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I'm trying to buy some prototyping boards for basic, learner electronic hobby project building, but the ones I'm seeing are merely grids with a separate and distinct via for each independent hole.

I saw a picture of one prototyping board that was without copper through-hole vias, but instead had rectangular silver connectors that spanned multiple holes (most span 3 holes, but there are also 2-hole spans, 1-hole spans, and many hole spans on the same board).

It's almost like a quasi-breadboard PCB in its function.

Does anyone have any idea what I'm talking about? I'm trying to find the picture of the hobbyist project I saw that used it.

I don't understand what would be the usefulness in using a board other than this one? With copper via proto board -- do you have to solder and link multiple wires into one hole? That type of board seems like it'd be extremely difficult to solder junctions of more than one wire.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Stripboard/veroboard/vectorboard should have columns of copper, you can cut them to have little adjoined "islands" of copper to join three holes. \$\endgroup\$ – Transient Mar 2 '12 at 2:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Coldblackice - Your edit is more like an answer. Please post it as such! \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Mar 2 '12 at 2:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, ebay is one of the last places you should look for this kind of thing. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Mar 2 '12 at 2:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ What you're calling vias are actually named pads. A via is a metalization inside the hole, which you normally won't find on proto boards, especially not single sided ones. \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Mar 2 '12 at 7:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KevinVermeer Do you mind explaining why (ebay should be a last place)? \$\endgroup\$ – Coldblackice Mar 2 '12 at 8:18
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Radio Shack calls them various names such as "Universal Component PC Board" and "Multipurpose PC Board"

On Digikey you can search for Prototyping Products - Prototype Boards - Perforated, and under the "circuit pattern" selection you will find items listed with Common Bus (runs the whole length of the board), 3 Hole Pad (sounds like what you are looking for), 2-Hole Pad, etc.

Hope this helps.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Adafruit also has some with the same connection pattern as found in solderless breadboard, for easy transfer from breadboard to PCB: adafruit.com/products/571 \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Kohne Mar 2 '12 at 4:10
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At Wicked Device we (read I have a bias) make/sell some products called Proto Shields that are a superset of what you are looking for and you can buy the bare PCBs as well. The pictures on the site need some updating, but for example, the latest Ardweeny Protoshield looks like this.

enter image description here

As you can see, they are intended to adapt an Ardweeny to a standard Arduino shield form factor, but they also give some convenient prototyping space with exactly the type of traces you've described (and more). Depends whether it suits your needs or not.

As to the usefulness of individual plated through holes without traces between them for prototyping, I have to agree with you for the most part. The only thing I can think of is maybe for mounting purposes where you expressly don't want an electrical contact. Or if you really like point to point wiring.

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My company also makes prototyping boards that include a breadboard area like you describe. The breadboard area is arranged as vertical strips of 5 holes with some horizontal power and ground busses. We also added a few common SMD footprints to make it easy to add opamps and the like. These boards are targeted at prototyping PIC microcontroller circuits, so may not be as general as you want. Here is a picture of the ReadyBoard-02:

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I believe you are looking for this.

Velleman ECS2 2 Hole Island Euro Card

It has the two hole pads you arelooking for.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Do we have to Google this to know what it is? Provide a link! \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh May 18 '12 at 12:24

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