Instructables
Picture of Breadboard How To
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:

LED: white, red, green, blue
220 resistor
5V power supply/battery/arduino board
solderless breadboard
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.
 
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Step 1: The Basics

Picture of The Basics
closeup.jpg
The-Basics.jpg
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.


Granzeier3 months ago

Very nice 'ible.

If I may, I would like to offer one correction to your information in Step 3. You mention that "Electric current always runs from high voltage to ground in a circuit." This, however is incorrect (I run across this quite often in teaching electronics.) The only thing, in electronic circuits, which moves, is electrons. Electrons have a negative charge to them. When you have a voltage difference in a circuit, electrons will leave the negative terminal of the power supply (battery, etc.) and be attracted to the positive terminal - "opposites attract."

Your LED is actually connected correctly, but the current flow goes against the arrow, not with it. Back when we used tubes, they would actually have a heater inside them to heat up the cathode, so that the electrons would flow off the cathode, towards the anode, more easily (I started in electronics in 1962, tubes was about it. :-) )

Also, not to take away from your great Instructable, I wrote up a paper on breadboards, including their history, and why they are called breadboards. It does not go into anywhere near as much detail on how to use them as you do, but you may find it interesting for the history. You can find it on my projects site at: http://projects.granzeier.com/what-is-a-breadboard/.

jseay Granzeier2 months ago

What you've observed is the difference between conventional flow and electron flow in circuits. Ben Franklin started the "convention" of describing electricity as flowing from positive to negative. By the time science figured out electrons were going the opposite direction, the terminology had taken hold, and "conventional flow" is still used in certain fields. All About Circuits offers an interesting detailed explanation.

RollTide773 months ago

Very Informative. Thank you.

zrelli5 months ago

it's a very informative instructable...thank you very much

bsimon29 months ago

this is great now i can make use of this bread board i have had for ever and had no idea what to do with. I have looked at a lot of youre instructables and see that you do a lot with electronics , have you done much with PIC programming? Im looking into building NES reproduction cartridges and things of that nature. Im also curious about the teensey++ 2.0 development board and what i can do with it as well.

DkAngelito1 year ago
Hi, Why are the 10k resistor for? Can't I just connect pins D0-D3 directly to Ground or Vcc?
amandaghassaei (author)  DkAngelito1 year ago
no, it will draw too much current and damage the arduino.
redrok2 years ago
Hi All:

I use these plugboards all the time, I have dozens of them.

I don't particularly like the standard 22 gauge jumper wire.
I have found other wire I like much much better.

I use 8 conductor "Telephone house wiring wire".
No, not the flexible stuff that goes from the instrument to the wall jack.
I mean the stuff behind the wall. It looks like 26 gauge or so, and comes in roles of 100 feet or more. Strip off the jacket and you have 8 different colored wires. The insulation strips easily.

Its the perfect wire, and cheap to.

redrok
pfred2 redrok2 years ago
Just so you'll be jealous to the end of time I'll put up a picture of what the ultimate breadboarding wire looks like :)
MultiCon.jpg
tseay redrok2 years ago
I like that wire, too. First electrical projects, I worked were connecting phone jacks. :)
ak47freak2 years ago
very nice it helped me a ton! thanks
sagar.latti2 years ago
thanks 4 d tutorial,
justbennett2 years ago
But what are the screw terminals for? I think they look cool and all, but does anybody use those for anything?
i guess these screw terminals are for fixed power cord to avoid short circuit. :-)
They make for easy power supply connection. That way you can just pull a couple plugs and work on the unpowered bread board.
That's kinda what I thought, but I've never seen anyone use them, and I've never found a use for them. I guess it depends on your set up. My power supply is still a "universal" wall wart with some solid core soldered on the ends!

Maybe someday I'll be sophisticated enough to use the terminals. :-)
Last year I built an Elenco XP-720 Power Supply kit for breadboarding and other electronics projects. It's nice to have the fixed 5V and dual adjustable +/- 1-15V for op-amps and other projects that use multiple voltages. It has all binding post outputs so I just run cables with banana plugs to get power to breadboard. Works great. The power supply is a nice inexpensive kit to build as well.
They make it easier to get +/- V and ground into the board. A 4mm plug fits in the top or you can screw a multicore cable in from the side.
wilgubeast2 years ago
Awww yeah. Now I can use my prototyped breadboard to create the LED traffic light! No longer will I be constrained by my ignorance! (Except, probably, I will. Just not around breadboards.)
very good tutorial about using a bread board. I too had taken electronics in my 1970s high schooling, but have never used it. Now maybe I can LOL. Thanks.
cjumpc2 years ago
This is fabulous. I've been wanting to play with LED kits but have been at a loss with tutorials that seem to require previous experience or am unfamiliar with the jargon. I completely understand your tutorial. Very clear. I'm excited to pick up my breadboard and materials and give this a try.

Thank you. I hope you plan to do more.
amandaghassaei (author)  cjumpc2 years ago
thanks, glad to hear it! I will be doing more.
pvdhyden2 years ago
You apply Ohms Law to the LED. IMHO you should apply it to the resistor. In other words: the forward voltage should be (5-2.2) = 2.8 V, resulting in R = 112 Ohms.
amandaghassaei (author)  pvdhyden2 years ago
oops, you're right, thanks, fixing it now
amandaghassaei (author)  amandaghassaei2 years ago
this is an easy mistake to make- another good reason to use a current limiting resistor that is a bit higher than what your components are max rated for :)
This is put together very well. I like the information provided with the 7 segment display. I would agree in that it would be nice to mention that the rails down either side are often split rather than continuos. I guess if you are a beginner the pictures make up for it when you show having to use a jumper wire to connect the side rails together. I can tell you spent a lot of time making this look great. It's in the details and I like that you have added a Fritzing Diagram. I myself am looking to be using it in a near build of mine, like the possibilities fritzing can offer.
Jayefuu2 years ago
Nice tutorial! Thought I think that the diagram in step 1 might confuse a lot of people. You don't show the whole board, nor do you talk about how the rails down either side are often split into two parts rather than being continuous, the source of many rookie mistakes.

Fritzing has a nice breadboard picture which would be easy to make an excellent diagram with if you felt like making that step clearer.