Building Circuits: the Beauty of Breadboards





Introduction: Building Circuits: the Beauty of Breadboards

In this instructable i will teach you how to go from a schematic of a circuit to the real thing. (this is a followup to "how to read circuit diagrams". so if you haven't looked at that instructable now would be a good time). because this is directed towards beginning electronics hobbyists we will work with breadboards. essentially breadboards are the legos of the electronics world. you simply stick the leads of components into little holes on the breadboard and BAM! you have a circuit. breadboards are extremely convenient and easy (and re-usable), and require no soldering! its all pop-in/pop-out.

a breadboard, however, is constructed in a special way and you need to understand the basics of this before beginning to build.

Step 1: Basic Breadboard Structure

a breadboard has holes all over it designed to fit the leads of electrical components. these holes are connected in columns by conductive metal strips. on each breadboard there are always two sets of two rows on top and bottom. these are connected horizontally. these are usually used for the + and - contacts of the battery.
below i have attached an image showing how this pattern is arranged by outlining connected holes in green. i did not outline everything, just enough to show the pattern.

you use special jumper wires to go from one column/row to the next. a box of multiple sizes of these jumpers can be found at most radioshacks for quite cheap

or of course in ible style you can make your own

Step 2: Getting Our Parts

so this particular instructable is really just a follow up so we need to get some parts so we can build our flash light. below there is an image with specifications for what parts to get. remember you also need some way to attach the nine volt to the breadboard. the other parts will just slip in.
here are some good dealers cheap, fast delivery, my favorite
radioshack-expensive, but you dont have to wait for shipping if you have one near you
fry's- has a huge selection, reasonably priced

if you get the parts from mouser here are the exact parts''

Blue LED
604-L53MBC Kingbright T-1 5mm Water Clear, $2.52 each

29SJ250-1K 1 kilo-ohm, 1/4 watt, carbon film resistors, $0.07 each

9-V battery clip

and here they are from radioshack

Blue LED
276-311 Blue LED (5mm lens) $3.29

271-1118 1 kilo-ohm, 1/2 watt, carbon film resistors, $0.99/5

9-V battery clip
270-324 9-volt BATTERY SNAP, $2.59/5

Step 3: Building a Circuit

so now that you know how its arranged we can start building it

below i have attached a diagram to show one way of how we could go about this.

Step 4: GO BUILD

now you know all the basics!
get out there, find some plans for stuff you want to make, and MAKE IT

*please rate and comment



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    22 Discussions

    This helped a lot. I finished the first two chapters of Charlie Platt's Make Electronics and I still did not understand how to read circuit diagrams. I understood all the symbols but not how to connect everything. This article gave me an aha experience, a little lightbulb went up above my head, now I can put together a circuit just by looking at the diagram.

    Hey Thanks so much! My daughter was so happy to have turned on her LED! Hahaha. Cheers! This was the very first thing she used her breadboard for :)

    What kind of switch did u use?

    your intellectual generosity is much appreciated

    Very helpful! Thanks a lot!

    some breadboards(like mine) have the two rows for power in the middle and the columns at the sides of it

    1 reply

    expensive? they are something like $4 for a 500 tie point board... theres lots of websites that sell them cheaply.

    You get what you pay for. Not all breadboards are created equally. Quality ones will have gold plated contacts and a shielded backplane. Then again paying a lot for a breadboard doesn't guarantee that it will be a good one.

    $25-$35 Would be an average price I see.

    Well yes, but I don't see the breadboard parasitics becoming an issue for the average hobbyist. I would just spend for a $4 one and once you figure out that you need a better one, THEN spend $30, because odds are you wont need a good one. These days, if the circuit is affected by the breadboard, odds are it will be affected by ANY breadboard because of all the stray capacitance, etc, and you'll just have to lay out a PCB anyway.

     ah, well thats gotta be 10000 tie points... im talking like $4 for 1 board... thats like 12 boards

    More like 18 but who's counting? I've others here and there too. Point being I may have some perspective on this matter that others lack.

    Or to put it another way I've both good and bad and over 30 years to compare the two.


    “The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory.” -- Aldo Gucci

    i cant really buy from the internet. i havnt looked at the prices but at stores like radioshack(really expensive for everything) or Orvak there more like $20 for 100 tie board.