes tied together, or else I just use blank boards that have holes and no copper at all (perfboard). 

 

For a lot of analog/high power stuff, I prefer a blank sheet of copper PCB material, then use the copper as a soldering plane.  I will dremel out some bus bars for common things connected together.  If I add an AVR, I solder on an over-length wire-wrap socket (extra support legs to copper gnd), then I can wire to any AVR DIP pin. 

 

why solder when you can use jumper wires (this is from web)

 

 

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

Last Edited: Fri. May 13, 2022 - 12:06 AM
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avrcandies wrote:
Also, some boards have plated through holes, some do not (just pads on the surface &punched out holes)

The copper pads will sometimes come off on the low quality boards if you try to rework.

 

avrcandies wrote:
For a lot of analog/high power stuff, I prefer a blank sheet of copper PCB material, then use the copper as a soldering plane.

I think that's called a "dead bug" board, because it ends up looking like a flat copper ground plane with a bunch of dead bugs on it all soldered together sticking up in the air.

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I think that's called a "dead bug" board, because it ends up looking like a flat copper ground plane with a bunch of dead bugs

I usually socket my chips...here is an AVR creation I blew the dust off ...nowadaze I'll solder down chip caps and chip resistors   ...I have a drill tool bit that will carve out little islands of copper (It's a form of a glass holesaw)

The AVR socket pins are cut to about half the height of the long legs, or bent 90 deg out (thought that tends to snap off).

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

Last Edited: Fri. May 13, 2022 - 01:35 AM
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more :

Bob Pease's Famous Breadboard - RF Cafe

Bob Pease designs were mostly analog which is a match to the impedance of free space (377 ohms) whereas AVR are stout di/dt (low impedance) though Brad's designs are well on breadboards with a backing metal plate.

Single-layer Boards | AVR040: EMC Design Considerations

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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While those proto boards do look handy, I'm going to trot out my standard mantra: make a PCB. You might make it wrongly, but at least what you've got is what you drew in the schematic capture phase (assuming you used the concurrency checks. You did let the computer check that your PCB and schematic matched, right?) and that way when it doesn't work it's far more likely that it's a design error than a construction error.

 

Neil

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Personally I use Protoboard or ProtoShield.  i.e. matrix of independent plated through holes on green fibreglass.

The Chinese green ones are good quality.   Avoid the cheap non-plated single-sided SRBP boards.

 

Point to point wiring with fine single core wire.   e.g. wire-wrap wire or phone wire.

 

You get a reasonable component density without routeing nightmares.

With a solderable breadboard approach you end up with exactly the same size of unwieldy boards and wires as a regular breadboard.

 

David.

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I use solderless breadboards and then go to PCB.

 

I use Eagle and then JLC to build boards. You can get 5 PCBs (100 x 100 mm) in a week for about AUD20 including shipping.

 

For that price it is worth just making a few basic boards to gain familiarity with the tools and process. It honestly is pretty straightforward and produces a result that far exceeds my ability with protoboard soldering.

 

Greg

regards
Greg

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avrcandies wrote:

why solder when you can use jumper wires (this is from web)

 

 

How did you get a picture of my desk?

regards
Greg

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Hi folks,

 

So firstly a huge thank you to everyone who sent me a PM about helping me to actually produce a PCB - you are very generous!

 

I'll just explain a bit more about where I am with this and maybe you'll see why I might not be quite ready to go for the full PCB solution as (maybe mistakenly?) it feels a bit too "final"

 

As noted in a previous thread:

 

https://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/...

 

This is all about designing a synthesizer. I haven't quite finished this "soft" design yet but this gives a taste of the kind of "front panel" I want this thing to have:

 

 

Now a lot of modern synths have very little more than a fairly capable GLCD, a handful of buttons and a small number (even just one) encoders. Then to program you dive into menus (either clicking buttons or click/rotating the encoder etc). But if you make a UI like that you lose the immediacy of instant gratification of twiddling one or more controls at the same time so it's much more difficult to "try out" various settings while getting instant feedback of how that sounds.

 

So I want to go "old school" on this. An oft repeated/requested feature in the synth loving community is "one function knobs". So instead of making the same pot/encoder adjust 10 different things according to which menu chosen "mode" you happen to be in right now people are looking for a resurrection of the 80's/90's synth world where the basic synths (mainly because most of what was in them was analogue rather than digital) had a knob that did one and only one thing - perhaps the filter cut off or filter resonance or something and that's basically because it was the pot that formed part of the analogue filter circuity. It wasn't the case that it's position was being digitized by an ADC and then the control software was using this to program a cutoff/register value in some other device (which is kind of what goes on inside modern synths).

 

So, long story short ("too late"!) while it is going to be a "digital synth" I want something with an old-world analogue feel to the user interface. To that end I mainly discounted the use of encoders (which usually are tied to a display so it can feedback to the user what position the control is currently in). I do plan to have a small display and encoder for "housekeeping" but I want the main work to be done by a whole raft of pots and the knobs themselves will give instant user feedback as to what position they are in. See madly coloured diagram above and you can pick any one of those controls and instantly see how far it has been rotated between limits.

 

So to just test the pots and see what they "feel" like I have just wedged them into a breadboard for now:

 

 

But that was basically just to test one example of the 7mm shaft and one example of the 12mm shaft - which lead me to conclude that the 12mm is the better of the two.

 

So now I have bags of these things so I want to lay out 40 (4 rows of 10) to see what the whole UI will feel like but it's very very unlikely to be the final solution - this is just another step in the prototyping but I want to try stuff like seeing how close/ar apart to place them both to try and make a fairly "compact" layout but not so close that you bump another control as your fat fingers are trying to adjust another knob. So I don't even know how far apart I want them to be in the grid yet.

 

I also don't know if I want to stick with raw pots. I like "pocket operator" synthesizers a lot. They have an "industrial look":

 

 

but I also have a bunch of matching knobs...

 

 

OK those are on encoders not pots but they can be used and I have bags of these knobs anyway.

 

But if I put the knobs on then the pots would need to be positioned further apart to ensure there was still "finger room" to grab hold of the controls.

 

So I want a solid base (not flimsy like when you just push the pins of a pot into a breadboard) but something I can "try stuff out with" (assuming my desoldering skills will permit it) to try positioning them at various distances apart to see how it looks, how it feels and to actually read the values and feed them into code.

 

With that in mind (and again because I don't want to have to worry about "raw chips" at this stage) I have ten of these:

 

 

which are 16 way CD74HC4067 analog multiplexers so that I can easily attach 40+ pots to just one or two ADC pins.

 

Oh and there's another thing. A lot of modern devices...

 

 

(I have two of those already) Have some kind of "button interface" which is used (a) for playing through a piano keyboard, (b) entering steps into a "step sequencer" and (c) "finger drumming".

 

I have a distant plan to include some kind of keys like this in my design too. Once again I have bags full of tact switches so those could be used for "step sequencing" (like the 16 buttons across the middle of the Liven XFM above). But you can't really "play" tact switches - they won't work either as piano keys or finger drum pads.

 

So like the IK Uno (bottom one above) capacitive pads are an interesting option - that can certainly work for "piano keys" and it'll even work for finger drumming.

 

A "better" solution for finger drumming though (which can also be used as piano keys and even touch/velocity sensitive piano keys) are the kind of pads in the Novation Circuit Tracks (top one). You could (very expensively!) create such a number of pads with either force sensing resistors or piezo elements used as input not output (the latter is used a lot in electronic drum kits!) but there is a "cheap and cheerful" solution that involves copper pads separate by velostat and with a foam square on top. You can get proper velocity sensitivity this way (it's kind of what is under the hood in a Circuit Tracks) but it's the most mechanically complex solution as you effectively want to make a "sandwich" of copper/velostat/copper/foam and make sure it's all held in place. For the base layer of copper than can, of course, be a large pad on a PCB but you are then going to probably need something like a 3D printed plastic enclosure to hold the other elements of the "sandwich" that makes each piano/drum pad in place - that bit may be beyond me.

 

But whether I opt to add capacitive pads (most likely) or velostat pads or simply just tact switches (and again you could make 3D printed plastic "keys" to go on top?) all that almost certainly needs a "PCB backbone" both to give it rigid structure but also to form part of the circuit (whether the pads are capacitive or part of a veolstat/foam sandwich).

 

So anyway, yes, I do see a full PCB layout for this in the future (assuming early prototyping experiments succeed) but in the short term I guess I am just using a board as a "solid backbone" onto which to mount stuff (but also connect it electrically togeth). Hence the question about whether these solderable breadboards (which are possibly better than just vero/stripboard) are any good ;-)

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Yes. I have also seen solder-able breadboards in sparkfun. Those have quite good reviews there. These work great for many complex projects. Have perfect layout for analog and digital projects. You  ever consider designing and printing a solder-able breadboard, you can take a look at the following  design and get your PCB produced by the same service provider:

 

https://www.pcbway.com/project/s...

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Because SuperBooth (where synth suppliers gather to show their new stuff) is on right now in Germany I just read about:

 

https://www.synthux.academy/simple

 

 

On the surface this looks "clever" because they have designed a PCB with a lot of "sites" into which you can optionally plug pots, switches, jacks to layout your own front panel design. Putting any device at any position.

 

But then you see the price. A kit with 20 pots, 10 switches, 10 jacks and a Teensy 4 (and the "clever" PCB) costs €289 (OK, short term discount to €199). Well I know a Teensy 4 is $25 and the pots/switches/jacks are about $20-$25 from Aliexpress so that is going to have to be one hell of a PCB for the money!!

 

Quite clever though.

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barnacle wrote:
... I'm going to trot out my standard mantra: make a PCB.
Somewhat concur; an exception is the SMT protoboard (50 mil [1.27 mm] pitch, iow small-outline, SOIC, SOP, etc)

A first prototype can be created by pulling an all-nightersmiley

barnacle wrote:
... the concurrency checks. You did let the computer check that your PCB and schematic matched, right?)
back-annotation

A common defect is footprint mis-match (PCB doesn't match with the parts that are in local stock)

Some of the best practices are

  • schematic checklist
  • PCB checklist (entered the complete, precise, and correct package data for a SKU/CPN/etc into the schematic?)
  • design reviews

barnacle wrote:
... and that way when it doesn't work it's far more likely that it's a design error than a construction error.
to be patchedsmiley

 


Surface Mount Prototyping PCBs | BusBoard Prototype Systems

 

8-bit PIC® and AVR® MCU Design and Troubleshooting Checklist

Checklist (PCB Wizards)

 

SchmartPatch - Schmartboard, Inc.

SchmartPatch - Schmartboard | Mouser

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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PCBShopper – A Price Comparison Site for Printed Circuit Boards

Part of the endurance of supply chain issues is local or regional manufacturing.

 

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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clawson wrote:

So I want to go "old school" on this. An oft repeated/requested feature in the synth loving community is "one function knobs".

 

The decoupling of the front panel from the bits that make noise has a long and illustrious history. Probably one of the classics is the Prophet 5. A front panel read by a Z80 which then outputs analogue voltages to the VCOs/VCAs/VCFs. Just this week I read an interesting article about the follow-up Prophet 6.

 

@Cliff.... for your UI have a look at https://www.ultrasensesys.com/pr...

#1 Hardware Problem? https://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/...

#2 Hardware Problem? Read AVR042.

#3 All grounds are not created equal

#4 Have you proved your chip is running at xxMHz?

#5 "If you think you need floating point to solve the problem then you don't understand the problem. If you really do need floating point then you have a problem you do not understand."

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Once again, what a cool project.

 

Anyway, another thought or two.

 

I think you are viewing PCB's as a final or semi-final product.

 

Instead, just think of an early PCB as truly a rough trial prototype, to tinker with.

 

A couple of months from now it will be sitting in your spare parts bin... collecting dust, and that's fine.

 

I'd lay the pots, (or knobs), out on a sheet of paper and hold your fingers over them to see about what might be reasonable spacing.

 

Not a great test, but enough to give you an idea of too tight, or way too loose.

 

Then make your first prototype PCB to both have some working HW to experiment with, code wise, and to get a better feel for the physical dimensions of the device when in actual use.

 

I'd suggest, perhaps, a "prototype" PCB somewhat like (quickly drawn) below.

 

The PCB holds your 40 POTS.

It has the 3 little 16 Channel Analog Mux PCBs right on the POT PCB.

That makes it easy to wire the POTs, (AND THEIR wiper caps!), to the little Mux boards.

The Mux boards are routed to 3 x 8-pin headers on the (far) edge of the PCB.

Those are spaced so that with male header pins they can plug into two, solderless breadboards.

 

The solderless breadboards allow you to easily use jumper wires to connect to your micro ( s ) to run the device.

 

If the Mux PCBs can be placed on the same bus, with different addresses, then one would only need one, 8-pin header for the 3 of them.

 

I added an "extra" header for a couple of LEDs, Push Button Switches, and a Piezo, to go on the main POT prototype board.

They might well prove to be useful, even if just for SW development, and not for actual use in playing the instrument.

 

The main PCB is a little bit oversized to allow for some mounting holes.

 

If the Mux PCBs can be bused, then one could have a "nice" ribbon cable to connect them to the micro's PCB, and skip plugging the POT PCB into the breadboards as a patch panel.

 

Either way, I doubt the POT matrix will fit into the breadboards, (current plan), in a "nice" pattern, (Murphy's Law).

 

Laying out the POT PCB is easier than laying out a micro & analog PCB, but it will still be a learning curve if you haven't done it before.

(Offer stands!)

 

Cool project.

 

JC

 

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Brian Fairchild wrote:
. for your UI have a look at https://www.ultrasensesys.com/pr...
Ooh that looks nice !

DocJC wrote:
Instead, just think of an early PCB as truly a rough trial prototype, to tinker with.
Jay, you are probably right but you know in another current thread there's talk about the modern generations approach to life "I want it. And I want it NOW"? I guess that's starting to rub off on me a bit ;-) The worry I have on PCB I guess is the lead/cycle time. I've no experience but if most of the places doing it are in China or other Far Eastern locations I can't help wondering if the turn around time is going to be like buying component from Banngood/AliExpress? At least with anything I can buy on Amazon I can almost always have it on the doorstep tomorrow (in fact maybe Bezos should be blamed for the "I want it now" culture?

 

(case in point - my wife was remarking on the fact that the bedside light was not bright enough last night - the new bulbs were delivered about 20 minutes ago ;-)

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Understood.

 

For the last few years I've used PCBWay, (China), for my boards.

I've been delighted with the quality.

During the early part of the pandemic they had a warning banner across their web site about staffing and longer than usual turn around times.

When they moved to a larger facility they also had a banner warning of about a 1 ( or was it 2???) week delay.

Every Feb 1 - ish, they post a Chinese New Year, Factory closed for a couple days, warning.

Currently, there is no warning mentioning any delays, and they have been pretty good about notifying / warning their customers about this in the past.

 

I just entered a 10 cm x 10 cm, 2 sided PCB, quantity 5, and the cost was:

(With FR-4 PCB, double sided, with solder mask, and silk screening text)

24 HRs build time:  $ 5 USD

DHL 2-4 day shipping: $24.21

Total:  $29.21

 

As is usually the case when ordering PCBs, the (air) shipping costs significantly more than the item itself!

 

Yet the overall cost is still incredibly reasonable.

 

I'm not bending your arm, (OK, perhaps just a little bit).

I just want you to be able to make an informed decision.

 

JC

 

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You can also save by using "strips" of pcb , say a strip of 8 pots,  Then screw down a few strips on some wood. Rearrange to your hearts content. The PCB price goes up fast when the board size gets large, so the strip keeps it low.  Also, of course, the price goes way down when you order 10 small compared to 1 large. 

Even for a final form, maybe you might have some kind of slotted metal/plastic frame (take a look at aluminum/plastic extrusions) where individual strips slide in.

 

Here is a poor example (not quite right extrusion), but gives the idea... Each board strip is sandwiched longways between these tight-fitting extrusions (the same length as the PCB length) which act as a stiffener and slight spacer. These overhang the PCB strips slightly....forming a complete panel  ...vert pcb ...vert spacer..vert pcb...vert spacer...vert pcb....

This entire "panel" of strips is then slid into a horizontally slotted frame (top and bottom rail) which keeps the entire panel of strips/spacers rigid.

 

https://www.tapplastics.com/prod...

 

 

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

Last Edited: Fri. May 13, 2022 - 06:11 PM
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DocJC wrote:
I'd lay the pots, (or knobs), out on a sheet of paper and hold your fingers over them to see about what might be reasonable spacing.
Engraving plastic is stiffer than paper and can be further stiffened with ribs.

fyi, a young-adult-in-training may want the junior high shop class (prerequisites for making electronics enclosures and front panels)

DocJC wrote:
The PCB holds your 40 POTS.

It has the 3 little 16 Channel Analog Mux PCBs right on the POT PCB.

Could mux each pot; AVR TWI has the capacity and reduced slew rate (EMC)

I2C bus buffers if concerned about reflections.

 


junior high - typically two years between elementary (primary) school and high (secondary) school; high school is serious (vocational and college preparatory)

 

Creative Case Hacks: No 3D Printer Required! - YouTube (17m17s)

 

((7 b/pot + 6 b/pot) * 40 pot) / 20 ms = 26 Kbps << 1 Mbps AVR DB TWI max

TWI | AVR® DB Family

 


Beautiful oscilloscope panel in “After Dark” – OSH Park

Front panels: simply good & fast | Beta LAYOUT Ltd.

[bottom right]

FR4 front panels

...

Circuit Board Stiffeners | Storm Power Components via This Week's Cool Product | The Embedded Muse 408

though can secure PCBA by compression between two aluminum ribs (fixed rib, movable rib or rib that's cammed, recall enclosures for mechatronics and vehtronics)

... or by copper sheet :

Electric propulsion system for PPG and Ultralights | AVR Freaks

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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DocJC wrote:
Currently, there is no warning mentioning any delays, and they have been pretty good about notifying / warning their customers about this in the past.
The ones of Shenzhen recently endured a COVID-19 response.

PCBGOGO Complete Resumption of Work

due to

New Manufacturer: PCBgogo – PCBShopper

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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How about a piece of cardboard, cut to the size of the PCB you want.

Then all you have to do is press them down into the cardboard.

Don't like, turn it over!

Happy Trails,

Mike

JaxCoder.com

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Don't like, turn it over!

I hot melt my pots in place on some blank copper clad or even perfboard...holds pretty good & solid (pots with the round metal housing)...however I'm talking 2 or 3 pots, not 40!  They are easy enough to "peel off" and move. 

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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mike32217 wrote:

How about a piece of cardboard, cut to the size of the PCB you want.

Then all you have to do is press them down into the cardboard.

Don't like, turn it over!

a surprisingly simple idea ;-) 

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barnacle wrote:
While those proto boards do look handy, I'm going to trot out my standard mantra: make a PCB. You might make it wrongly, but at least what you've got is what you drew in the schematic

You are a professional, Neil, and are familiar with schematic drawing software and PCB programs.  I draw schematics in pencil in my lab book when I do, but usually I just get the idea in my head and start soldering up protoboards.  I figure the wires are my schematic.  The bottom sides of my boards are pretty gory with all the rework I often have.  Sometimes I use a solderless breadboard if I really don't know what I am doing, to make it easier to try different things before soldering.  I'm too lazy to learn the ins and outs of schematic drawing programs and PCB programs.  I hate learning someone else's code.  I have done one of each in the past, and prefer pencil and solder.  I'm just lazy.

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MarkThomas wrote:
I'm just lazy.

 

So am I. That's why I make PCBs :)

 

 

While I have done things of this complexity and density by both wirewrap and point-to-point using heat sensitive enameled wire in a wiring pen, using normal insulated wire is at best very difficult and error prone; probably you'd want teflon coated wire which is usually only affordable if someone else is paying. Using prototype boards I would humbly suggest that - Ben Eater to the contrary - it is almost impossible to maintain correct connectivity with that many connections.

 

(Obviously all those methods would use DIP packages instead of SM, but I think I could fit them all onto the same space either as a PCB or wire-wrapping. If you are constrained to any of the SM parts, I think a PCB is really the only way to go.)

 

Being able to visualise the finished product is also a surprisingly handy tool.

 

 

Neil

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That is a sweet PCB.  I that manual or autoroute (or combo)?  2 layer with power plane layers?

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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Mark

i am an engineer…. but all my avr work is a hobby. It is really worth giving Eagle or something similar a go for schematics and pcb layout. It is the usual combination of fun/frustration… but it can produce a good outcome that is way beyond my hand soldering ability. 

regards
Greg

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I was going to comment that boards larger than 100x100mm can rapidly get more expensive than the remarkable bargains people report for small boards.  But that doesn't seem quite true any more, depending on supplier.  (a 100x200mm board at PCBWAY is about 10x more expensive than a 100x100mm board.  But JLCPCB seems to be significantly more ... linear.)

 

OTTH, I've made the mistake of limiting PCB size to get the low price (back in the 50x50mm days), and lived to regret it when pricing changed and my boards were obviously over-squeezed...

 

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barnacle wrote:
... using heat sensitive enameled wire in a wiring pen, using normal insulated wire is at best very difficult and error prone; probably you'd want teflon coated wire which is usually only affordable if someone else is paying.
Indeed as magnet wire is recommended.

barnacle wrote:
If you are constrained to any of the SM parts, I think a PCB is really the only way to go.)
... at less than 1 mm pitch approximate, or, BGA (some FPGA aren't fine-pitch BGA such to ease first prototype)

 


ELM - Wiring Techniques

Extreme Wiring on the Prototyping Board

[third sentence]

However the PTFE wire is not suitable as wiring material for protoboard because there are following problems.

[too thick, difficult rework, strip the ends]

...

According to some trial, 0.16-0.2mm dia UEW [magnet wire] is the best for the protoboad. 

...

 

[bottom]

How to mount SMD

[Kapton tape]

 

Surface Mount Prototyping PCBs | BusBoard Prototype Systems

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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westfw wrote:
But that doesn't seem quite true any more, depending on supplier.
An entire panel can be relatively inexpensive (no routing, reduced handling)

Panel fill with

  • power supplies
  • pitch converters
  • protoboards
  • USB UARTs
  • odds and ends
  • minimally essential MCU development boards

A manufacturer may have Gerbers.

PCB CAD may have a paneling feature though there's panel CAD.

westfw wrote:
... and my boards were obviously over-squeezed...
Can connect spare ports to logic analyzers and such possibly direct without cables (B2B)

 


Gerber Files (Microchip Technology)

ATTINY1627 CURIOSITY NANO EVALUATION KIT | Microchip Technology

[bottom]

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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gchapman wrote:
0.16-0.2mm

 

0.2-0.25 mm, green and red, yes, but only for power lines, otherwise 0.16 and only that size.

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avrcandies wrote:

That is a sweet PCB.  I that manual or autoroute (or combo)?  2 layer with power plane layers?

 

Manual layout, 100mm * 160mm (Eurocard). Two layers; what isn't obvious tracks (because the flooding is turned off)  is flooded power planes; east west on the top ground, and north south on the bottom Vcc plane. So there are lots of fat fingers of power and ground (and that's why the three fat red lines stage right; they're linking the power past all those I/O connections).

 

I used Eagle for many years, with a licence up to 100*160 four layer, but when Autocad bought them out and wanted to rent updates to me, I gave up. Now I'm evangelising Kicad, which has done wonders in V6.

 

Neil

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Manual layout

Excellent!  Stay away from the dark side.    I noticed the good use of directionality.

By the way---what pitch you have on the blue bus on the right?  Any issues having a fine pitch made reliably by the low-cost vendors? 

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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All of my boards are small one offs, and I like to solder.  I cant deal with the frustration learning the schematic and PCB software, so I just solder it up.  It's also easier to change what I do than a PCB.  I do a lot of rework.

 

For a big board like shown above I would do the frustration to get a PCB made.  I find soldering calming and relaxing.  Maybe it's the fumes.

 

This is the last digital board I made.  It has 3 TLC5940's for up to 48 channels of 0 - 120 mA LED control each.  A tiny 10 pin JTAG connector.  There is an 18 channel optical detector on one end and an RFDigital radio on the other, and an LED that lights up if one of the LED channels goes out:

 

 

 

Edit:  That's an ATmega1284P under the label 21.

 

Last Edited: Sat. May 14, 2022 - 05:55 PM
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avrcandies wrote:
By the way---what pitch you have on the blue bus on the right?  Any issues having a fine pitch made reliably by the low-cost vendors? 

 

0.2mm tracks and spacing (call it six thou) with 0.3/0.6mm vias for the most part (bigger for power where needed). I haven't made this particular board yet; it's part of a set and I'm actually redesigning the system a little and I haven't decided whether to do everything on one big board. However, I've used JLCPCB for boards with the same pitch without issue, including one 250 * 300mm (which was ridiculously cheap!)

 

If I were doing a pth dip chip board, I'd probably aim for eight thou, but only to increase the hole-track width.

 

Neil

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0.2mm tracks and spacing (call it six thou) with 0.3/0.6mm vias

I've been slowly creeping tighter myself...20 mils, 14 mil, 12 mil 10 mil...that's where I'm holding ...my buddy gives me boards and I always regret tightness every time I have to cut a few of his traces and do some wire jumping to swap them around.  I say you had 2 inches of emptiness, but needed to pack all of these traces in 1/4 inch??? He just laughs!

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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westfw wrote:
I was going to comment that boards larger than 100x100mm can rapidly get more expensive than the remarkable bargains people report for small boards.
yes

www.tokopedia.com/madagang .Buy and Donated cheap electronics and manuscripts.

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So how spooky is this?!?

 

After comments here I just started to explore what would be involved in using Kicad/EDA and getting boards from JLCPCB. In the videos there was one by "Notes & Volts" who's previous videos have been essential viewing for me (he basically showed how to make a synth with a Teensy 4!) 

 

When I watched that video...

 

https://youtu.be/VejO8rDdhzo?t=98

 

it seems the example project he's using as an example is 64 pots through 16-to-1 analog multiplexers! Almost exactly the same thing I was looking to do myself!! Uncanny.

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clawson wrote:
seems the example project he's using as an example is 64 pots through 16-to-1 analog multiplexers! Almost exactly the same thing I was looking to do myself!! Uncanny.

 

Many great discoveries in sciencd are made independently on opposite sides of he globe.  Either all he prerequisite work has been done and is available to multiple researchers, or there really is a thing called ESP, and people separated by great distances have similar ideas,  In that vein, I have noticed when I go down to the street in The Castro all the people I want to see eventually end up in the same place I am.  Coincidence?  Perhaps not.  People with similar goals tend to connect in the either, or whatever it is. 

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MarkThomas wrote:
People with similar goals tend to connect in the either, or whatever it is. 
Indeed the ether connects masters and lovers ... love enables.

The Divine Move in GO

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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 Uncanny.

Strange how random stuff happens...I went to the other side of town, bout 30 minutes away to an an auction of a garage/workshop, except I got there and it was mostly finished.   There was a nice table saw and tool cabinet/drawers that had been sold & I would have been interested...Oh well.  I headed towards home across town and stopped by the grocery for a bit.   For some unknown, random reason, I decided to take a different road, which is longer and not at all my normal path home. About a mile from home I spotted a set of tool drawers half way up a driveway.  I assumed they were sitting there to be sold so I came to a stop for a better look.  Just then a guy came around his truck & asked what I wanted.  I asked if he was putting it up for sale & was shocked by his reply...No, in fact I just bought it at an auction and am hauling it into my garage.  Those were the same drawers I had seen way across town an hour earlier!  If I had not taken that random road or been 5 minutes earlier or later would have missed it in the driveway.  I told my wife this uncanny tale & her only reply was why do you need more drawers?

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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clawson wrote:
After comments here I just started to explore what would be involved in using Kicad/EDA and getting boards from JLCPCB.
Cliff,you could also made homemade breadboard.Only 6 cents plus junk PCB.I didn’t posting the finished cause already at junk yard(acti of my sister and brother).I bought plastic bread board and added spare unused pcbs below.

www.tokopedia.com/madagang .Buy and Donated cheap electronics and manuscripts.

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But that's the thing - I want to get AWAY from the unreliability of spring clipped contacts in a breadboard. I expect buttons/knobs/switches to be heavily tweaked and they will simply come loose from a breadboard before very long.

 

As JLCPCB is so cheap it is kind of tempting to have a crack at it. Just trying to weigh up things between EasyEDA and KiCAD.

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You probably want to at least have some breadboard or cardboard setup for a day or so...very quickly you can decide whether your arrangement was rubbish (gee I wish these were paced 5mm further apart, arranged differently, etc)

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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MarkThomas wrote:
usually I just get the idea in my head and start soldering up protoboards.  I figure the wires are my schematic.

Only semi-related but I used to work with a HW engineer who designed his PCBs directly as layouts. No schematics at all. Many of these boards had MCUs and it was kinda hard for me to figure out which pin connected to what. So I'd go to him and ask for a schematic. And he would sigh and draw one for me...

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Only semi-related but I used to work with a HW engineer who designed his PCBs directly as layouts. No schematics at all.

Some of that may have been necessity, since in some packages they were rather independent operations.  You'd have to actually take extra steps to link or compared them to see if they "matched up".  Having real time sync between schem and PCB was a big step forward.

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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 Having real time sync between schem and PCB was a big step forward.

And some of use still do that with a Highlighter and a schematic on a piece of paper...  wink

 

JC 

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clawson wrote:
Just trying to weigh up things between EasyEDA and KiCAD.

I have not used KiCAD extensively but for the little time I have used it, this is what I found.

 

KiCAD as we all know is open source which is great, but it has one downside that it keeps changing, which states community is still figuring out to find the most optimal way to do things. It is full fledged software very powerful. If you leave the software for one year and come back, you'll see that the way to do even some of the basic things have changed. It has all the bells and whistles that a community driven software should have. 

 


 

EasyEDA is not open source. It has partnership with JLCPCB. The software is designed in a way to make sure the learning curve is not steep so that they get more orders, which means there will be no sudden hard changes, it is what it is and I think it will remain this way (it is sort of aimed towards the beginners, it like saying to them see how easy it is to design a PCB, also order it for 2 dollars). JLCPCB ordering system is integrated into the software, but it not compulsory to use it, you can download your gerber files and go with any other manufacturer.

 

As soon as you make your own part for some reason, meaning footprint, symbol and stuff, it is automatically uploaded to the server. So it has large number community made parts that you can choose from. Also it has separate parts library which they themselves have made and is suppose to be very accurate. You can also see which parts are available for SMT service so you don't have to solder stuff yourself when the board arrives.

 

The good thing is the PCB manufacturer is integrated into the PCB design software. All this makes things very easy for the beginner, meaning even if you do not change any critical parameter, the default values in the software are set according to the JLCPCB manufacturer so that it won't create any problem, assuring that the board will be manufactured, even if it is designed by a beginner. EasyEDA has option to run in offline or online mode. If you choose online (which is recommended), all your projects/files will be stored in the server (which can be a good thing or bad thing).

 

There are many tutorials available for EasyEDA, but this one from a professional PCB designer is great. 

“Everyone knows that debugging is twice as hard as writing a program in the first place. So if you're as clever as you can be when you write it, how will you ever debug it?” - Brian W. Kernighan
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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Heisen wrote:
EasyEDA is not open source. It has partnership with JLCPCB.
I used EasyEDA for gerber to PCB picture If pulsonix  didn’t work at public PC.

www.tokopedia.com/madagang .Buy and Donated cheap electronics and manuscripts.

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So far the one thing that has been irritating me about EasyEDA is that each time you access the web version you have to do one of those I am not a robot tests and it can seemingly go on for days. I have no idea why they have the protection but it is very irritating. I know you can download it too (like KiCAD) but the online thing is appealing if only there wasn't the irritating robot thing.

 

Anyway I'm just "exploring" right now.

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clawson wrote:
I have no idea why they have the protection
Lack of 2FA or MFA?

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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I just use eagle.... it is fine.

The others might be better but I am able to do what I need.... which is pretty simple double sided stuff.

regards
Greg

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gregd99 wrote:
I just use eagle.
yes.I used Eagle also,but the gerber conversion didn’t worked well.(probably cause student version).I tried to built the breadboard from scratch.My 10US$ version breadboard already at junk yard.So,I bought and used Chinese version(below).

Attachment(s): 

www.tokopedia.com/madagang .Buy and Donated cheap electronics and manuscripts.

Last Edited: Thu. May 19, 2022 - 03:30 PM
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clawson wrote:

I know you can download it too (like KiCAD) but the online thing is appealing if only there wasn't the irritating robot thing.

Online web version sucks, it's also slow when compared to downloaded software. In desktop client it only asks once (the robot test thing). Also, don't confuse the web version with desktop version in terms of online file saving. The desktop client also saves files in your online account. There is no reason to use EasyEDA in browser. It offers no significant advantage over the other.

clawson wrote:

Anyway I'm just "exploring" right now.

 yes Cool.

“Everyone knows that debugging is twice as hard as writing a program in the first place. So if you're as clever as you can be when you write it, how will you ever debug it?” - Brian W. Kernighan
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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clawson wrote:
... but the online thing is appealing ...
Indeed (PCB CAD by a tablet via Upverter)

Chrome OS is the third OS | Page 2 | AVR Freaks

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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clawson wrote:
but the online thing is appealing

 

Here's where Cliff and I differ: in general, I consider any program (beyond the obvious, like a browser) which requires online connectivity a bad idea. Server storage is nice to have, flagging whether components are available for PCB placement is nice... but if I don't happen to have connectivity when I want to do something and my design isn't stored locally... um.

 

Neil (unrepentant child of the sixties)

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The great thing about webapps IMAO is that I don't have to install anything on my PC and I don't have "data synchronisation issues"

 

The no-install thing is nice especially when working on a corporate machine where I don't (usually) have admin rights (as it happens I applied for and got rights yesterday but it is for corporate safety so that not "any old thing" can get installed)

 

The web storage thing is nice because I can do changes on one machine, leave that, switch to another machine (and for some things that can even mean my phone) and pick up exactly where I left off. The alternative is the horrors of things like OneDrive, Dropbox etc or maybe using Github or some other centralized RVC system to check things in and out.

 

In the focussed little world where I play (synths etc) there is an increasing move to online apps and project storage. Things like Roland ZenBeats (a DAW but one that happens in you browser), also Bandlab Cakewalk (another DAW). I also like that there are online synths like this:

 

https://notes.ameo.design/fm.html

 

So I don't need an "app" on Windows machine, a Linux machine, my phone. I can just "play" with such a toy whatever device I happen to be viewing the interwebs with at the time.

 

To be honest when I read a bout KiCAD and EasyEDA (the two main programs suggested/supporting JLCPCB who appear to have the cheapest of PCB services - and even assembly / component sourcing options - I would say KiCAD though potentially more complex looks like the "better fit" for the way I like to do things. But EasyEDA is a nice idea in that it is cloud hosted. But what I don't get is why, if I have signed into it from one machine it cannot set a cookie (even if it's a limited lifespan) to say "keep logged in" for a day or two. Instead, every time you return you have to log in then you have to play the Captcha game which is irritating beyond belief. Presumably they are trying to prevent robots scouring their component catalog/stock levels or something ?

 

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clawson wrote:
Instead, every time you return you have to log in then you have to play the Captcha game which is irritating beyond belief.

This is indeed troubling if it's happening every time. I just logged in on the web version using the email password option, I just clicked on "I am not a Robot" and it got verified and it didn't ask me to play the Captcha game.

 

Which option you are using to sign in? Sign in with google or the standard Email/Password?

 

Try switching to another option and see, might work.

“Everyone knows that debugging is twice as hard as writing a program in the first place. So if you're as clever as you can be when you write it, how will you ever debug it?” - Brian W. Kernighan
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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Ah I wonder if the repeated Captcha was because of the VPN I'm connected to most of the time? It makes my machine look like it's in Germany. I should try it from my personal laptop perhaps.