Introduction: Track Soldering

About: Passionate electronics engineer, researcher and a hobbyist. Interested in RF and Microwave circuits, antennas and Embedded systems.

Making a PCB (Printed Circuit Board) is not very difficult. Its fun if you're making it for the first time. But after making couple of PCBs one may get bored.

Like in my case, for the first time I was very excited. Then eventually PCB making was so boring. Everytime I had to design the schematic using CAD tools. Then check for errors, netlist, PCB image. Etch the PCB,drill it....
All these things take lot of time.

When you have the schematic ready on paper or on your PC. Why to again redraw it in CAD and then print PCBs?
Why not go for an alternative method which is as effective as a PCB?

Most of the times CAD tools don't have the parts required. Like if I'm using some industrial purpose IC, it is not available in the library of the tool. Then you have to create the part.

So all these things make a small project big, in terms of time.

Step 1: What Is Track/trace Soldering

Track soldering is a method of soldering through hole components on a normal perfboard. The soldering tracks look similar to the PCB traces. But here the tracks are designed by you and not the CAD tool.

Normal perfboard can be used to get high quality soldering like PCBs using this method.

First place all the parts on the perfboard and solder them in place. Then one by one start connecting them together according to the circuit diagram(schematic).

I will explain how to do track soldering in detail with pictures in the next steps.

Step 2: Parts Needed

1. Soldering Iron

2. Perfboard

3. A few parts like resistors,capacitors,transistors,IC,etc

4. Soldering wire

5. DMM(Digital Multimeter)

Step 3: Lets Start Soldering

Place the parts on the perfboard according to your circuit diagram(schematic).

Once parts are placed, solder the leads to the perfboard so that they remain in position.

You can also place one component and solder and then place another component and solder, or place all the components first and then solder. Whichever is convenient for you.

Now start with any one component. I would prefer to start with an IC or a transistor first(If they exist in your schematic). Start by making tracks of solder from the pin of the IC or transistor to the part which needs to be connected.

How to do that?

Touch the tip of soldering iron to the pin of the component. Apply solder, move towards next hole on the perfboard again apply solder go on tracing the holes towards the components from the IC or transistor and connect each hole.

This will give you a clean solder track.

Finally check with a DMM if connection is done properly or not. Use the continuity option in your DMM.

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