Point to point wiring tricks.

I attend to do Point to Point wiring on projects since I never have any vero / strip board around. It also gives a retro feel to it.

Quick history lesson. Back when everything was vacuum tubes there was a metal chassis that held the transformers, vacuum tubes and some beefy capacitors. On the bottom side all of the tie points, wire, resistors and bypass caps would be at times a huge mess connecting everything together. The chassis would also be used as ground. Some people still mess with vacuum tubes for radios and amplifiers. When ICs started to hit the market people would do the “dead bug” method. The IC would sit upside down and wires would connect to the pins. When the IC is upside down it looks kinda like a dead bug.

Now after you have gotten a semi idea on how point to point works here are a few tips for the modern age. Sadly this only works with thru-hole parts or a breakout board for SMD devices.

You need a chassis of some sort. You might want to use a metal one or hit up your local music store and buy some copper foil tape. Or just used a braided bare wire to use as a ground plain so you can use plastic or even wood as a chassis/project box. When designing a point to point you need to layout the big parts first and then add the smaller parts. However you want to use little as possible of wire and leads to reach every tie point. ICs can be mounted in a couple of ways. You could use the dead bug method or what I like to do is use a socket such as a wire wrap style and use some CA (Super) glue to hold the socket onto the chassis sideways so if the chip dies it can be changed out. With the longer leads on the socket you can bend them out of the way. You could even use a plastic spacer block to avoid contact of the chassis if you’re using a metal chassis. If you’re having to use the whole lead of say a resistor and want to avoid a short from touching other contacts you can use discarded wire sheeting. Or you can use a acrylic paint. With the paint you can color code the parts but I wouldn’t put paint on the value markings of the part be only the metal leads.

Here is another idea for a retro/modern look. As said before the vacuum tubes were on the top of the chassis. You could do the same with ICs and mount them on a peice of vero/strip board or anything really as long as it is not metallic and mount it on the top of the chassis and have wires connect from the bottom. Kinda like a breakout board solution and would work great for SMD ICs. Now if you really want a retro look you could use a clear PVC pipe and cap, put a breakout board device in it and use magnet wire to connect to the board an bring it out of the PVC making it look like a tube like device. Maybe even add a dim LED to the base to give it that tube like glow. However this adds a lot to the price factor but adds a ton of coolness and glamor to your build.

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