Bridging lanes on a proto board using SMD 'linkers'


#1

I’ve started committing some circuits made on breadboards to prototyping boards lately, not only to improve their resilience to transport, but I’ve also made, somehow, some designs that seems are going to stick around, if only for debug purposes!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, as part of that process, I’ve started experimenting with some SMD components after realizing that the type 0805 sized components just about fit the standard 0.1" pitch gap that is common pretty much anywhere you look.

… I’m not going to go into much details about this particular project as it’s unimportant but essentially I’m making a ‘shrimp’ Atmega328, fully protected. I’m using a Protocam/Protopal type of prototyping board (http://shop.pimoroni.com/products/protopal), but anything practical for your project will work, as long as the through-hole pitch gap is 0.1"/2.54mm.

So, how do you go about making longer lanes where you need to, I hear you ask? well, sure, you can bridge gaps using any sort of link, from semi-stiff conductive wire to just dropping a blob of solder and hope for the best in the long term (no shorts, breakage, etc).

You could even, I guess, use tall pins with jumpers (preferably soldered so they don’t fall off) on the bottom of the board… there are some creative solutions out there, but none I was particularly keen on.

But you can also use zero ohms 0805 SMD resistors, as I found out. The trick here is to splice them at the time you solder the components that are to be linked, before you solder them down (although it is possible to retro-fit, if a little trickier!).

Here’s a ‘before’ shot through a lens:

and here is an ‘after’ shot:

as you can see the result is a neat link that should avoid any shortage to the nearby pins as well as sustain a fair bit of pain before the link is broken.

Obviously you should check for continuity before moving on to the next bit of your prototyping job, but in my experience once you got the hang of it it’s unnecessary and you can do quite a large area without thinking twice whether you are bridging your board adequately.

So, there you go, I was surprised how fast this method can be, with an ad hoc pair of tweezer and a little practice, and while I would not try to create ridiculously large areas, it’s certainly IMO more than practical for the typical 3-5 holes lanes and I’ll be doing this a lot in the future, if for no other reason that I have another 80 of those to use up :D

… to be truthful, I know I’m not quite the next @gadgetoid - for a start I can’t yet solder while standing on my head in the lotus pose, sipping through a lemonade and shuffling a deck of cards with my other hand - but I feel I have achieved something today!