Introduction: Solderless Breadboard Layout Sheets (plug and Play Electronics)

Picture of Solderless Breadboard Layout Sheets (plug and Play Electronics)

Here's a fun system designed to take care of some of the headaches involved in breadboarding a circuit.

It is is a simple set of template files drawn to scale with real world electronic components.

Using a vector drawing program you simply move the components onto the breadboard template, draw a few wires and print the result (if you're old school you can print the template and use scissors and glue).

Pin the template to your breadboard, place the components and wires, and you're good to go. Better yet if a wire later falls out its easy to pop it back into place.

Looking to skip ahead?

The Component Library can be found here
The Circuit Library can be found here

(shameless plug)
Like the breadboard layout sheet idea and looking to play around with an Arduino? we make a fun kit that combines the two. (in the UK it can be purchased here anywhere else in the world it can be purchased here)

(second shameless plug)
In the UK and looking for an online shop that sells delightfully fun open source products feel free to check out our web store here web store:.

Step 1: Software

Picture of Software
There are two options for this step. One a little ahead of its time and the other a little past its time.

Option 1 - Inkscape (modern)
Inkscape is an Open Source vector drawing program. Its a little rough around the edges at the moment but it is only getting better, and when looked at in its entirety pretty impressive.

  • Download Inkscape from
  • Install
  • Download the component library in Inkscape (.svg) format on the next step
  • Copy and paste components and move them around (use the arrow keys the nudge is set to 0.1" so you're components will all stay alligned)

Option 2 - Cut & Paste (old school)
Along with the Inkscape format all the files in this instructable are also available as .pdf. What this means is you can download the PDF print it out and then use old fashioned glue, scissors and pen to make your templates. Or you can also download pre-drawn circuits from step 3.

Step 2: Component LIbrary

Picture of Component LIbrary
To use the components simply download either the Inkscape (.svg) or Adobe (.pdf) file attached to this step.

The current set of components is a bit of a random selection of those we've found useful around the .:oomlout:. offices. More will be added as we draw them.

If you've drawn a component for we'd love to have you share it here (send us a message if you'd like collaboration privelages, or simply e-mail us the file and we'll integrate it into the library)

Current Component List

Breadboards occasionally vary in how they align their power strips, we currently have two supported layouts

Discreet Components
  • Resistors - 1/4 watt resistors currently in (560, 2.2K ohm and 10k ohm) (these are available from any electronics shop, even radio shack).
  • Diode - A simple axial diode (we use an 1n4001 for most purposes)
  • Axial Capacitor - Common form factor for medium sized capacitors
  • Crystal - Metal can type crystal
  • Piezo Element -

LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes)
  • 5mm LED (T1 3/4) - The most common size LED
  • 12mm LED - A large LED
  • Piranha LED - A common form factor for RGB LEDs
  • 8 x 8 Bi-Color LED Matrix - A medium sized LED matrix

  • Photo Resistor - A light dependant resistor
  • Pushbutton - Standard sized pushbutton
  • Trimmer Potentiometer - Small potentiometer
  • Panel Mount Potentiometer - Common Potentiometer

Transistors and ICs (Integrated Circuits)
  • 74HC595 - 8 Bit Shift Register
  • ULN2803A - Octal Transistor Array
  • L293 - Quad half bridge driver (can also be used as a dual H-bridge)
  • ATMega168 - An Atmel micro-controller (pin compatible with the ATMega 328 used in the Arduino Duemilanove board)
  • MAX7219 - 8 x 8 LED Matrix Driver (can also be used to drive 8 seven segment digits)
  • LM35 - Precision temperature sensors
  • TMP36 - Precision temperature sensors
  • 2N2222 - NPN Transistor
  • P2N2222A - NPN Transistor

Larger Items
  • DC Motor - A toy dc motor
  • Mini Servo - A hobby servo motor
  • DPDT Relays - A double pole double throw relay

Step 3: Circuit Library

Picture of Circuit Library
One of the benefits of this system is how easy it is to share circuits once they are drawn.

Here are a few we have used around our offices. (appologies at the moment they are solely Arduino based but we are working on a set to explore more general electronics principles)

(If you draw a circuit we'd love if you'd share it here (send us a message if you'd like collaborator privellages or e-mail us the file

(each circuit is attached to the bottom of this step in PDF and .svg format)

Arduino Based Circuits
  • CIRC-01 - A blinking LED
  • CIRC-02 - Multiple LEDs (connect 8 LEDs to your Arduino)
  • CIRC-03 - Using a transistor to drive a small motor
  • CIRC-04 - Attaching a hobby servo to an Arduino
  • CIRC-05 - Using a 74HC595 Shift register to drive 8 LEDs
  • CIRC-06 - Using a piezo element music to make music
  • CIRC-07 - Using pushbuttons
  • CIRC-08 - Using a potentiometer
  • CIRC-09 - Photo Resistors
  • CIRC-10 - Temperature sensing using a TMP36
  • CIRC-11 - Using a relay
  • CIRC-12 - Using a MAX7219 to drive a 8x8 LED matrix
  • CIRC-13 - Using a MAX7219 to drive a bicolor 8x8 LED matrix
  • BBAC-SHEET - A breadboard based Arduino


Laogeodritt (author)2016-03-10

Hi! I'm not sure if you're still maintaining these, but if so, I think it'd be the most useful to include generic DIP packages in the most common formats rather than a bunch of pin-annotated specific ICs—i.e. generic DIP8, DIP14, DIP16, DIP28, etc., maybe DIP4 for like rectifier chips and optoisolators. You have the DIP16 now, but other chip sizes require editing the graphic.

n8mni (author)2016-03-01

The Component Library can be found here
The Circuit Library can be found here

These links are broken.

BeeTrap (author)2013-05-26

4 years later and I say "Thanks for this ible". I may not use this info directly, but I am sure to get inspired every time that I go back over all of this.

ak47freak (author)2012-07-31

AWESOME!!!!! thank you for creating this instructable! I'm just getting started with Arduino and breadboard stuff. this will help out alot.

Kiteman (author)2009-06-22

That looks good, but I have a stupid question; I know PicAxe chips can be reprogrammed over and over - is the same thing possible with Arduino chips? Second, less-stupid question; Have you thought of producing something similar for PicAxe?

S1L3N7 SWAT (author)Kiteman2009-06-22

Yeah, the Atmel micro processors in an Arduino can be reprogrammed over and over.

ReCreate (author)S1L3N7 SWAT2009-06-23

Don't they have a to a few thousand read/write sessions?

S1L3N7 SWAT (author)ReCreate2009-06-23

Yeah, I think it's like 100,000 writes. So you'll never kill the chip.

ReCreate (author)S1L3N7 SWAT2009-06-23

Only 100,000 Writes? Ouch...that is very little, A standard Memory stick is Several billion

S1L3N7 SWAT (author)ReCreate2009-06-23

What? You will never surpass 100,000 writes on one of those. Besides, the Atmel ( or any other microprocessor ) isn't meant to be re-written over and over like a memory stick, they're made for two different types of applications. A microprocessor is meant to be programed once or however long it takes to get your code working, then it goes in to a permanent project. If you buy an Arduino, or anything similar you'll not need to worry about going over the 100,000 mark, and if you somehow manage that feat you can buy another microprocessor for $5.

ReCreate (author)S1L3N7 SWAT2009-06-23

Laugh out loud, So We're covered :P

S1L3N7 SWAT (author)ReCreate2009-06-24


ReCreate (author)S1L3N7 SWAT2009-06-24

Don't they have limited Read Sessions as all chips do?

S1L3N7 SWAT (author)ReCreate2009-06-24

I'm not sure about that. I don't think the longevity of the chip is necessarily measured in read/write cycles, but rather in its usage. If it's used constantly, it probably won't last as long, but under standard use it probably last quite a long time. Just look at some of the electronics you use everyday that contain microprocessors, they are probably in no danger of running out of reads. I have things with microprocessors that are almost as old as me that still work. And things even older, like an Atari and it still works fine.

Bot1398 (author)S1L3N7 SWAT2012-02-13

But what about a arduino it has to programmed many times as it cannot be embeded in a projects so we can make many projects with it and it gets reprogrammed many times

ReCreate (author)S1L3N7 SWAT2009-06-24

Ah yes, most of them have no more than 64K or storage, The smaller the chips the longer they last, in filesize, the first flash drive-16MB lasts longer than a tortoise's lifetime, While the Newest Solid state drives only last 5 Years At 1 Terabyte or so...

S1L3N7 SWAT (author)ReCreate2009-06-25

Wow! Only 5 years on a solid state drive? What a rip off.

jamwaffles (author)S1L3N7 SWAT2009-12-12

I really dont like SSDs - their read write lifetime is so pathetic and to be honest i feel safer with a SATAII spinning disk. so much for new tech always being a step forward...


PS. they wouldnt last 5 minutes let alone 5 years without the madly complicated wear-levelling algorithms implemented on them, wheres a normal HDD... NOTHING this is what hacks me off... they had to try SO HARD to get them just working for 5 yrs

And then theres the scary thought of servers running on them!?!?!?!


ReCreate (author)S1L3N7 SWAT2009-06-25

with heavy use...

TheNemo (author)ReCreate2009-06-29

Smaller sized flash memory chips do not last longer than larger sized chips. The reason they have different lifetimes is that a flash drive or card is written to rather infrequently, while a solid state hard drive is written to and read from constantly, as long as the computer is running (not quite, but close enough). Reading from eeprom on a chip like the Atmgega168 (the one the arduino uses) does not degrade the memory. The only thing that degrades the memory is writing to eeprom. Also, those 100,000 writes are just the base estimate that the chip manufacturer says the chip should be reliable for. It is very likely that the chip will last through maybe twice that many read/write cylces.

ReCreate (author)TheNemo2009-06-29

that's what i assumed it would be...

TheNemo (author)ReCreate2009-06-30

Sorry, was replying to swat, but something got messed up.

S1L3N7 SWAT (author)TheNemo2009-06-30

No, problem. It's all useful info.

ReCreate (author)TheNemo2009-06-30

Ah, I thought you where replying to me, as it was related to what i was saying..

ReCreate (author)S1L3N7 SWAT2009-06-25

Yeah...About 5 Years of Really Heavy Use, Then they run out of read-write sessions, This happened to me once with a 2GB MicroSD memorystick...After i hit the limit its filesystem corrupted, after it corrupted i tried to format, but it fails, and in disk management, it has a RAW filesystem...So...Yeah...That was bad...

stonechild (author)ReCreate2009-08-23

The Arduino Mega is based on the128k version of the ATmega1280. There are also 256k versions of the ATmega1280. These chips are not meant to run Photoshop.

ReCreate (author)stonechild2009-08-24


Kiteman (author)S1L3N7 SWAT2009-06-23


oomlout (author)Kiteman2009-06-22

Hey Kiteman; We haven't included the picAxe simply because we don't use it ourselves, However adding a picAxe pin-out is as easy as drawing it in Inkscape (you can use the pre-existing chips as a guide (if you draw it we'd love to add it to the component library)

Kiteman (author)oomlout2009-06-23

OK, thanks. I won't be making one anytime soon, though, as I am a microcontroller noob.

kiss my donkey (author)Kiteman2009-06-23

Yeah me too im just starting out with arduino myself.

hondaman900 (author)2010-03-25

Like RokGoblin said above, can't download the SVG file - just getting pages of XML. Any suggestions or is there a link to an alternate source?

RokGoblin (author)2009-08-08

Oomlout, Thanks for the great instructable(s). Your info is always helpful especially to us n00bs. I have a question, is the BREA-BreadboardDiagrams.svg file corrupted or is the host server possibly having problems? I get an XML (code) file displayed in my IE8 browser when I try to download the components file.

natantus (author)2009-06-22

This is just what I keep hoping to find on Instructables but never seem to come across. A way for people to do planning and construction before they actually get their hands dirty. Again, good job and please keep it up!

mrmath (author)2009-06-22

Shameless Plug=SPAM


oomlout (author)mrmath2009-06-22

:) very true, MrMath. Sadly the only way the boss lets us do these types of things during work hours is if we do the spamming. With the warning though we hope it at least becomes opt in spam.

Kiteman (author)oomlout2009-06-22

Going by previous comments from Eric, this is an acceptable Instructable - yes, you link to selling stuff, but you also show us how to do it if we don't buy the kit from you.

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More by oomlout:How to Breadboard Arduino Compatible.RGB LED Tutorial (using an Arduino) (RGBL)Solderless Breadboard Layout Sheets (plug and play electronics)
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