This is my first instructable! If you have any suggestions or questions, feel free to send me a PM.
After receiving my cheap (horribly packaged, that's what you get for being a cheapskate) 74HC595 shift registers from China a short while back, I decided it was time to give them a try.
I made a shaky first build on my breadboard but forgetting the resistors (thinking the current was perhaps internally limited by a resistor, silly me), got the IC really hot.
After building a second prototype I realized how much of a hassle it was to prototype with ICs on a breadboard, having to break out all the outputs with either wires and then connecting them to resistors, the LEDs and then ground, or jumping them straight away with the resistors, and how much easier it would be to have a small board with an IC socket and resistors built into the outputs to save me all the work of inserting resistors.
The fact that I wasn't sure if the ICs were broken or not meant I had to keep placing and replacing the ICs in my breadboard, with bent pins and frustration as a result.
I decided to make a little IC breakout board on a piece of protoboard with a socket for the IC, connectors directly connected to the IC and connectors connected to the IC through a 1kΩ resistor.
This would not only allow me to connect LEDs to the IC, but also to connect directly to the IC. While building the board, I realised it had another feature: the headers that are connected to the resistors can be used to pull the logic level of the IC inputs up or down! While 1kΩ isn't exactly the perfect value - I would generally use 10kΩ or 15kΩ - as it will draw/source a relatively large amount of current, it is still usable for high-power ICs or ICs with a high input impedance (the type of IC where a pull down/up resistor is specifically necessary) like CMOS chips.
Let's get started!