This instructable will guide someone with no experience in electronics through prototyping their first circuits on a breadboard. You will need a few basic components to get started:
5V power supply/battery/arduino board
22 gauge solid core jumper wire
- It's a good idea to get many colors of wire (esp black and red) so that you can keep your breadboard organized.
Step 1: The Basics
The purpose of the breadboard is to make quick electrical connections between components- like resistors, LEDs, capacitors, etc- so that you can test your circuit before permanently soldering it together. Breadboards have many small sockets on them, and some groups of sockets are electrically connected to each other. On the underside of the board there are many small metal strips which physically connect certain groups of sockets together and allow electricity to flow freely between them. These strips are probably not visible on the underside of your breadboard, but the third picture shows how they are organized.
Breadboards are usually divided into four sections, two outer sections and two inner sections. Each row of five sockets in the inner sections are electrically connected to each other (see the green lines in figure 3). The two outer sections of the breadboard are usually used exclusively for power. On many breadboards these sockets will be labeled with colors denoting positive voltage (usually red) and ground (black or blue). It is important to note that on many breadboards the power lines only run half the length of the board (as indicated in figure 3). You will need to run a wire between these two sections to send power to from one end to the other. There is nothing special about the outer sections of the breadboard that makes particularly suitable for power other than that they run most of the length of the board, but if you choose to use these rows for other things you may confuse others or even yourself, so it is good practice to use these for power only.