About my vectorboard layouts...
The layouts are drawn at exactly 2:1 scale. 2" on the drawing = 1" in real life.
In my vectorboard layouts, the only way to tell the difference between a cap and a resistor is by the text. All caps have a value followed by uF or pF. Caps may also have a "+" before or after the text if they are big polar caps. The + will be on the same side of the text that the "+" lead of the cap should be on when you wire it up…
You may see some places where a jumper wire connects directly to a component or chip pin in the diagram (the jumper from Vz to the loudness input, for example). This is just me being lazy so that I don't need to add another little "under the board" line to show the proper location for the jumper wire to go into the board. In every case where you see something like this, I guarantee there will be at least one empty hole next to the connection point where you can insert the jumper wire and attach it underneath – and that it is what you should do. This is much cleaner that actually soldering it to the component on top.
So, for example, when you see this;
…you will want to build it like this;
…depending on where there's a free space on the board.
*** Important Disclaimer ***
If you simply follow my layouts, you may have a very hard time squeezing in all the components - depending on what type of components you have. I try to buy very good, very small components. The resistors I use (Mouser part # 271-xxxx, 1/4 watt, 1%) can easily fit into a 0.4" lead spacing. I also use very small radial lead polystyrene caps (Mouser part #23PWxxx) where ever possible, or small box capacitors (Mouser Part #581-xxxxxxx, "BF Series Multi-layer Metallized Polyester Film") where a fancy cap isn't needed but a small cap is. Note that these box caps have one of the smallest packages available in a metalized polyester cap, but those aren't the best caps for music circuits – polypropylene’s are better, but much bigger – especially for the 1uF models. I do use the big polypro's when I can't get a polystyrene in the right value and the application is critical (VCO, S&H, filter caps, etc). All my big caps (10uF and above) are 16 or 25v electrolytic - again I buy small ones (Mouser part#140-LLRL-xxxxx "Low Leakage Current Electorytics") and they have a .1" lead spacing. Check your cap layout with your other components in the area before soldering and make sure you'll have enough room to solder in any jumper wires and things that need to go in around them. You may need to rearrange things to get it all to fit. I have actually stretched out some of my layouts since building them to give other folks more room. Feel free to squeeze stuff together more if you like...
How I build my vectorboards...
When building vectorboard projects, I usually start by placing the main row (or rows) of IC’s on the board. I insert the chips (actually I usually use sockets) and bend the pins for the power connections inward to the where the power supply lines will go. When bending socket pins, you need to be gentle so that they don't break – the best approach is to try to roll them over to about a 75 degree angle, rather than a sharp 90 deg. bend. If this isn't enough to hold the sockets to the board, I’ll bend a couple of the other pins outward.
The next step is to cut off a few pieces of 20 or 18 gauge solid core wire that will be used for the power supply lines. They will run from top to bottom on the board and so should be about 4". I strip them clean and then make them as straight as possible with some needle-nose pliers. I put down a PS line on top of the row of v-board pads so that it is just touching the bent socket pins, but still on top it's row of pads, and then solder the wire to the pins. Once you get two pins soldered, the rest are easy because the wire will be locked in place.
Next you insert the components, working from the chip sockets outward. My style for bending and clipping the leads of the inserted components (I’m probably going into WAY too much detail here) is as follows;
Using a tool to do the bending rather than your fingers gets a nice square bend on the lead. You can also pull a little with the clippers as you bend to get the lead tight and straight. Lastly, the tip of your clippers is good for getting the clipped off piece of the lead right into a tight spot on the board. This is just my style – it’s not as skill-intensive as I may have made it sound and I guarantee that when you do it three or four times you’ll see just what I’m talking about.
Here are some pictures of a vectorboard in progress for the electronotes tri-square VCO. Note that each white line on the board is 1/2", so the overall board neccessary size for this circuit - a temperture-compensated v/oct VCO with PWM, saw, square, triangle, and sine wave outputs - is only about 3.5 x 4" (about 90 x 100mm) - I cut the board down only as a final step after testing. You can see that I was able to fit in buffer caps for almost all the ICs, and the jumper wire count is relatively low for a circuit of this complexity. The thick blobs of solder on the bottom are all ground lines (that I intentionally fatten up) and you can clearly see the two power supply busses that run under the IC's. The last picture is the final VCO mounted on it's faceplate just before I trimmed off the blank vectorboard at the back.
Copyright 1998, C.G. List