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I'm working on an electrical project with a microcontroller and some basic circuits. The circuits will be contained in a stained glass box and some of the circuit will be on the stained glass itself.

The problem is the solder (there's solder between glass pieces on a stained glass panel, usually 60/40 solder). There's copper tape beneath the solder.

How can I have my circuits in close proximity/on the stained glass panel without sending charge through the solder? Is there an alternative, or a way I can "stop" the charge from proliferating through the whole panel?

I've read that some people use epoxy but I'm worried that'll make my stained glass look like trash.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are mechanical standoffs an option? Or epoxy on the circuit, applied without changing the way you assemble the stained glass? \$\endgroup\$
    – nanofarad
    Nov 1, 2021 at 15:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Put something between the boards and the stained glass. \$\endgroup\$
    – Hearth
    Nov 1, 2021 at 15:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Hearth Was hoping that light would still pass through the glass. I was also thinking about using some capacitive touch sensing so adding another see-through glass layer underneath would probably reduce the sensor's sensitivity. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan
    Nov 1, 2021 at 15:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ You could even use hot glue to attach your circuit boards to the stained glass (inside) as long as you ensure no protruding circuit leads touch the solder. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 1, 2021 at 16:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user2975649 Even clear sticky tape can block an electric connection. As long as you don't poke a hole in it with a component lead. \$\endgroup\$
    – user253751
    Nov 1, 2021 at 16:27

3 Answers 3

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I suggest clear plastic sticky tape (aka Sellotape). It's thin, see-through, non-conductive and sticks to both glass and circuit boards. Be aware that you can accidentally scratch holes in it with component leads.

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As with any capacitor model the stray capacitance current to the onboard ground plane , insulating layer beneath and leaded glass depends on the air and gap between the conductors and frequency. Managing this ratio helps to suppress the coupling to the stray leaded "array" . Glass is a low Dk . An accurate model of stray capacitance may help you minimize the interference.

First define the purpose, the solution and assumptions we need to understand more details of the problem. Layout , photos , datasheet links.

If you want to make the lead frame a touch sensor, it needs a high impedance transformer to act as CM choke for its conductors in order to improve CMRR.

After you detail more specs on performance and interference, more details will be added.

Insulator

For insulators, I would suggest Polycarbonate film which is very optically clear, crack/crush-resistant and, very strong unlike PVC( soft drink bottles and packaging materials ) but either may do. PC can be easily heat shaped. Clear Mylar film is what I have used in production from 48" rolls.

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(I used to make Tiffany-style pieces, so I'm familiar with this kind of craft.)

So you have two problems to solve: how to mount the board in an aesthetically pleasing way, and how to prevent it shorting out to the joints.

If you want the board to be as close to the panel as possible, remove some of the solder from the joints to make them somewhat level. Try for as low as 1/16" if you can.

Mounting could be with copper standoffs swaged onto the joints. These could be fashioned from copper wire, formed into loops. Then, use clear rubber standoffs (e.g., 3M 'Bumpon') to ensure correct spacing to the panel so that it doesn't short out to the joints. This would be a bit more discreet than epoxy or tape, yet be mechanically rugged.

If you have control over the board layout, you could also use keep-outs on the side facing the panel and avoid any shorting issues that way.

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