August 5th, 2007


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.
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