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Pleased with "VeeCAD" software for Stripboard / VeroBoard
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Old 13th April 2017, 12:07 AM   #1
Mark Johnson is offline Mark Johnson  United States
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Pleased with "VeeCAD" software for Stripboard / VeroBoard
Default Pleased with "VeeCAD" software for Stripboard / VeroBoard

I'd like to share my very good experience with a Stripboard / Veroboard layout software package called VeeCAD. It helps you place and route components on a prototyping board called Veroboard (Europe) / Stripboard (US). See image 1 below.

Among all the software packages I investigated, I chose VeeCAD because it had these features
  • Connectivity comes from a Schematic diagram (some s/w doesn't have schematics)
  • Large presupplied library of schematic symbols and PCB footprints
  • Can create and add your own symbols & footprints
  • Autorouting
  • Works with Windows 7-10
  • Supports non-Manhattan jumper wires
  • Supports arbitrarily large board dimensions
  • Low price: USD 26.00 (!)
Yesterday I ran VeeCAD for the first time, to make a little NJFET characterization jig. The circuit forces Ids=5.0mA to flow in the NJFET, and then measures the Vgs that gives 5.0mA. The VeeCAD / TinyCAD schematic is shown in image #2, and the Stipboard layout is shown in image #3 (viewed from top / Component side), and also in image #4 (viewed from bottom / PCB trace side). Finished board is in image #5. The Device Under Test plugs into the 5-pin socket "J5" at center top. This accommodates all 3 possible FET pinouts.

Everything went smoothly and I was able to construct and debug the board in a single day. In my opinion it's a screaming bargain at $26 and it lets me design and build something in one day; whereas waiting for an inexpensive PCB from a Chinese fab takes 8-10 days.

Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with the company in any way except as a satisfied, paying customer.

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Attached Images
File Type: png what_is_stripboard.png (119.1 KB, 770 views)
File Type: png schematic.png (23.2 KB, 388 views)
File Type: png front_125.png (90.6 KB, 387 views)
File Type: png rear_125.png (80.0 KB, 377 views)
File Type: jpg photo_of_Veroboard.jpg (232.8 KB, 379 views)
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Old 18th April 2017, 11:35 PM   #2
PB2 is offline PB2  United States
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Does it auto place and route or just route?

Is it easy to hand route to improve the auto routed design?
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Old 19th April 2017, 12:48 AM   #3
Mark Johnson is offline Mark Johnson  United States
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Pleased with "VeeCAD" software for Stripboard / VeroBoard
I hand-placed Cheapomodo, because I wanted to get a low inductance path between the MOSFETs and the transformer connector, and then I ran the autorouter. It wasn't difficult but I was a beginner so it took me an hour to do everything. I expect that on my 7th board it will be very easy and very quick.

It's $26 software so adjust your expectations accordingly.

Here is what the Help file has to say. They are using the word "routable" to mean "stretchable". An axial lead resistor / diode / capacitor is stretchable: you can bend its leads so it spans 4 holes, or 7 holes, or 11 holes, etc. You can stretch it. On the other hand some components have fixed position pins. DIP16 is one example. Radial lead electrolytic capacitors are another example. In the route shown, there is a 3 pin trimpot whose pins are a fixed and not stretchable. "Jacks" (connectors) too.

Click the white cross at bottom left to see the image full size.

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Last edited by Mark Johnson; 19th April 2017 at 12:53 AM.
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Old 19th April 2017, 03:12 AM   #4
gannaji is online now gannaji  India
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Dear Mark,
If you want to use Veroboard (Only pads, no strips), it is easy and preferable to use Diptrace with all its advantages with the grid set to 0.1 in. You can later change to a PCB without having to re-enter.
--gannaji.
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Old 19th April 2017, 02:34 PM   #5
Mark Johnson is offline Mark Johnson  United States
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Pleased with "VeeCAD" software for Stripboard / VeroBoard
I personally prefer KiCad (free open source software) for full PCB layout. For Stripboard / Veroboard layout, $26 seems like a better deal than $75 or $145. Besides, when I buy from VeeCAD I am supporting a lone wolf hobbyist, rather than a commercial business. I prefer to support hobbyists when possible.

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File Type: png veecad.png (21.5 KB, 125 views)
File Type: png diptrace.png (33.7 KB, 66 views)
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Old 9th July 2017, 11:17 PM   #6
wintermute is offline wintermute  Australia
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+1 for veecad!! I purchased as well.

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Old 10th July 2017, 12:28 AM   #7
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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I'm all KiCad these days and have laid out a number of boards in it lately. Here in the U.S. Oshpark https://oshpark.com/ probably makes the veroboard option less economically attractive than KiCad/Oshpark - nice PCBs in some cases can be had for as little as a few bucks each. (Quantity of 3)

And yes I use Oshpark for small quantities where I only need one to a few.

Nice to have this option though and I agree wholeheartedly with Mark's comments above.
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Old 10th July 2017, 02:46 PM   #8
Mark Johnson is offline Mark Johnson  United States
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My typical PCBs are 2" x 2" or 2" x 4" so OSH Park's pricing ($5 / sq.inch) ends up costing me $20 for 3 PCBs or $40 for 3 PCBs. More importantly it takes 7 or 8 days from the time I upload CAD data to OSH Park's website, till I receive finished boards in the mail. Whereas VeeCAD + Veroboard lets me design and build something in one day. Immediate results, what's not to like.

Of course the speed of Veroboard is irrelevant if you don't have the electronic components on hand, and must wait for a parts order to be delivered. I keep a small supply of my most commonly used devices, and find that I can usually shoehorn the circuit design of a quick-and-dirty board, into something that only requires parts-on-hand. (photo)
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Old 10th July 2017, 06:49 PM   #9
mondogenerator is offline mondogenerator  England
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Default Can't anyone just do this in DipTrace/Easy PC anyway?

Now I've not downloaded the software so I will not comment on it.

But....

If you make a template of strip board of the standard board size, you can do this anyway.

What am I missing?
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Old 10th July 2017, 07:44 PM   #10
Mark Johnson is offline Mark Johnson  United States
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You'd need to teach your software how to cut a strip when it wants to subdivide a full-board-width strip into several electrically independent nodes. I have chosen to limit myself to making cuts AT drill holes, but others with steadier hands than mine choose to cut BETWEEN drill holes, which improves layout density. But it's hard to do and the result is prone to solder bridges.

You'd need to teach your software how to make and use stretchable footprints for axial lead components like diodes and resistors. Any given resistor might have its leads bent to fit into holes that are 0.4" apart, or perhaps 0.5" apart, or 0.7" apart, or 1.2" apart, etc. You'd need to teach both the autoplacer piece of the software about stretchable footprints, and also the autorouter piece of the software. So it can experiment with different layout placements and routings using different footprint choices.

You'd need to teach your software that the jumper wires on the component side of the board are insulated, and therefore they can cross without shorting. In effect there are an infinite number of "layers" of jumper wires.

You'd need to teach your software that N wires and/or component leads can be inserted into a single drill hole, but (N+1) cannot. Some Veroboard users have decided that N=2 is acceptable, others use N=1. I am not aware of anyone putting N=3 wires into a single drill hole but maybe some crazy person in Serbia uses AWG32 wirewrap wire for hookup?

I'm sure there are other differences; these are merely the ones that popped into my head after 15 seconds of thought

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