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I've recently started making use of Arduino and Teensy microcontrollers to build various one-off pieces of equipment for my work in a neuroscience lab. Often I find that, after a device has worked well for one project, it needs to be tweaked for the next project in small ways I hadn't anticipated.

My options then come down to: (a) unsolder everything and re-build, (b) buy the same components again and re-build, or (c) build on a solderless protoboard like this Twin Industries product to start with, and just add/reroute the few connections when necessary.

Options (a) and (b) can get too time-consuming (TBH I'm not that great with a soldering iron). But with (c) I always seem to end up with something too fragile to be relied on (knock it once, and I have to hunt down the loose connection).

Does anyone know of a more robust solderless prototyping system? I don't mind if my prototypes end up the size of a shoe boxes rather than cigarette packets, containing the electronic equivalent of Duplo rather than Lego. I'm just looking for something both flexible and robust. I've contemplated making a board that breaks out every Arduino pin to touchproof biomedical connectors but I'd need a way of interfacing small components too. Are there better solutions out there already?

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I might think that until someone else finds you another solution my answer will be look at what is called VERO Board and Component Sockets. VERO is a manufacturer, but it is now also made in many varieties by others and often it can be found by that term.

It's basically PCB material with 2.54mm (0.1") spaced holes to fit many of the through hole type components without having to bend anything. Then every component has a socket, from the olden days. DIP sockets, TO92 sockets, etc. When bought in bags the sockets or socket strips (20 to 40 pin long strips that you can cut to size to hold chips) are affordable enough at larger distributors or on eBay.

That said, I have to say I have not used reversible engineering in the last 15 years due to a personal lab holding the tools to make double sided surfacemount boards with 8mil (8/1000th inch) size traces and a stock of parts to match. So I am both spoiled and out of the loop. But 20 years ago I started with those sockets and VERO board myself.

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