Different ways to prototype - Jay Maynard

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Sunday, 5 August 2007


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1929 - Different ways to prototype

I'm beginning a project that will involve a bit of electronics prototyping. Nothing complex; a couple of ICs and a few discrete components, all to interface an Icom ID-800H radio's control panel to a microcontroller. All of the magic will happen in that controller's software.

Still, I need to prototype a little interface board. This is the first time that living in Fairmont has been a serious hindrance. Normally, I'd get a piece of protoboard, a PC board with nothing but a bunch of holes to mount components onto and then wire together, and do exactly that. Getting protoboard in Houston is simplicity itself: just take a trip to EPO and buy it off the shelf. Getting it in Fairmont is impossible.

When I asked vakkotaur if he had any stashed away, he looked at me like I'd grown a third eye. "You mean instead of etching a PC board?" "Yeah. I've never etched a PC board." "You WHAT??!!" Seems he thinks nothing of etching up a one-off board for a prototype project. I guess, if you're not within easy reach of a place to get the ready-made stuff, it makes sense...but I've never done that, and I've been building electronics for 30 years.

current mood: [mood icon] amused

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[User Picture]
From:vakkotaur
Date: - 0000
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Breadboard is for prototyping. Etching is for when prototyping is done. "Protoboard" just strikes me as being a half-assed way to do something. Effective, but crude. I suspect I only had the bit I did due it being part of a Radio Shack liquidation and it was suddenly at a price actually to be considered worth bothering with. Usually it was overpriced stuff I left on the peg.

[User Picture]
From:korgmeister
Date: - 0000
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Ah, software guys vs hardware guys :)

I'll probably be doing a fair bit of this sort of stuff before too long. I'm looking to get into embedded systems and microcontrollers myself. (I dislike computers. The things that make them flexible also make them sprawling and chaotic and there's just more stuff going on than any one person can keep track of at once.)
[User Picture]
From:keeper1st
Date: - 0000
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Yeah, sometimes we're surprised to get an order for something like a 70-cent diode, or a single $2 microcontroller, with $7 shipping. But then we see that it's coming from some little town in the middle of Kansas or something, and realize that that's actually cheaper than it would cost the guy in gas to drive to Kansas City.
[User Picture]
From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
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Yeah. I stopped in at a Radio Shack while I was in Atlanta earlier this week for a 7805 regulator, just because I couldn't get it in Fairmont.

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