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HowTo: Stripboard 64 Channel 595  (John W.)

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Step 1 : Introduction

This is an alternative method of building a 64 channel Olsen 595 controller. My goal was to build a basic but functional controller without having to etch a PCB or drill a gazillion tiny holes.
Please note: Any part numbers listed here are part numbers of the parts I used. There are other suitable parts from other manufacturers. You will need to read the Data Sheets to confirm the parts you are ordering will meet your needs. You will need DIP's (dual in-line package) for the IC's. DIP is a through-hole mounting package. They may also be called PDIP or P-DIP. For TRIAC's I used a TO-220 package. The TRIAC's listed were what was available at the time I ordered my parts.
This how to is designed on the "Stripboard - Large" from Futurlec
The board dimensions are approximately 3.65"x4.35"
The cost as of 11/03/06 is $1.95 ea (US) plus shipping. I ordered 10 and the shipping was $4.00. They took about 10 days to arrive. (They appeared to have been shipped from "Down Under")

From David Scott:
"I guess Stripboard is not popular with Americans. I used a proto board from Radio Shack, It was slightly larger than the strip board in length and width, but that worked out great. I built it to the same foot print as your How To, pin for pin, and it left me with enough room for 16 more channels. So later I might add another 16 channels to it, instead of making a whole new board. As far as build time, it took me more then 4 hours, mainly because I bridged all the solder joints between the IC's instead of using jumpers. Using solder to bridge looks cleaner and is a bit better of a connection. I did use jumpers for all of the other connections, but I ran them close to the chips instead of down the middle, and again bridged them to the proper pins to cut down on jumpers."

Use this information at your own risk. I have a very limited electrical background and I know even less about electronics. All information provided here is "my understanding" of information gathered from around the Internet. Even though it worked for me your mileage may vary.


"A picture is worth a thousand words." Since I'm not into typing too much I'm substituting pictures for a few thousand words.

Please report any suggestions or errors you may find to:

Step 2 : Board Layout

To aid in component placement, track breaks, and jumper locations I used the free software from ExpressPCB.
First I created a template of the blank Stripboard. The thick green lines are the copper traces on the bottom of the board. The ExpressPCB images are as though you are looking through the board to see the copper strips.

I then started placing components and jumpers.
The thin red lines are for the wire jumpers I cut from cat5 cable. The 74HC595 may need 0.1uf decoupling capacitors. It has been suggested to use one capacitor per IC. The best option would be to use sockets with built-in capacitors. You may be able to get by without them. I have not installed them on my board. If I do install any, I will probably solder them across the +5V and Ground on the bottom of the board (pins 8 and 16). They can always be added later if you have problems.

I have purchased several flavors of Solid State Relays (SSR's) off of Ebay and made some of my own. They can be switched using anywhere from 3 to 32 volts dc and have different current requirements. I decided to use the ULN2803 transistor array to "sink" the current. All that basically means is I am now switching the ground side of the SSR's instead of the 'hot' side and can use power supplies of different voltages for them. The ULN2803 can also handle more current than the 74HC595. From my understanding of the data sheet for the MC74HC595AN from the Max DC Output Current, per Pin, is ± 35 mA. However the Max DC Supply Current, VCC and GND Pins is ± 75 mA. So if your TOTAL output current would exceed 75mA then the 2803 would be in order. Connect the ULN2803 to the negative side of the SSR's. Just make sure the grounds of the computer, controller, and power supplies are connected together..

Step 3 : Creating the track breaks.

The tracks on the bottom of the board need to be broken beneath the IC's and in other areas to create individual legs of the circuit.
There is a "special" tool sold to break the tracks. All I used was a 1/8th inch drill bit. I wrapped the shank with 1" masking tape to create a 'handle' and then turned it using my fingers. All you need to do is break the copper, not drill through the board! The only reason I broke the double row was to aid in the IC placement. You only have to make a single break to be effective. In the ExpressPCB file/image I removed all of the copper that wasn't needed to complete the circuit. Each of the white dots in the file/image is a hole in the stripboard. The red circles (pads) are where the jumpers and pins pass through the board and need to be soldered. I used a toothpick from the top of the board to identify where to break the tracks on the bottom. Pin 1 of the components are the square pads.

Keep in mind this is the bottom of the board.
This image is 'flipped' in relation to the ExpressPCB layout.

Track breaks beneath the IC's

Step 4 : Soldering

I had not soldered anything in a very long time. I decided to use 16 and 18 pin DIP sockets to prevent overheating the IC's.
These are the ones I ordered from Arrow Electronics. This is what I paid for them in February 2006.

110-90-316-00-000000 $0.072 ea

110-90-318-00-000000 $0.068 ea

IC sockets placed on the board

To keep the sockets in place I used another blank stripboard on top to sandwich them and flipped it over. A few suggestions I have for soldering ... Keep it clean... I used alcohol and an acid brush to clean the tracks and pins of fingertip oils. Use the proper tip... the tip of the one I used was about 90 degrees and contacted the side of the pin and trace. Keep the tip clean and tinned. Place the tip on one side of the pin and a thin, flux core solder on the other (if needed). I also use a paste type flux applied with a toothpick to each pin. Most of the time there was enough solder on the tip to flow around the pin and onto the track on the other side.

IC Socket pins

Next I cut the jumpers using wire from a cat5 cable and soldered them in place. Two pieces of wire through one hole is a tight fit. I color coded the wires to keep from getting confused:

  • orange = Vcc = DC Supply +5v (595 pins 10 & 16)

  • green = ground (LPT pins 18 through 25 (pick one), 595 pins 8 & 13,  2803 pin 9)

  • brown = Data in - pin 14 of the 595 (from LPT pin 2 or from pin 9 of the previous 595 in the daisy chain)

  • white w/blue stripe =  Strobe from LPT pin 14 into each 595 pin 12

  • white w/orange stripe = Clock from LPT pin 1 into each 595 pin 11

  • blue = 595 pin 15 out to 2803 pin 8

Jumpers in place

The bottom of the board with all of the sockets and jumpers soldered.

Back of board with sockets and jumpers soldered

Step 5 : Wiring it all up

Channel 1 is at the top left hand side of the board and are numbered down the left side to channel 32.
Channel 33 is at the bottom right side of the board and are number up the right side to channel 64.
You have a to make a decision.
The groups of 8 pads along each side of the board are spaced for and "should" accept Molex 8 pin connectors (.100" pitch).
There are also two areas at the top of the board for Data in and Data out that "should" accept Molex 3 pin connectors and at the bottom of the board Molex 2 pin connectors for +5V and ground. If you choose to use the connectors then it is up to you to find and obtain the correct connectors. Don't forget you will need both the male and female connectors and you may have to order the pins separately. I decided to hardwire (solder) directly to the board.
This info is from the ExpressPCB Library Components and the only info I have:

  • Connector - Molex, .1 inch KK, up,  8 pin (DigiKey WM4206)

  • Connector - Molex, .1 inch KK, up,  3 pin (DigiKey WM4201)

  • Connector - Molex, .1 inch KK, up,  2 pin (DigiKey WM4200)

To connect the board to my computer I first robbed a LTP female port that was mounted on a bracket from an old AT computer and de-soldered the ribbon cable. I then soldered the wires from the stripboard to the proper pins of that connector. I use a DB25 cable that has male connectors on both ends to make the connection between the computer and the stripboard. It was all spare junk I had in my shed so I used what I had. You could use a LPT to RG45 adapter at your computer and then use cat5 cable with a jack on one end and soldered to the stripboard at the other. Another option is to use a printer cable, cut the printer end off and solder the wires to the stripboard. Whatever you use be sure to check and recheck that the stripboard will be connected to the proper pins of the computer printer port.
Computer printer port
25 pin D-SUB female connector at the PC

Bottom of the completed board.

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