Friday, 21 December 2012

Breadboarding Refinements

Those who have idled away their lives reading these ramblings on previous occasions will know that I'm a fan of "Solderless Breaboards". Here's a tale of two little refinements made recently to straighten the path of my breadboarding.

The next steps of my digital implementation of the "Tube Screamer" require some different digital potentiometers. One of these was available only in SOIC packaging - hardly the thing to plug into one of my beloved breadboards. Unfortunately, I am too cheap to consider exchanging my shekels for a commercial solution to this problem. Fortunately, making one is the work of only a few pleasurable moments...

Here's a copper pattern if you want to make one of your own...


I etched a few onto a scrap of FR4...


and drilled and sawed them...


Now for the hard part - soldering one of these microscopic devices onto the new carrier...


It went surprisingly well, given my poor eyesight. All that was then needed were some legs to fit into the breadboard...


Why - it is nearly as good as a chip in a DIL package!

Whilst we're on the general subject of breadboarding, I may as well tell you about my new jumper wires...

I had always admired those nice flexible jumper wires you can buy in little sets - but once again, my healthy reluctance to spend money on old rope (or little lengths of wire, in this case) has prevailed. Until recently...

I cut up a few lengths of wire...


then I prep the ends...


... and gather together the other ingredients for this simple recipe.

These are terminal "pins" made from pieces of chopped up header plug and little lengths of heatshrink...


I solder on one end, add two lengths of heatshrink, then solder on the other end.

A little judicious stretching with the ends of a small pair of needle nosed pliers helps the heatshrink over the body of the "pin"...


... before it is shrunk down using that old cigarette/cigar/pipe lighter we no longer have any use for...


In no time at all, you can make a batch...


I enjoyed doing it so much that I went out to the local "cheap shop" and got a box for the new collection...


Looks nice, doesn't it. But it doesn't have the homely, "lived-in" quality of my old box full of bits of blue solid-core wire that I will continue to use on my solder-less breadboards...


Making breadboarding easier accelerates projects and makes more ambitious ones tractable. Now its time to get on and USE the new SOIC chip and the swanky new jumpers.

 ...-.- de m0xpd

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