Stripboard magic - can it do the job?
Stripboard magic is fairly old and hasn’t been supported for years. I have only been able to get it to run on Windows XP. I tried compatibility mode on windows 8 and 7 but it didn’t want to know.
Stripboard magic deferrers from the other packages here in the fact that you can’t just use it as a drawing type package and place parts on the stripboard. First you have to input the circuit that you are designing the layout for. You can define the size of the stripboard in rows and holes and also the working area for the schematic.
This isn’t the most straight forward job as IC’s retain their physical leg numbering as you can see from the picture below rather than the block layout that is more traditional of circuit diagrams. That means in practice that the circuit diagram you have won’t look like the one you draw in Stripboard magic.
The circuit diagram input before the layout stage.
Another problem that I encountered was that if your circuit plan called for pins 4 and 8 of an IC to be joined I couldn’t find a way of doing it with the connection going around the IC. It just went across it, this was also the case with linking pins 2 and 6. This also obscures the other IC pins when you place a component. There doesn’t seem to be a way to route the connection to make the circuit diagram easier to read and resemble the one you use, hence the schematic in stripboard magic for the circuit above looks like this and is more a node list.
I think you would get completely lost with a circuit any more complex than the one I used for the test. There’s no way I would be able to make sure that connections were going exactly where I wanted.
Once you have used the component library to input your circuit you click on “circuit” and “auto configure” and Stripboard magic places the components on the board and marks track cuts and jumper wires. This is quite surprising and is a bit like AutoCAD on printed circuit board layouts.
When you select auto configure the program generates a stripboard layout.
The layout can also be compressed horizontally and vertically automatically and then you can select minimize board size to shrink everything down as shown below.
The minimum size stripboard for the layout.
You can also output the final design as a bitmapped image and you can select construction details which are shown as a sort of grid output.
The construction details.
This shows where the components, links and track breaks go.
You can zoom in and out to show the finished layout more clearly as your working.
The major problem for me with Stripboard magic is the inputting of the circuit and how it is shown. It just doesn’t enable me to do it how I want and for me that is a major problem. I just wouldn’t have the confidence to use it to design any more complex circuits. I feel slightly bad by the fact I’m criticizing something that is free and has had a lot of work put into it. The auto layout function is certainly impressive and I wish it could be incorporated into Lochmaster 4.0 the layout program that I use.