Introduction: Bread Board From IDE Cables

Picture of Bread Board From IDE Cables

Today we are going to be building a bread borad for protyping circuits. Most of the parts you have lying around. The idea here is not to replace large store bought bread boards but, to construct small units that could be part of a larger project.

Step 1: Gather Your Components

Picture of Gather Your Components

You will need

-IDE cable
-small amount of copper wire
-soldering iron and solder
-small piece of plastic
-small screwdriver to take apart the IDE Cable

Step 2: DIssasemble the IDE Cable

Picture of DIssasemble the IDE Cable

Using a small screwdriver pop the backs off ouy your IDE jacks. Then carefully remove the ribbon cables from the pins. Care should be taken to not pull the pins out as each one that is removed will be a dead socket on your bread board. This is also a good time to sand down the nubs on the jacks so they wil be easier to glue together later.

Step 3: Bridge the Pins

Picture of Bridge the Pins

I know that bridging pins is usually a bad thing but, here its a good one. A store bought bread board does just that, it bridges the connection between components. Use a small piece of copper wire to bridge four pins. Soldering this can be a bit difficult so I advise heating up the copper wire a bit with your soldering iron and letting it melt into the jack just a little bit. This will help to hold it while you solder. You can bridge as many or a few pins as you like but four seems to work well for me. The good news is that you can customize the board to your needs. Once you bridge them test them. Use a continnuity tester to make sure that you have only bridged the terminals that you wanted to. Test here to avoid failed projects later. Then glue your IDE jacks together to form the board. You can glue as many of these as you need to together to make the board that suits your project. I also noth out a mark every four holes on the top with a needle file so I can see which pins have been bridged without counting.

Step 4: Spit and Polish

Picture of Spit and Polish

The board works now but, its ugly. Using epoxy I gluded my new board to a small piece of plastic. This makes the board look better and protects the back from shorts. I used a small piece of metal (strap from shipping bricks great stuff and free) to form a 9V battery holder and glued it to the board as well. I soldered a couple of wires to the back of an old 9V battery top to form a 9V battery clip. I covered it with epoxy to prevent shorts as well. For style points I dye my epoxy for battery clips with a drop of black acrylic paint. Not too much or it will get all jacked up and not cure properly.

Before someone says it: yes it will fit in an Altodis box and I know that the solder job wasn't the best.

That being said my I constructed my first project on the board!


Reys8 (author)2015-01-05

can it be done with a 24 pin serial cable port?

Akin Yildiz (author)2014-12-09

to make things look nicer, you can give this a try;

i really like your style + instructables. subscribed..

newbeatle (author)2013-05-06

WHAT AN AWESOME IDEA !!!! i have LOTS of IDE cables, those with 60 pins, and i never thought about using them in this aplication..... thanks for sharing your idea!!

best regards from mexico

yoyology (author)2012-04-17

Couldn't you leave part of the ribbon attached, strip the individual ribbon wires, and solder those? Might be easier than soldering the pins.

No matter what, great upcycle. I'm going to give this a try!

ilpug (author)2012-03-15


batman96 (author)2011-06-24

Female parallel ports work good too. ;)

laxap (author)2010-03-15

Great idea, smart and useful!
I'm making some ASAP!

ambrosiusamadeus (author)2010-03-15

Awesome! One of the better, practical projects I have seen on here in a long time. Well Done!

iamsinned06 (author)2009-07-22

i want to make a homemade ide to usb cable. can you give me schematic or diagram or how to do it yourself?

cotton (author)iamsinned062009-08-23

u need qa whole circut so goto a computer store and get a ide to usd adapter there round 20 buks to 60 bucks k

rommel543 (author)2009-08-09

Ah crap.. I just moved and threw out about 10 old IDE cables because (insert wonky music here) I thought I wouldn't use them for anything. Time to start savaging parts at work again.

!Andrew_Modder! (author)2008-01-24

oh. ok lol a good use for your ide cables, haha. .....damn the ide!! oh ya they actually make SATA dvd and cd writers now!! so you can go 100% ide free!!! woot.. lol nice instructable

Derin (author)!Andrew_Modder!2009-03-06
haha. .....damn the ide!! oh ya they actually make SATA dvd and cd writers now!! so you can go 100% ide free!!!
haha. .....damn the sata!! oh ya they actually make IDE dvd and cd writers now!! so you can go 100% sata free!!!
tinkerC (author)Derin2009-06-19

I like SATA. The SATA Hard Drives have more room than an IDE one. CDs and DVDs can't keep up with SATA speeds, but SATA is easier to wire.

Derin (author)tinkerC2009-06-19

OK,I agree now after having to hook up an IDE HD to my PC.The drawback of IDE is Master/Slave.

tinkerC (author)Derin2009-06-19

Meaning that there is one drive selected to boot from and you need to move the jumpers to change it? That is a flaw in the OS to need that.

Derin (author)tinkerC2009-06-19

No,if you put it on the wrong jumper it won't work.And it is a pain to put them on Cable Select.

tinkerC (author)Derin2009-06-21

Ouch. There must be a better way....

juggler4real (author)2009-06-19


Davetech (author)2009-05-17

I thought this might be even better than sliced bread, so I put 4 IDE connectors together and soldered them up. I was happy with the result in general, but a bit miffed when I plugged in an IC. It seems that the springy contacts in the connector are just a little too deep for an IC's leads to be securely held and the IC would pop back out when I let go of it. The same happened when I tried an IC socket. Otherwise, it works great for long-leaded discrete components. So I'll just use it as an "add-on" breadboard. ps: I guess you could solder on lead extentions to an IC socket and keep that socket handy to use with the breadboard.

Doom2099 (author)2009-05-13

very cool project. breadboards are expensive. you helped a lot people today! keep it up!

johnfromnj (author)2009-04-09

Good idea for all the homebrewer's out there. Those breadboards from Radio Shack are expensive, with a little modding, you could customize them for just about any project.

Seifpic (author)2009-02-19

Nice idea, I would of never thought of that..

cabie62 (author)2009-01-09

Why not use SCSI connectors ? and use the cable too. You could use a 2" piece of SCSI cable stack 8 connectors, one right next to the other and have a total of 16 X 50 pins in 16 pin rows.

Jimwright (author)2008-12-19

I will never throw away a (whole) 9V battery again! Why didn't I think of that?

LEEKA_IDHAM (author)2008-12-09

Great idea bro. Now the rest of us can start from here and build our own boards at a larger scale since most of us seem to have tons of junk IDE cables. I also suggest using a colored (maybe yellow) thin-tipped marker pen to mark the bridged groups pins from the top of the IDE jack. this way it would be easier to distinguish the bridges from top when electronics start to obscure most of the surface.

kraM (author)2008-06-08

damn i just threw alot of these away when i moved... now i need to find some more so i can make me a bread board, and here i was thinking about buying one soon

agis68 (author)kraM2008-12-08

i can supply you with a cardboards of them if you want! By the way nice project and smart cause breadboards cost a lot

cowtipper97 (author)kraM2008-07-01

Me too!! i'm really mad that i did that now that i know a good use for them!

profpat (author)2008-12-04

Very good idea, now i can recycle lots of ide cable off my junk bins!! more power and imaginations to Instructables!!! (author)2008-11-10

Great project. Points for simplicity and repurposing something getting thrown away. You go dude!

Yerboogieman (author)2008-01-27

i absolutely loved this idea but its just so hard to keep the solder on the pins after it dries, it'll chip or fall off

stncilr (author)Yerboogieman2008-07-15

make sure that when you finish your solder that it is atually cone correctly and not ust a cold solder, because cold solders are known to chip off and such

stone3408 (author)Yerboogieman2008-01-28

Try using some extra flux. Also be sure to use the small piece of copper wire to bride the pins first and then solder. I suppose that it would be possible that diffrent ages of IDE cables are made of diffrent materials. If that is the case I would also suggest trying a diffrent set of cables.

godanimal (author)2008-06-28

what is a bread board and what does it do ??

stone3408 (author)godanimal2008-07-01

As pictured above its for building circuits without having to solder them together. It actually mechanically connects the parts.

tinbin (author)2008-07-01

Love it! I need some breadboard to try a project tonight, but don't have time to get to Maplins... gonna try this one, thanks dude! Will it take an IC?

learningmaster (author)2008-05-23

good gob now ill do this right now with my 11 cables *fav*

Bongmaster (author)2008-01-24

nice : i used a plug for a power rail on my breadboard :) might do this for a small breadboard or make more power rails :D

JCru (author)Bongmaster2008-05-12

This is an awesome instructible. And to think I was going to buy a breadboard for small projects...This works so better! Thanks!

thepsymaster (author)2008-05-06

Wow! Why have I never thought of this before?? Such a simple but effective idea, well done :)

AncientWizard (author)2008-05-06

Very resourceful, and nice example of recycling... One thought: you could use a sharpie to mark the connection patterns on the front to show you where your bridged connections go.

gb78 (author)2008-05-06

Hey, awesome! Gave me a great clue on what to do with my old bunch of ide cables. Nice job!

ratgod (author)2008-04-11

Great instructable, I used to do this about 10 years a go when I was a poor student type person, but back then I couldn't even afford the luxury of epoxy resin :) I just held 2 connectors together and used the iron to melt parts of the plastic together, was a very lousy and smelly job. I also found that tinning wires before putting them in is good for this as some wires are too thin for the holes and don't sit properly. I may start making more now you have reminded me. thanks

andrew93 (author)2008-03-22

great idea!! good job!! i'm gonna do it right now!!! added to fave.!!!!

Aerospaceman (author)2008-03-22

I just happened upon this nifty idea and I am going to try this experiment! Did you make the vise too? LOL! Anyhow, this is really a kick butt idea! and I DO have the parts to build this homebrew, Thanks!

mastelios (author)2008-03-04

Very clever!!and usefull!I 'll give it a try!

incorrigible packrat (author)2008-02-28

Man! That's clever. I like the epoxification as well.

1up (author)2008-02-16

Ingenious! This is such a great idea, I will definitely need to try this! Added to favorites!

Yerboogieman (author)2008-01-27

great, but its hard to see the pics when their integrated into one

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