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I am currently running a club for kids (9-11) for Arduino and we are making a robot and are moving on from motor/transistor drivers to half-hbridge (so we can go backwards).

The kids are learning to solder and doing well. We want them to use a h-bridge chip, rather than using a shield, this being: 1. They are so excited about using a chip 2. costs 3. education - shields tend to hide what is going on.

So all works fine on our breadboard, however the crunch comes when moving to something more permanent to place on our robot.

As a novice electronics wise (programmer here!), I am really surprised that I cannot find a mechanism that easily and cheaply allows me to solder a chip and then make the jumper connections (16 for the half hbridge or even shift registers).

Here is what we have tried: 1. Veriboard - great, but expensive (can't buy from china) and still requires you to cut to size and drill out a central reservation.

  1. ProtoBoard (pad per hole), really hard to solder the chip holder, and to connect a jumper wire to a chip leg, also requires the crazy solder jump technique or more jumper wires, the kids maybe get it right once or twice, but 16 perfect, not a chance.

So my question to you all is, what would you recommend we do with a class of 20, all wanting to connect 16 jumpers to a single chip?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

thanks

jon

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If you post a picture of a chip or a part number it will be most helpful. \$\endgroup\$ – Oleg Mazurov Feb 24 '15 at 17:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are specially designed protoboards for ICs. Is your IC through-hole? How many pins? \$\endgroup\$ – Golaž Feb 24 '15 at 18:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ If these chips are in SOIC package, mention that as a comment and I'll send you enough SOIC-to-DIP adapters for your class. I have SOIC-8 that accepts both 150 & 208 mil wide package, SOIC-16 @ 150 mils, SOIC-28 @ 300 mils available. < www.trinity-electronics.com >; click products, click misc. products, scroll down until you see the PCBs. \$\endgroup\$ – Dwayne Reid Feb 24 '15 at 19:38
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What would I do? :). I'd spin a batch of cheap 2 layer boards as one unit then cut them out on my band saw. Just a foot print for the h bridge out to some test points. Then either solder the wires to the test points or add 100 mil headers and use those plug in jumpers to make connections to motors.

If I could afford that if do laser printer transfer to bare copper and etch them myself.

I like surfboards too, it's what I use to quickly wire something up.

enter image description here

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Seconding Some Hardware Guy, and adding the specifics that I use myself:

  1. Get a free copy of EAGLE and learn to use it
  2. Also get a free copy of Gerbv to check your work outside of EAGLE
  3. Send your design to OSH Park to get pre-cut multiples of three, with all the labelling that you cared to put on there, and ready for soldering

Now, that's probably not going to get you a solution in the next couple of days, which it sounds like you might be looking for, but I think you'll be well rewarded in the long run.

Other things to note:

  • OSH Park, like all manufacturers, has limits on what they can do. So they have a free download that tells EAGLE's DRU tool (Design Rules U??) what to look for. Download that and use it before checking in Gerbv.
  • While OSH Park will accept the EAGLE board file directly, I like to export a set of gerbers (generic manufacturing instructions) so that Gerbv can offer a second opinion. Once I know that the gerbers are right, then I just send those to OSH Park. Again, they'll tell you what they need.
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Thanks for your answers and replies,

It turns out that the simplest option is: 1. get a blank protoboard for the Arduino (can't believe the Arduino spacing thingy) 2. place a small breadboard on top. 3. pop the chip on the small breadboard 4. wire from the breadboard directly in to the Arduino header pins on the protoboard ( or solder to the board should you wish to).

The kids can do this i a class of 20, not cheap though.

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