What do you want to build in DIY PCB class?

Okay, so I’m going to do the basic circuits & PCB photo-etching class. I just need to know what folks want to build:

My first thought is a breadboard power supply & interface board. With 5V, 3.3V and 12V regulated power, also pins to connect up an FTDI, programmer (like ATMEL or PIC programmer). Could be part of “soup up your breadboard series”.

CMOS synthesizer & signal generator. This one is less utilitarian, but super fun. Make 4 to 6 oscillator synth with control from light, pressure, knobs, etc. Can do frequency modulation, ring modulation, etc. I’ve done this course a lot in electronics for non-majors courses.

Let me know.


bridge rectifier and psu front end. parts will be big enough you can etch cleanly. More talk on this later.

You can never have too many power supplies.

I’m a total newb at breadboard… So, a basic load out and how to would be a step up for me. What I am interested in long term, is perhaps the control components for home brew cnc, or some kind of helpful test bed for where the majic smoke went.

Okay, sound like the plan will be:

“Breadboard 101: make a really useful breadboard set up for almost any simple project” &

“PCB making 101 - make a PCB for a breadboard power supply / regulator. Learn photo-etching to make DIY durable, reliable circuit boards.”

We’ll trick out our breadboards with most useful components and setups for hacking. Buttons, switches, LED’s, couple useful IC’s. An example:


We’ll breadboard a power regulator and some simple circuits to get a feel for breadboarding & examine how power circuitry works. We’ll test everything and use common test gear in the process: multimeter, oscilliscope, etc

We’ll take a break, and then come back for a 2nd class where we etch the PCB for the power regulator and solder it up. It sits on your breadboard and provides safe, regulated, won’t blow up your chips & electronics 5V and 3.3V. It will plug into a wall-wart plug or battery to get power (this is safer than making a mains powered power supply if you’re a beginner).

If you’re getting into microcontrollers, widgets from sparkfun / adafruit, etc. You absolutely need a breadboard power regulator with safe 5V and 3.3V. Parts these days are really sensitive to over-voltage and having this will keep you from frying your expensive project parts.

How about we keep it simple with just 5V and 3.3V to start. I do these with +12 / -12V, floating grounds, etc, but that’s for more obscure stuff and analog design. I think most people are going to be in the digital / 5V analog world.

I’ll make sure everyone gets trimmers, LEDs, a few CMOS and/or 555 chips, useful resistors, etc.

Can people supply their own breadboards, or use one of ours at the hive if you don’t have one yet??

I generally use 830 point (longer style) breadboards. My main breadboard is a double (like above). I prefer having a solid backing or metal plate behind it (you can add this part to the basic cheap breadboards).


How about 2 classes that fit together over 2 Saturdays. Attend one or both (both if you want the whole breadboard to PCB experience).

Class 1 - Breadboarding 101 – Linear power regulator circuit, and useful breadboard tips & setups. BYO breadboard. Components will be provided.

Class 2 - PCB Photo-etch fabrication. – We’ll make a linear power regulator which fits any breadboard and is ideal and safe for most electronics hacking.Stop blowing up capacitors and turning microcontrollers into magic smoke. Use your own, go everywhere, power regulated breadboard! The design process will be demonstrated, and everyone will fabricate their own photo-etched board from the PCB artwork generated by Lorin. We’ll use the dry-film (dupont riston negative process) method.

Sound good? So, maybe two sequential Saturday or Sundays?

I’d like to get going soon, so that I’m motivated to get my *ss in gear and clean up the elecrtonics area for the class. I could do the 1st class this next weekend depending on interest.

Tiffany? Thoughts?




Really liking these ideas Lorin, I’ll probably be signing up.

9v stuff for guitarists?

We can put some extra traces on the boards to add an optional extra voltage regulator or two. You’d just need a 7809 for guitar. And yes, I have a lot of musical instrument and effects circuits…

For those who are a little more intermediate I have some great tube circuits I designed (used to have a business doing audio circuitry design). I have a lot of tube power supply PCB’s and parts left over, as well as the vacuum tubes.