Verodes free stripboard layout software is a stripboard/veroboard design program that helps you when it comes to laying out circuits. It’s pretty basic but it is free to download and it’s fully functioning so you’ve really got nothing to lose in trying it out to see if it suits you.
If you are new to using veroboard you can check out a full guide here.
The things I like about Verodes are:-
- It’s free. You’re not going to lose a lot of money on something you won’t use. Your only investment is the time to install and learn to use it.
- It’s basic and easy to learn to use so you won’t get over ran with features you don’t need. It won’t be long before your actually using it to design layouts.
Things I don’t like about Verodes are:-
- The f1 help and instructions don’t work on my version of windows.
- There are not a lot of components, I couldn't find a standard diode, however you can apparently edit your own but it’s not something I’ve tried.
- Components can’t be rotated once placed on the board but there is a way round this though. You just delete it and create a new one with the correct rotation. So it’s not the end of the world.
When I first down loaded the program Verodes 1.37 I got an error message saying a file was missing. It wasnt until I checked back to the site to see at the bottom of the page that various dependencies needed to be downloaded if you got error messages. You can download this from the website. Also my AVG antivirus needed to be turned off before I could install it. Not unusual when it comes to installing software.
You can create boards up to a theoretical 128 holes by 128 rows so that’s not going to limit you. Also, a nice feature is that you can create a large board, design your layout and then click shrink and it will trim off the unused left, right, up and down portion of the board and renumber what’s left so you can see what the minimum veroboard size is you can get away with.
The board as it was created.
The board after the shrink command was applied.
You just select the component you want, number it such as R1 if it’s a resistor, add a value if you want to include it and then position it on the board. If you select another it automatically gets given the R2 value which can speed up your designing.
Add more components as required and there’s a tool to mark track cuts. Text can also be added if you want and if a component needs moving, which it probably will at some point in your design you just click on its pin 1. It will then change colour to purple and you can use the arrow keys to reposition it. Track breaks can also be moved using the same technique.
You can also add wire links by clicking where you want the link to start and dragging to where you want it to finish. When using Verodes you normal view the board from above as you would if you were using graph paper and a pencil but you can view it from the copper side if you want to. Useful for seeing where track breaks will really be.
When you’ve finished you can obviously save your design or print it out.
This is an example of a Verodes component overlay print out.
You also get various options when it comes to print outs but for me the most useful is the component overlay. This means that if you’re checked your design properly and you follow the overlay it will eradicate most of the errors you make when constructing circuits on veroboard.
As veroboard is just rows of copper strips and holes they all tend to look similar and it all so easy to miscount. Tracks cut in the wrong place and components in the wrong holes used to be common but a component overlay is a tremendous help in veroboard construction.
For simple circuits it’s great so if you’re just starting it’s a no brainer. It’s so much easier and more fun using this software rather than graph paper and an eraser. Essential when you’re trying to come up with a design as you’ll always find a better place for a component once you’ve drawn it in. That’s just the way designing is.
It’s also massive to be able to print out a component overlay to build from. As it’s come from your design and the computer has flipped it and printed it out you’ll know nothings gone wrong in translation. It’s so easy to miscount rows and holes when you’re doing it manually yourself. The computer and printer don’t miscount!
Even if you outgrow Verodes free veroboard layout software you’ll be more aware of what you need in the future. You won’t have lost any cash and you will only have more experience and learning. On the other hand you may never need to go any further and Verodes may be all you’ll ever need. It’s a win - win situation. How often does that happen in real life?