A final word

We have deliberately made the layout of the circuits large. This has been done for two reasons:

• It makes construction easy

• It minimizes the risk of short circuits

Many amateur electronics enthusiasts vie with each other to produce the smallest layout they can. This goes back to the Good Old Days of discrete components, before integrated circuits were even dreamed of. To cram a one or two transistor radio into a match box was considered the height of skill, and sometimes the most amazing techniques were used to achieve this goal. However, more faults in electronic circuits can be traced back to cramming components too close together than any other single reason. There is absolutely no sense in attempting such miniaturization when making this controller. The only time we will be concerned about placing one component close to another will be when wiring in the choke, and that simply because the closer we can get it to the possible source of EMI the better.

Make the control module first, and check that it works as it should before making the power module. The control module is a totally independent circuit and will work quite happily on its own even when the signals it generates are not used to control another circuit. In contrast, the power module will just sit there and do nothing is it's not fed with a reliable set of signals from the control module, so you can't test it until you know that the control module is working properly. If nothing else, the skills you practice in making the control module first will serve you well when you reach the stage of making the power module and face the job of soldering those power triacs in place!

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