Protoboard vs. perfboard vs. breadboard
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tangent

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I was going to put this in the thread that inspired it, but it seems to deserve its own thread. I suspect it will cause some discussion.


In electronics, you find several different kinds of boards for prototyping. There's plain perfboard without copper, perfboard with various copper patterns printed on it, solid copper-clad boards, solderless plugboards, and a few less-common products. You can add in a few generic terms and genericized brand names, too, like protoboard and Vectorboard.

There are a few terms that aren't conflicted at all. I doubt anyone argues about what Vectorboard, perfboard and plugboard each refer to.

Other terms are often used interchangeably, and some groups of people will often have specific meanings for each term but these meanings aren't universal.

One problem term is "protoboard." It's short for "prototyping board", which you could argue applies to any of the types of boards you can find. Because of this, using the term without qualification is probably confusing no matter what you apply it to. I'm guilty of this -- I use it to mean copper-patterned perfboard, but I don't make that clear very often.

The term "bread board" originally referred to a chunk of wood used for cutting bread on, back before everyone bought their bread pre-sliced. Bread boards were convenient back in the days before solid state electronics matured: they were cheap, easily available, a good size for typical electronic projects, and sturdy enough to support tube sockets, transformers, barrier strips, and the huge capacitors of the day. The occasional resistor could be air-wired in line with the 14-gauge point-to-point wires you ran between components. No one uses the term that way any more, except in phrases like "solderless breadboard", which is the white stuff that's also called "plugboard". You could just as well use the term to refer to perfboard, it has just as much claim to this antiquated term.

Just to show that these two terms are generic, Radio Shack calls their regular white plugboards "solderless breadboard", which a lot of people shorten to just "breadboard". But, they call their large plugboard-cum-power-supply setups "proto-boards". I'm sure a lot of newbies first learn these terms while wandering the Radio Shack aisles.
 
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Quote:

Originally posted by tangent

Just to show that these two terms are generic, Radio Shack calls their regular white plugboards "solderless breadboard", which a lot of people shorten to just "breadboard".


We call these project-boards in Singapore as well...
 
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skippy

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yeah. i was getting confused already with the word protoboard, as i've seen it already used for both breadboard and vectorboard... and now i've been seeing it used a lot lately for prefboard. people are then writing about building amps and soldering on protoboard, and i'm picturing people plugging things into a breadboard, and soldering them. and i found the thought of people soldering things onto a breadboard to be extremely odd. i suppose protoboard is just a confusing term.
 
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Does anyone remember "veroboard"? I believe it was British-made, the original board with a matrix of holes and parallel copper tracks along its full length. I'm guessing someone has a patent on that designand that's why I can't find any in Allied Electronics, Newark, Digikey or Mouser.

Anyone know if actual "veroboard" or something identical is available still? I found that stuff really useful and I have a few ancient electronics project books with component layouts for that board design.
 
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Quote:

Originally posted by aeberbach
Does anyone remember "veroboard"? I believe it was British-made, the original board with a matrix of holes and parallel copper tracks along its full length. I'm guessing someone has a patent on that designand that's why I can't find any in Allied Electronics, Newark, Digikey or Mouser.

Anyone know if actual "veroboard" or something identical is available still? I found that stuff really useful and I have a few ancient electronics project books with component layouts for that board design.


That's quite common here in Singapore, I'm surprised you can't get it over there.

You can try searching for it under the name Matrix board and/or strip board on the net though.
 
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Thanks for the brief rundown on the different types and what they should be called... I know that I've been pretty confused at times by the inconsistent useage.
 
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Joobu

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Quote:

Does anyone remember "veroboard"? I believe it was British-made, the original board with a matrix of holes and parallel copper tracks along its full length.


From my experience, boards with pre-defined copper tracks are pretty common. I can find it at RatShack, local electronics stores and online stores. For example, Digikey carries Vector brand prototyping boards. These boards come with various plated patterns such as pad-per-hold, 3 hole solder pad, and interleaved buses.
 
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aeberbach

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Yes, but Veroboard is simple parallel tracks. Vector doesn't make that, and I'm guessing the reason is a Vero patent.

I fund actual copper Veroboard at rpelectronics.com. They even have the genuine Vero tool for cutting tracks.
 
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