Two LED diagram to PCB copper board solution?

Heyo there,

I’ve been learning the basics of electronics/microelectronics and soldering for about two months now. So far I’ve had a jolly good time with no major issues making splices (more specifically the splice-wire that’s made to NASA standards), soldering microchips and resistors onto PCB boards and what-not. Of course it’s nothing too spectacular, but for a newb it’s better than nothing.

Currently though I’ve gotten around learning how to plan and solder together basic prototypes from diagrams. I chose a two LED circuit diagram to try out first, and I’d like to make it as compact as possible so that it wouldn’t be all over the place. But I have no idea how to plan it, I’ve attempted to plan it out on a paper as to how it would look on a copper PCB board but I would always end up with empty spaces on the board. Making it work is not an issue at all, but the compact issue still stands.

Wondering if any of you have ideas on how you would tackle making an compact-as-possible PCB board with two LEDs from a diagram? The NPN is a 548b transistor, and the PNP is a 557c transistor.

I completely apologize beforehand if this is the wrong category to bring this up.

Hello @Thettan,

One of the first things you need to know is that a schematic and a PCB layout are completely different. Even though your schematic is neat and has lots of white space it may not be the same for your PCB.

Are you currently working with a PCB program?

Once you start your layout on your pcb many of the software programs will auto route traces for you. You can then move components to make it as compact as possible. You can also use ground plains to eliminate traces and depending on trace width and component size you may find traces running under your resistors or LEDs.

Depending on the program you start with we may have someone who can provide some tips. You will also likely be able to find starter guides and more online and videos are often posted on youtube.

In addition to Roberts comment above I would like to offer a place to start in all of this.

Regarding the software. While KiCad is not the most finished or easiest platform to use, it is very good and it is free.

Digikey has developed their own library to work with the program because they see the potential in this open source software. we also have a series of videos that show you how to get started.

ima ge

If you are looking for some other good tutorials on how to use it I recommend a YouTube Channel called Contextual electronics.

Here is a series of videos that walk you through the design process from beginning to end.


His videos are free to view on YouTube but he also offers more complete classes on his website for a fee.


Thank you for your help! @Robert_Fay @AaronRollens

I will definitely look into that program and the tutorials. Using a computer software is in any which way much better than attempting to make plans for PCB boards by paper. I should’ve expected that there were programs out there that’d be exactly what I was looking for.

Again, thank you tremendously for the replies.

Edit: forgot to mention that I’m using a copper perfboard.

THis is done on paper, mechanically. Computer programs are of little use unless you intend to have a circuit board made, and that is a major waste of time and expense for such a simple circuit. Using computers teaches you nothing about electronics.

Get some foam and beginning with the components with the most complex lead patterns (transistors in this case), stick them in the foam (use anti static foam if you have it) and then fill in the rest.

Or, use prepunched breadboard, then when done, solder the leads to the board.

Bread boards are also good. They make the connections for you. That is a low frequency circuit so a breadbord will work fine.

Avoid comptuer programs, youre in the “hands on” edcation mode right now.


Sorry we skipped a step thinking you were looking for PCB options. One great option for learning breadboard and perfboard layout software is available at They have a lot of basic parts and you can move them around and see how to lay out parts and wires.

Here is an example breadboard circuit created on Fritzing.

They also have options to design using a perfboard as well. It is very easy to use and lots of component options for simple circuits as well as example videos.

I hope this helps.

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Thanks for help!