Review: LochMaster for Strip Circuit Design

Many electronics enthusiasts use the stripboard to build small circuits and prototypes. Unfortunately, most PCB layout programs don’t provide much support for this, so it’s up to you to determine the best way to position and connect components. The LochMaster software tool is useful in these situations.

Many electronics enthusiasts use the stripboard to build small circuits and prototypes. Unfortunately, most PCB layout programs don’t provide much support for this, so it’s up to you to determine the best way to position and connect components. The LochMaster software tool is useful in these situations.

This program from the German company Abacom has been around for a few years, with the last major update in 2011. However, this does not detract from its quality and user-friendliness. The current version (4.0) works fine under most versions of Windows up to at least Windows 8 (we haven’t tried it with Windows 10 yet).

LochMaster is not a real CAD program, but rather a visual aid for virtual positioning of components on a stripboard to determine the best layout. The graphics are very realistic. You can see the shape of each component, and there is even a 3D mode with images of many components to make things even more realistic.

Using the program is simple. You select components from the large enough library (to which you can also add your own components) and place them in the desired positions, and you can enter the component designations. You can also place jumpers on the board. The entire circuit can be built using this process. There is a function to make the component side semi-transparent so that you can see the tracks on the back of the board. To take a closer look at the copper tracks on the back, you can also flip the card over by pressing another button.

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