low cost prototype PCB vendor?

Jim Brain brain at jbrain.com
Tue Apr 27 21:45:19 CDT 2010

On 4/27/2010 1:52 PM, Tony Duell wrote:
> So perhaps it's acutally easier to wire ICs from the underside :-)
It's a neat tidbit of information, I'll try it, because I do protos from 
time to time, but the numbering always seems to get me.
> Do you/ I jeust grab a suitable bit of prototpying board (cut to fit
> whatever case it's going to end up in if it's going in a case), roughtly
> position the IC sockets (leaving room for others if possible) and start
> soldering. I design as I go, based o nthe results of testing the bits
> I've buiit and got working.
I think there's a lot of value to designing first.  I guess in some 
cases, the design is truly one off, but often other hobbyists want to 
know the design.  If someone wires it up first, they rarely go back and 
document it, and then they give the excuse that they don't have time, 
it's not a priority, etc.  For someone who won't buy anything unless it 
has documentation and schematics, I would assume you see lots of value 
in the documentation aspect.  In my opinion, a lot of good one-off 
designs are denied the opportunity to be more useful to a larger 
audience because there is no documentation on them.  Putting it on paper 
first seems like a good idea for all except the most trivial of 
designs.  I don't expect people to diagram a linear PSU, but more 
complicated designs seem like they would benefit from a "desk check" 
prior to warming up the iron.

Some might argue that it's like software development.  If you just need 
a utility for personal use, then just code it up and go.  But, I see it 
differently, at least until circuits can document themselves like SW can.
> Oh come on. You hve to buy the ICs, the other cvmponets, sockets, etc no
> matter what method you use. Buying the SMD adapters is not a problem. And
> having all major devices socketed is very useful on a prototype (you can
> easilty re-use the chips, you can remove them and force signals high or
> low for testing and so on).
I just picked up 2 48 pin TQFP adapters, and they were 3 times the cost 
of the parts I will solder to them.  FOr an upcoming design with 6 SMT 
ICs, the cost of those nifty boards will exceed the cost of the PCB 


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