A prototyping board is any electronic board used to make electric and electronic circuits prototypes before printing them on a fabricated PCB board. Therefore, prototyping boards are built so that the assembly process is as practical as possible. 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:
As shown in the leftmost picture, the breadboard is a plastic structure with holes 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.
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 more accessible.
2. Prototyping Board—Stripboard
Stripboard – shown in the middle right picture is a type of perfboard where its holed are interconnected into stripes instead of single pad holes, so more minor soldering is required. It is easy to cut off the lines to avoid short-outs.
3. Homemade Etched PCB
Homemade Etched PCB – is a board that resembles the factory-made PCB. However, it is made at home or in the workshop by a simple process that uses randomly printed circuits 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 to have a backup 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 you do and keep notes. If convenient, it is also advisable to prototype in a breadboard before moving on to another board type that needs soldering.