Just A Thought Concerning The Circuit Overlay Boards (Product ID: 32999)

idbruceidbruce Posts: 5,936
edited 2020-03-01 - 14:02:43 in General Discussion
In another thread, VonSzarvas convinced me to purchase several Circuit Overlay Boards. At first I was a bit reluctant, but the idea eventually grew on me.

Prior to my purchase, it was clearly obvious that these boards did not have much prototyping area, but I did not think that I need a lot of prototyping. After receiving these boards, I have put a little thought into them. Without going into a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, I now believe it may be beneficial to create another variation of these Circuit Overlay Boards, to make them "stackable". By making them stackable, it would further reduce the available prototyping area on a single board, but by stacking them, a person could have unlimited prototyping space and still be able to access every single pin.

That being said, now picture this.... The current Circuit Overlay Boards have three sides for headers which can be pressed into accommodating breadboards. These header pins connect to outlying holes for connection to power, ground, I/O, D/A, and A/D. My recommended variation would include a third set of interconnected holes to the inside of the header pins, which would make these boards "stackable", by alternating headers and header sockets for each board stacked, meanwhile still allowing access to all of the connections, through the addition of the third interconnected holes.

EDIT: Think of the "stackables" as a multilayer PCB :)

Comments

  • Another way that avoids the cost of extra headers... grow the overlay board to increase the prototype area.
  • @VonSzarvas
    Another way that avoids the cost of extra headers... grow the overlay board to increase the prototype area.

    Yea, but then you must consider the receiving boards layout. As it pertains to the Activity Board and BOE, you can't grow by too much, otherwise you will be covering important features on these boards.

    Urban developers and PCB designers determined a long time ago that it is better to build upward :)
  • idbruce wrote: »
    Urban developers and PCB designers determined a long time ago that it is better to build upward :)

    I like that :)

    About the overlay... I was thinking growing out to the right, so as the overlay doesn't cover the pab-wx circuits.

    Don't know how long the typical user might need, but maybe the proto area could double or triple in length, so that the final total width of the PAB-WX and overlay are maybe 2x what the PAB-WX pcb is. (Just thinking that sort of size as aesthetically it may look quite balanced).
    If the extended overlay had corner mount holes, then standoffs could be installed, like little legs.
    That's kinda how I was imaging things. I guess the overlay could grow north and south too, once it's clear of the PAB-WX. Probably a niche thing I know. I'm just dreaming of possibilities!


  • idbruceidbruce Posts: 5,936
    edited 2020-03-01 - 18:23:09
    Okay.... Supposing that we are using a Propeller Activity Board WX, with a WiFi board plugged into the availble socket.... We have 16 I/O pins available from the overlay or the breadboard itself, but we can add an additional two pins (16 and 17) from the last servo headers to the breadboard or overlay, which gives us a total of 18 I/O pins available. If we go as I recommennd, 16 of these will be readily available on each and every overlay, ready to grab and use where needed to prototype, with the remaining 2 going where they are needed, if needed at all.

    Stackable overlays could provide reusable modularity for a variety of projects, while just growing in height, providing a designated pin usage is maintained for specific modules being used. For example, let's say that on one overlay, we mount an RTC, on another we mount a stepper driver, I/O expander, so on and so forth. Whereas with a single board, you are pretty much limited to one time prototyping, unless of course you are into desolder connections, which I am not.

    I am thinking a person could just keeping adding layers of different modules, until they run out of I/O pins, and the modules could easily be removed for another project, by removing them and replugging them.
  • The scheme makes sense. And with long header legs on the bottom overlay (or some sort of riser header arrangement), you could use the breadboard area too.
  • The scheme makes sense. And with long header legs on the bottom overlay (or some sort of riser header arrangement), you could use the breadboard area too.

    Yea, that is also possible, but unless you leave out header pins, you won't have anywhere to connect :)
  • Oh you could use the servo pins on the breadboard
  • Oops.. I was picturing a stacking scheme with some very-long-legged header sockets. The type that enable you to plug into a socket below, and also provide a new socket on top. I think they are called Pass Through headers.

    Something like this part from Adam Tech : RS1-16-G-.561-A11596

  • That would also work :)
  • Wow! Nice to someone else was thinking of the same thing. Thank you Bruce. Von you've done it again.
  • You could make these boards stackable as they are. Just use the inner and outer edge holes and use male female headers.
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