The secrets to zero PCB
When it comes to projects, testing and prototyping the product before moving towards its final prospects is one of the crucial phases. For different projects, there are different software and hardware tools through which their characteristics are evaluated and analyzed.
Similarly, when it comes to prototyping an electrical circuit, the terms like zero PCB and breadboard are found quite familiar. In this article,zero PCB s will be our prime focus as they are used commonly in most projects. All of your doubts regarding this Printed Circuit Board will be addressed here.
What is a zero PCB?
A special type of PCB that is used for prototyping an electronic circuit is known as zero PCB . In the industry,zero PCB is also known by names such as Veroboard and Perfboard. These types of boards are commonly used to prototype a project’s electronic design into the system.
Zero PCBs have small holes in them, in a layout similar to that of a breadboard, where the components can be soldered. These boards offer an immediate replacement for a PCB board. They are available in a variety of different sizes and specifications, such as the type of board material, type of layout, etc.
What is the purpose of zero PCB?
During the different phases of designing a circuit for a system, one of the phases is to test your design in real-time to look up any shortcomings. For this specific purpose,zero PCB ’s come in handy because their main purpose is to prototype a circuit in such a way that it can be used in a system for testing.
But other than just testing, these boards are also used in projects, to join some circuitry and keep them from short-circuiting, as it is a bit more cost-efficient than PCBs. So, keeping it clear that zero PCB can be used in both prototyping and real applications, but mostly they are just used for prototyping.
The advantage of zero PCB
The specific purpose of a zero PCB is prototyping. During prototyping, there come many scenarios when the components are changed by another component which may have a different PCB layout of the pins or may have more pins than the previous component. So, in such cases,zero PCBs offer adjustability, which allows the users more freedom to fully check and improve their circuit.
How to design the zero PCB?
The process of designing a zero PCB requires the same tools, like designer software tools, as that for designing a simple PCB. In the designer’s tool, all you need to do is just add pads of similar sizes in columns and rows format and join them in your desired layout.
Most of the used layouts are either made by joining the column pads together or keeping every pad segregated from each other electrically. But these layouts aren’t hard and fast, you can amend them according to your preferences.
What is the material used in zero PCB ?
Materials used to make zero PCB s are almost the same as that of PCBs. The conditions for the selection of the material are that it should be non-conductive in nature, it should be easy to drill holes in and most importantly it should be able to hold the fabricated copper wires. So, keeping all this in mind, mostly bakelite, fiberglass, and epoxy are used to make these boards.
Other non-conductive substrate materials are also available which can also be used but they may not offer that much reliability. After the selection of the material, holes are drilled on the board which is then connected via copper fabrication.
What is the difference between zero PCB and general purpose PCB?
Most people confuse zero PCB s with general-purpose PCBs. To clarify these terms first we need to understand that both of these PCBs are used for prototyping a circuit. As seen earlier in the article, a zero PCB serves its purpose with a similar layout of holes as that of a breadboard.
But when it comes to general-purpose PCBs, they do not have a specific layout. These boards can have either a layout similar to a PCB, with copper tracks and pads, or they can have copper pads that are segregated from each other electrically. Sometimes, the terms zero PCB and General Purpose PCB are used crossly.
How do you solder on a zero PCB?
Before getting to the soldering part, first, let’s just review the layout of the board. In the layout zero PCB is quite similar to the breadboard. As in the breadboard, the columns are internally connected, likewise in zero PCB , the columns may also be connected, depending on your choice of layout.
So, you should place the components in such a manner that they don’t get shorted. Now coming to the soldering part which is quite easy and similar to the soldering process of a PCB. You just need to solder the wires or connections to the holes they are coming from. The soldering wire and iron can be of your choice, there’s no specification of that.
What temperature should I solder zero PCB?
The process of soldering a zero PCB is the same as that of a PCB. All you need to do is get hold of the tools with which you are comfortable. But the optimum temperature that your soldering iron should have depends on the type of soldering wire you are using.
If you are using a lead-based soldering wire then it should have a temperature between 315°C to 435°C, and if you using a lead-free soldering wire then it should have a temperature between 340°C to 370°C. The tip of your soldering iron should have such a temperature that it doesn’t damage the board but still melts the solder.
These types of PCB boards are used by students, professionals, and even by industries. So, if you are new to these practices and terminologies discussed in this article, try to get fluent with them as they are used commonly in the industry and by professionals.