Test terminals

16 Sep 2018

This is something I've been after for quite a while, to help with trying different parts before soldering them in to a PCB. Quite often there will be a part of a build that says "Try different values for R13 or C38, and see which one you like". Great, but that usually means soldering in a socket. I wanted something that I could just slot into the PCB hole, connect to a breadboard for testing, then remove later when I'd made my choice.

I finally worked out that these are called PCB test terminals, or PCB test points... depending on where you are shopping. I've found them on RS Online (called 'PCB test terminals'), and Element 14 and AdaFruit (called 'PCB test points').

They are designed to be soldered in place, and later act as test points for a circuit. However, they are slightly spring loaded, so they hold in place without solder, if you're careful. Solder them to some breadboard wire, and I've now got a way to test components off-board, easily.

I bought some 1mm size test points, as they seem to fit the normal PCB hole size quite well. Also got some 1.6mm test points, as that matches the larger holes that are used for 16mm pots. So I can now use these to test a board before putting it into the enclosure... rock it before box it. The pots, input, output, 9v and ground can all be hooked up using test points, and then later soldered in place properly.

I've also soldered some to plugs to fit into my test rig - when testing a new effect, I can just plug the test point into the in/out/9v/ground, and test, no soldering required.