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Recently I have been trying to get myself an arduino made by hand (as where I live the original one costs about 10x and its fun to make things on your own). I made a compatible on the breadboard and tested it using the blinky program. Now I want to make it on a PCB. The problem is getting a PCB manufactured is also not so cheap (if you are getting only one board). So I was thinking I would use a prototype board. I have used those once before and it was a clear mess. I kept shorting IC pins while connecting lines to them fried a whole PCB (actually fried it, the LEDs went BOOT, the IC went WOOSH and the wires turned to a general copper ting). All in all it was a not so good experience. I attribute this failure to my incompetence in soldering on the prototype boards. I can do a clean solder on any PCB in a kit but I think prototype boards are a different ball game.

So I ask you all of any tips you may have on using such boards.

Thanks in advance.

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I like to start with a piece of graph paper with a 100mil grid. You can set the components out and draw connections and start with a good layout plan.

To make wiring and changes easy I like to use a lot of micro-clips (Vector T42-1) and pins (Vector K24A). I run short jumpers to the clips and pins. I then solder the components to the clips and pins. I use bus wire and teflon sleeving (where necessary).

I put together some hints, a supply list and example pics. See breadboard hints

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When using perfboard use wire-wrap wire to make the connections. Ideally you could wire wrap the wire to the terminal before soldering it too. You always want a good mechanical connection for the wire prior to making the solder connection. By using wire wrap wire you will reduce the amount of excess wire you have and reduce the chances of creating shorts.

Protoboard/Breadboard
Perfboard

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Consider barebonespcb.com . You didn't mention your budget but this is as cheap as it gets in the US from my experience (e.g. two 2"x2" boards for $54 total). No stop mask though.

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