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I created a circuit with a more solid ground plane which perfectly works.

Now I attempted to create the exact same circuit with a second batch of the exact same parts and connected everything in the exact same order. The only difference between the boards is that one is about 25% diffused (meaning instead of a rich pure copper ground plane, its a ground plane with some tiny spots in which all copper is etched away). I did the photoresist PCB method of making PCBs.

I feel my only solution to get the circuit working is to run the entire ground plane with lots of solder to fill in the dots (since they're so tiny).

Without wasting solder, is there anything I can do to make the circuit work?