# Best solution for compact wiring on stripboard

When transferring a circuit from breadboard to stripboard, I often struggle to manage the wiring; often it starts looking like an overgrown garden; the components inevitably start disappearing under the wires. Not to mention the wires disappearing under each other, making mistakes near impossible to trace. But I want to keep the board as small as possible.

What kind of wires should be (or could be, or are most often) used for low voltage, low current circuits?

Up til now I've used the same wire as with the breadboard, (single strand) as I find it easy to work with since it retains its shape and I can route it round components. However, it's quite thick so doesn't lend itself to compact boards. See pic below:

I searched on Google and decided that this looked like the neatest (or at least most manageable) stripboard circuit out of the results:

What kind of wiring is that? I can't find any cable like it for sale. (At least not single core, but I don't fancy spending hours taking the outer sheath off ethernet cables or the like.) (I assume they're multi-strand.) The closest I can find is 30awg hook-up wire, but the outer diameter of that doesn't seem much less than what I use for breadboards.

• That is wire-wrap wire. Designing a PCB and getting one made would be much easier and save a lot of time. – Leon Heller Jun 19 '15 at 9:21
• Great, thanks, I'll get some. But a PCB certainly wouldn't save money! For DIL chips my circuit would come in at around $100 at least, for 20 square inches. Ensuring I haven't made a mistake would take so much time (and cost of a mistake) that I might as well use a strip board. I'm sure there is software that helps eliminate errors, but I can't see it being cheap or easy to use. – CL22 Jun 19 '15 at 10:44 • @Jodes The wire you mention you use is actually solid core. The wire in the picture you would like is single strand. – MrPhooky Jun 19 '15 at 11:39 • There are options like seeedstudio that are cheaper for pcbs, but slower. Five 10cm x 15cm boards are$42. Cheap if your time has any value at all. People I know who prototype circuits for a living haven't wire wrapped in about a decade. – Scott Seidman Mar 21 '16 at 11:17
• 30 AWG solid wire-wrap wire, easy to strip and use with a simple Tex-tool WSU-30M. btw, that is my board! – MrChips Jun 20 '20 at 1:55

Wire wrapping with a proper tool is actually a great technique for building one-off circuits with lots of DIL ICs on. It's easier if you use sockets: http://www.jameco.com/1/3/dip-wire-wrap-ic-sockets although it adds to the cost. It can be less time-consuming than soldering thousands of joints by hand, too.

http://makezine.com/2009/07/27/lost-knowledge-wire-wrapping/

• I don't think wire-wrapping is such a great technique given more modern prototyping technique. There are some very real reasons why people who did this routinely 20 years ago would never dream of using it again today. – Scott Seidman Mar 21 '16 at 13:35

Wiring by Markus Gritsch

Fine (34 AWG) solderable enamel wire (aka solderable magnet wire), isn't enamelled but is coated with polyurethane, etc. No stripping required, soldering turns the polyurethane into a flux and exposes the copper.

• What kind of god built the PCB in this picture? I'd like to see more of those and generally images of nice hand-soldered circuits on proto boards. I'm getting better at it but my boards are still pretty messy. – Andrew Queisser Nov 1 '17 at 20:00
• Markus Gritsch, some further info at his site. – Rob Kam Nov 2 '17 at 8:54
• Thanks for the link, tons of great stuff on that site - I was trying to find out more about the owner "ChaN", I think that might not be Markus Gritsch. – Andrew Queisser Nov 3 '17 at 14:32
• My mistake, that's two different people. – Rob Kam Nov 3 '17 at 18:52
• That is amazing. You are very, very skilled. – mkeith Jun 20 '20 at 2:03

Back in the day people used some sort of 30awg wire for this job. But instead of a proper insulation they had something like a thin layer of colour. The problem was that after some time using the pcb this insulation would break and you end up with errors again. This is maybe why no one uses it these days.

The closest you can get might be transformer or coil wiring. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnet_wire

Or you try something like this http://www.adafruit.com/product/1446 They even speak about the old day methods there.

Or you wait until the next 5 people suggest to make a pcb. ;)

• Not many people would use magnet wire for this type of stuff. They used wire wrap wire, and the insulation wasn't a problem. – Scott Seidman Mar 21 '16 at 13:32

I think PCB making is not a expensive thing. for your circuit it will not increase a meaningful cost. you can design a PCB using software FREE. and you also Eatch your PCB using IRON and FeCl3