A prototyping board is any type of electronic board which is used for making the prototypes of electric and electronic circuits prior to printing them on a fabricated PCB board. Therefore, prototyping boards are built in such a way that the process of assembly is as practical as possible and the functionality will be approximately the same as that of a factory-made PCB board circuit. There are various types of prototyping boards, the most common are listed and described below:
Breadboard – as shown in the leftmost picture, the bread board is a plastic made structure with holes which are interconnected in horizontal and vertical directions by copper wires, hidden inside the plastic construct. The breadboard can be used several times and is suitable especially for students, trainees and hobbyists. One disadvantage of a breadboard is that they are not that rigid since connections are not soldered but made by putting jumper wires into holes instead.
Pad-per-hole Perfboard – shown in the middle left picture, is a plastic grid with holes stuffed by conductive pads to make the soldering process easier.
Stripboard – shown in the middle right picture is a type of perfboard where it’s holes are interconnected into stripes instead of single pad holes so less soldering is required. It is easy to cut off the stripes for avoiding short-outs.
Homemade Etched PCB – is a board which resembles the factory-made PCB although it is made at home or in workshop by a simple process which uses random printed circuit on laminated paper, copper plate and copper etching using acids, hydrogen-peroxide and lukewarm water. This board is shown in the rightmost picture.
Since prototyping is a testing process you should make sure that you buy at least two units of each component so you can have back up if something goes wrong. When working on a perfboard it is advisable to use premade wires instead of wiring holes point to point. Recheck each connection after you finish wiring two assembly components. Document everything u do and keep notes. If it is convenient, it is also advisable to prototype in a breadboard before moving on to another board type that needs soldering.