Comprehensive Guide to Electronic Breadboards: a Meta Instructable





Introduction: Comprehensive Guide to Electronic Breadboards: a Meta Instructable

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Breadboards sometimes know as prototyping boards or proto boards are a quick way of working up and experimenting with electronic circuits. Originally breadboard circuits were circuits built on real wooden breadboards. Some commercial products like Atwater Kent radios were built this way. More recently the term refers to plastic boards loaded with connection points that accept wires and components and include some pre-wired connections. Many instructable articles have been written about breadboards and prototyping with them.  This is a pretty comprehensive guide to them ( but not in the guide format, comment? )

Not included projects that just happen to use a breadboard. ( Also I generally do not watch videos, so I have excluded them here. ) If you are an author of a breadboard instructable that you think I should have included, please let me know.

A note on the images in each step, each comes from the first instructable mentioned the step.

Step 1: The Basics

The basics show a bit on how breadboards work and how to set up your circuits.  Good place to start if you have not used them before.

Step 2: Powering

Most interesting circuits need some power.  How to do it?  Check out some various methods.

Step 3: Components and Connectors

Some components need a little help in being plugged in.  Ideas abound.  This section excludes micro controllers like the arduino, the next section covers them.  In several of the instructables below the component is connected to a header which plugs into the breadboard better than the leads or connectors on the device.

Step 4: Plugs, Wires and ….

So you stick your components into the breadboard but then you need some way to connect them together or to something external. Some wires work better than others. Many wires need a little help in making good connections. Instructable members have thought about this as well:

Step 5: With Microcontrollers

Add a microcontoller like the Arduino.  Now you have a lot of pins to deal with.  Here are some approaches.

Step 6: Labels

Putting labels on the breadboard can help you do your wiring.  Here are some ideas:

Step 7: Advanced and Tips

    When you get good at the basics here are some more advanced tips that do not fit into my other categories.

    Step 8: Breadboard Setups

    Here are some completed breadboard setups by members:

    Step 9: Other Ideas

    I was not sure how to organize these, so they became other!

    Step 10: Historic Breadboards, Offsite Not Instructable Links

    Breadboard circuits have produced some beautiful things. Atwater Kent radios are famous. Some hobbyist still work to produce work in this style. These are links outside of instructables to historic and recreated breadboards.

    • The Sparksmusuem has some great photos and information on Atwaker Kent radios. Here is one page from their site: The picture here is from their site.

    Step 11: Recreating Historic Breadboards

    Traditional breadboard circuits are built on a breadboard, or a least a board. People are still doing these. These often have a steampunk flavor. Here are more instructable links.



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      Nice collection, would love to be part of it - my breadboard on steroids!

      1 reply

      Thanks. I am no longer editing this ( a true instructable collection is much easier to maintain ) so the best way to add yours is in fact your comment.




      Just a note, when people not used to breadboards first look at a breadboard with components on it may be quite confused if it's not explained that each hole in a single line of 5 holes is connected to the other 4 holes in that line.

      If anyone here ever wants to try their hands at classic on wood breadboarding there are these little doodads I really like called brass escutcheon pins make great contact points. They're easy to solder to. 1/2 X 16 seems like a good size to use to me. Happy tacking! I suppose these would suffice too

      It is really just the fancy name for a particular kind of a special nail.

      Everything I was looking for. I'm a newbie to this knowledge area and I'm looking to learn and this guide will help me very much. Thanks man. Best instructable I ever seen.

      I'd like to add this link:

      These guys designed a collection of small modules/shields that sit on top of breadboards.

      Congratulations on one of the best meta-instructable ever.

      Great tips.
      1 hint, resist the temptation to use wire larger than #24 gauge.
      Larger will permanently spread the contacts and
      lead to lousy connections with thinner wire.

      I really like this and always wondered how breadboards got their name. Thanks

      My Dad worked with Major Armstrong during the development of FM radio, and Armstrong's standard technique was to use 2x4s. If you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. It was cheap, and when you were done, you could just chop off the excess. My hunch has always been that prototyping with 2x4s was far more common, and actual breadboards were used more when trying to make your circuit look pretty...

      My son and I started working on an arduino yesterday, and he asked me WHY it was called a breadboard... And today I was able to give him a real answer. Thanks!

      You have a bad link on the third entry...The Beauty of Breadboards.

      2 replies

      Fixed, let me know if you find other problems

      Afraid I have to agree that the page is not available :(

      Very nicely put together. Thanks.