beanz Magazine

How to Use an Electronic Breadboard

oomlout on Flickr

Electronic breadboards are used to prototype electronic circuit designs and projects without messy solder or hot soldering irons.

Breadboards have many wonderful meanings. For chefs and people cooking, a breadboard is a flat board used to cut bread. For people working with Arduino, Beagle Board, or Raspberry Pi, a breadboard is flat board with holes to plug in wires to prototype and build electronic projects. Mechanical breadboards are used by mechanical engineers. And you can slice up your tomatoes or other food on breadboards.

Perhaps most interesting of all, electronic breadboards grew out of people using wooden breadboards to build their electronic circuits and projects.

For this article, however, we’ll look at how breadboards are used in electronic projects.

What Exactly is an Electronic Breadboard?

In electronics projects, a breadboard looks like this:

Sample electronic breadboard from Wikipedia Commons

Wikipedia

A Typical Breadboard

Electronic breadboards solve a simple problem: how do you quickly change connections to test different configurations as you create an electronic project? The traditional way to make connections between electronic components is to use solder and a soldering iron. That gets messy if you have to reconnect wires and components.

An electronic breadboard does away with solder and soldering irons. Instead, you connect your wires to and from plugs in the breadboard to make connections. This makes breadboards reusable.

Electronic breadboards are a sheet of plastic with uniform perforations or holes. Each hole contains a metal spring clip called a connection point or tie point. Each metal spring clip is wired underneath the plastic board, out of view. You only have to connect wires to the correct holes.

Breadboards typically contain rows or strips of connections:

  • Terminal Strips are used to make connections between electronic components.
  • Bus Strips are used to connect power to the breadboard and, from there, to the circuit.

Some electronic breadboards include both types of strips, others are dedicated to one type or another.

To make connections, you use small needle nose pliers or similar to press a wire into the electronic breadboard. The Learn More links below provide more details and examples how to use breadboards, including a project using a real wooden breadboard you might have in your kitchen.

Learn More

How to Use a Breadboard

https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/how-to-use-a-breadboard
http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-use-a-breadboard/?ALLSTEPS

What is a Breadboard?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breadboard

Breadboard Tutorials

http://learn.adafruit.com/search?q=breadboard
http://www.instructables.com/id/Use-a-real-Bread-Board-for-prototyping-your-circui/
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Elec_primer-simplecircuit.shtml

Also In The March 2014 Issue

An Interview with Ben Heck

Ben Heckendorn is a self-taught maker with high energy, an internet show on Element14 (The Ben Heck Show), and a wonderfully wicked sense of humor. He also inspired this issue of the magazine.

Circuit Diagrams

Circuit diagrams are maps used to design and build electronic devices. This article describes connections, components, history, and tools used to create circuit diagrams.

Electronics Projects for Beginners

Here are links to projects, tutorials, parts, and online communities to help you get started with electronics projects for beginners.

Zina Lahr

Meet someone who used her love of electronics to create deeply fun and personal robots, gadgets, and other cool stuff.

Version Control Software

Version control software captures an evolving snapshot of one set of code along with all changes in case older versions need to be retrieved.

Brackets, Semicolons, or Nothing, Oh My

How do programming languages know what to process? And in the correct order?

JSON

JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation, is an elegant way to organize data into key:value pairs and make web applications work like software.

I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success.

How to Use an Electronic Breadboard

Electronic breadboards are used to prototype electronic circuit designs and projects without messy solder or hot soldering irons.

Learn More Links for March 2014

Links from the bottom of all the March 2014 articles, collected in one place for you to print, share, or bookmark.

Node.js

Node.js is a software platform to create fast, scalable web applications quickly. These applications also use JavaScript on the server and web browsers.

Non-Relational Databases

These databases are relatively new technology to store data in databases. Here are a few options to explore.

News Wire Stories for March 2014

Interesting stories about computer science, software programming, and technology for the month of February 2014.