Introduction: Breadboards for Beginners

Picture of Breadboards for Beginners

I see many Instructables, and other electronic projects using breadboards nowadays. Some people might think, "what is that?", or "How do I use it?" This Instructable will be used to help you answer those questions!

Breadboards are used for testing and experimenting with electronic circuits. I find them extremely convenient because they require absolutely NO soldering, and you just have to plug the component into the little holes that are provided on the breadboard.

Iguana Labs gave a few of these pictures and explanations. Thanks Iguana Labs!

Step 1: The Breadboard Connections

Picture of The Breadboard Connections

Breadboards consist of tiny "holes" in which the leads of the component connect into. Make sure that if you are using wire, use wire links, not the stranded wire, because it will crumple in the holes and damage your breadboard.

The top and bottom rows (the rows indicated by the blue) and are usually the (+) and (-) power supply holes and these move horizontally across the breadboard, while the holes for the components move vertically Each hole is connected to the many metal strips that are running underneath.

Each wire forms a node. A node is a point in a circuit where two components are connected. Connections between different components are formed by putting their legs in a common node. On the bread board, a node is the row of holes that are connected by the strip of metal underneath.

The long top and bottom row of holes are usually used for power supply connections.

Step 2: Connecting the Components

Picture of Connecting the Components

The rest of the circuit is built by placing components and connecting them together with jumper wires. Then when a path is formed by wires and components from the positive supply node to the negative supply node, we can turn on the power and current flows through the path and the circuit comes alive.

For chips with many legs (ICs), place them in the middle of the board so that half of the legs are on one side of the middle line and half are on the other side.

A complete circuit might look like the one below.

Step 3: Building a Circuit on the Breadboard

Picture of Building a Circuit on the Breadboard

The circuit schematic, and the layout on the breadboard will turn out entirely different. Anyone using a breadboard must focus on the connections rather than their place on the schematic.

When you use switches or potentiometers, you must use single-core plastic-coated wire of 0.6mm diameter (the standard size). Stranded wire is not suitable because it will crumple when pushed into a hole and it may damage the board if strands break off.

The rest of the circuit is built by placing components and connecting them together with
jumper wires. Then when a path is formed by wires and components from the positive
supply node to the negative supply node, we can turn on the power and current flows
through the path and the circuit comes alive.


Jjdec (author)2017-11-11

what are the connections of the breadboard/protoboard?

Varun Pandithurai (author)2017-02-26


russ_hensel (author)2015-03-14

Just a note to let you know I have added this ( a year ago ) to the instructable:

Comprehensive Guide to Electronic Breadboards: A Meta Instructable


Take a look at a bunch of project involving breadboards.

TracyO1 (author)2015-01-16

If you want to learn about circuits on breadboards check out

filippo69 (author)2014-12-17

5eBoard is the best solution for solderless boards especially for beginners. Modules can be placed anywhere on the board for easy clean projects.

TheJenx (author)2010-09-11

Sorry, I'm new to this- can you explain what jumper wires are? I googled it but they just look like very short wires with the insulation stripped off the ends.

Make_Me_A (author)TheJenx2014-09-06

Jumper Wires are just normal solid core wires that are cut to size, with the ends snipped off insulation. They are used to connect the board's connections.

Stormed Wolf (author)TheJenx2011-08-17

Thats really all they are, You can buy them in kits that come with several different lengths. They're much more convenient than stripping your own wire.

bresser (author)2013-05-20

I have two questions:

1. If I understand correctly. From the article it says all the components are hooked together. So do I have to run wire from every component to eachother?
2. How can I understand the circuit pictures such as the second set of pictures on

sam48415 (author)2011-02-11

What the hell am i supposed to to do with the metal sheet that came, does it go on the back...why? (i assumed it went on back because of ahesive on it)

Stormed Wolf (author)sam484152011-08-17

They can be used (not ideally) to replace broken connectors on the back of the breadboard. Other than that, it doesn't really have a purpose. Although If one of those ever breaks you might as well just go and spend the money on a new one.

Astro8Nerd (author)2010-10-14

I'm a Sophomore in a High School for Construction Trades Engineering & Architecture ( Btw that's actually my Skool name) , and I'm Majoring In Engineering, and in my school they Teach Digital Electronics to engineering sophomores, and my Teacher demanded that we all get a BreadBoard, since then he's been teaching us how to do all of this stuff, today actually learned about parallel circuits, and some times i just don't understand what he is saying, not because this stuff is hard, but only because he has a thick Egyptian Accent, anyway i just wanted to say this Actually helped a lot, Homework is a breeze, thankss!!!

Brennn10 (author)Astro8Nerd2010-10-14

I am glad to hear it! Good luck in your studies, and stick with it!

Astro8Nerd (author)Brennn102010-10-14

Thanks i will, But can you give any tips on connecting LEDs? im actually stuck doing this, and i my teacher really never explained how exactly we do it

elpaps1993 (author)2009-09-15

can u tech me?

YellowZealot (author)elpaps19932010-04-06

 That's what this instructable is for. Read it, CAREFULLY, and for the love of god spell correctly.

D_H (author)2010-02-14

Good Lord! I just bought a breadboard.
Seriously got curious and broke it apart to see what it was inside
Its got some comb like structures. So... anyone planning to break open their board , save it.... (Nice Instructo there buddy)!

lillabibba (author)2009-07-27

Nice Instructable, very helpful!

Brennn10 (author)lillabibba2009-07-27


Alex Palfreman-Brown (author)2007-06-10

I bought one a few weeks ago. Breadboard, jumpers etc. I just don't have any components yet. Yah Boo sucks to me. I will be back to reread this when I do. Any suggestions for a cool project for an ABSOLUTE noob?

I suggest buying the book, "Electronics Projects for Dummies" All the projects use breadboards, and the projects give you a list of all the parts, and a step by step instruction, on how to go about building them. It also has lots of pictures which helps a lot too.

bobbyrae (author)Brennn102009-06-01

I have read through that book, I believe that Earl Boysen is one of the authors. It is a good book in regards to breadboarding. Another book I have, which I like even better for this is Circuitbuilding for Dummies by H. Ward Silver.

I have this book. It's great although I need the version called 'Electronics for F**kwits.

Is thata joke, or an actual book?

It really should be a book. Unfortunately it doesn't exist.

For Beginner , I recomend thisTHis One ,
And this

geeklord (author)2008-10-02

thx. Its surprising to me how much ive learned about electronics(aka how much ive become a geek-_-) through instructables!!!

fallenspirit123 (author)geeklord2008-10-12

Yeah, don't even get me started!!! man I love instructables!!!! This instructable has taught me alot

instructables are awesome

TheWelfareWarrior (author)2008-11-28

Wow, thanks, I just bought a solderless breadboard (i figured it'd save me messups on a regluar one) on a whim and couldn't figure it out for the life of me. Whats the most curent i can put to this bad boy?

DYLEGO (author)TheWelfareWarrior2008-12-06

you treat it just like wire. put as much current as you trhink fit. i wouldn't put more than a few thousand volts on it, just to stay well out of the peak voltage range... how many volts are you wanting to put in?

TheWelfareWarrior (author)DYLEGO2008-12-07

current... or amps... are what make heat/fry things...

vivennex (author)2008-11-07

Thanks mate for the information.Instead of damaging the parts of the bot with soldering its better to breadboard the circuit before.

=SMART= (author)2008-09-05

Dang im still pretty confused but this has helped alot ! Thanks Brennn10 :D

Unit042 (author)2008-07-17

Nice ible, it's nice to see someone covering electronics basics in a clear, and comprehensible manner. One mistake I saw, is that on the intro image, you mention "rows" when you point at columns. You might want to double check.

Derin (author)2008-06-25

oh man the strands are nothing i broke a graphite lead inside one

fortneja (author)2008-04-02

Ugh, I hated these things in my electronics class (e-fundies), and I was very relieved to finally just solder everything. They are good for beginners and labs, though.

znorris (author)2007-09-10

Looks like a big chunk of this instructable was taken directly from:
If you aren't associated with them, please at least give them credit.

OH and thanks for posting it, i learned something new.

Brennn10 (author)znorris2007-09-11

Done, and done! Thanks!

Myself (author)2007-06-10

The Radio Shack breadboard pictured in step 3 offers a unique teaching opportunity. Unlike the more common style pictured in the intro and step 2, the cheap RS model uses a sticker as its underside. Peeling that sticker back will reveal the horizontal and vertical buses, a picture of which could be very instructive.

T3h_Muffinator (author)2007-06-09


Breadboards are the best, they save a lot of soldering time. The absolute BEST for prototyping and debugging!

I'm using two breadboards right now, and I'm so glad that I have them as my nice little pets.

You might want to make a note; BREADBOARDS ARE NOT EDIBLE, unless you really want to taste them =P

Brennn10 (author)T3h_Muffinator2007-06-09

Well breadboards have been new to me the past few months. If you want to add to it, I can make you a collaborator. You probably can add some more info on the circuit making etc. etc.

T3h_Muffinator (author)Brennn102007-06-09

I wouldn't be able to add something for quite a while (I'm super busy, unfortunately, with school.)

PocketSized (author)2007-06-09

I remember when I first started electronics (not that I'm anygood now). I'd never even touched a resistor but decided to buy myself a breadboard just for the shear excitement of it, needless to say I was rather simple minded and it didn't take long before the breadboard stumped me... lol, what I would have given for an Instructable all about my new mystical 'thing' that I had brought. nice job.

Brennn10 (author)PocketSized2007-06-09

Im glad I can help : )

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