Improved Perfboard For Surface Mount Parts

Look through the last two decades of electronics project built on perfboard, and you’ll notice a trend. Perfboard is designed for through-hole parts, but ever more frequently, the parts we need are only available as surface mount devices. What does this mean for the future of all those protoboard, veroboard, and tagboard designs? It’s not good, but fortunately, there may be an answer. It’s perfboard designed for mounting SOICs, SOTs, and other surface mount devices.

Perfboard is an extremely simple concept. Most through-hole electronic components are built around 0.1″ or 2.54 mm spacing between pins. Yes, there are exceptions, but you can always bend the middle pin of a transistor and put it in a hole. SMT devices are different. You can’t really bend the pins, and the pin pitch is too small for the 0.1″ holes in traditional perfboard.

[electronic_eel] is changing that game up with his own design for perfboard. This perfboard has the traditional 0.1″ holes, but there are SMD pads sprinkled about between these holes. The result is being able to solder SOIC, SOT23-6, SOT23 and SOT363 devices directly to a board alongside 0603 and 0805 devices. Connect everything with a few beads of solder and you have a functional circuit made out of surface mount devices on something that’s still compatible with the old protoboard designs.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a new type of protoboard make it into production. A few years ago, Perf+, a bizarre ‘bus-based’ protoboard solution came onto the scene, although that wasn’t really designed for SMD parts. While [electronic_eel] doesn’t have any plans to sell his protoboard, the files are available, and you can easily design your own small piece of perfboard.

26 thoughts on “Improved Perfboard For Surface Mount Parts

    1. Hmm, seems like these designs are missing the 2.54mm grid for THT. So you can’t easily whack in a breakout board for some more complex circuitry, like a blue pill board or similar.

  1. I like the idea, but why keep the holes? I see some used for header pins, but those come in SMT versions, too. If you skipped the holes, you could keep the back side a solid ground plane, which could benefit a lot of designs.

    I guess it could no longer be called perfboard, though.

  2. This product looks pretty useful.
    In a pinch you can carefully divide the regular proto board 0.1″ pads in half with an Xacto knife to solder on an SOIC or other 0.05″ pitch package. If you are careful, it works extremely well for a quick hack.

  3. Look interesting but last time I got excited about a new fancy pant perf board, I ended up wasting my money. I had gotten a few flower boards pcb from Elecfreaks a few years back and I am not sure if I got a bad batch or something but I was never able to properly solder on them and ended up shelving them. At least those one appear to be cheaper

    1. I’m not sure different sections on a protoboard will help. Because then you’ll need to run long wires or traces over your board to reach the other section if you want to combine, say, a THT breakout board with SOIC, or SOIC and TSSOP and so on. EMC susceptibility, ground bounce and so on are already often a problem with protoboard, no need to increase these problems with lot’s of long wires.

      I think the small 1.27mm pitch smd adapters with castellated holes for TSSOP I added to my protoboards are a better way to solve this: You can solder them on where you need them to keep traces short. They are only half the size of traditional 2.54mm adapters, so they don’t add much wasted space.

      I added just the TSSOP14, TSSOP16 and SC-70 because that is what I need most of the time myself. But the same concept would of course also work for other TSSOP pincounts, MSOP, VSSOP and so on. If someone wants to make these adapters, I’m happy to take patches.

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