Building The Homebrew SoundCard On Stripboard

The circuit and board described here isn’t so much a new project as an “I wonder if this will work?” kind of thing.

Back in May and November 2011 I published a couple of posts describing a homebrew PCM2904 soundcard I put together. I’ve since used that circuit as part of a few projects and it works well, but for my current project I wanted an integrated soundcard, not a separate module.

The original homebrew soundcard was done using a printed circuit board (PCB) and surface mount (SMT) parts. I’ve switched over to doing most of my projects on stripboard now and wondered how well a soundcard built on stripboard would work. Turns out, it works quite well.

Laying Out The Circuit

The circuit itself is straightforward. It’s a single chip and taken directly from the PCM2904 data sheet.

Laying out the circuit on stripboard is similar to designing a PCB, except some of the traces are predefined. There is a variety of design software out there to help with this process. The one I’ve been using lately is DIY Layout Creator. The completed layout is shown below along with photo of the completed board next to the original.

Soundcard Stripboard Layout

Soundcard Photo

You can see the stripboard version is not appreciably bigger than the original. In addition, building the circuit on stripboard does not appear to have affected performance and working with through-hole components rather than SMT made it a lot easier.

If You Build It…

As I mentioned above, one of my primary motivations for this construction was simple curiosity. Would the stripboard version perform as well as the PCB version? With that question answered, should you find this useful and decide to recreate the board there are some things of which you should be aware.

  • The PCM2904 is shown as a full size integrated circuit but is actually an SMT chip mounted on a 28 pin SSOP-DIP adapter.
  • The red module is a Sparkfun Mini USB Breakout Board.
  • Red dots represent breaks in the copper trace.
  • Blue lines represent jumpers.
  • Depending upon your application you may need some audio jacks and capacitors on VinL, VinR, VoutL, and VoutR. The capacitor values will be application dependent.

Finally, you’ll notice that some of the jumpers and one resistor are under the USB module and SSOP-DIP adapter board. You may want to mount these on the opposite side of the board for easier access once the breakout and adapter boards are mounted.

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