Introduction: How to Build and Use a Prototype Solderless Breadboard

In a previous video, I had built my own solderless breadboard from cheap ebay parts. This turned out to be a terrible idea since those cheap ebay parts turned out to be crappy and unusable. Aside from two of these small protoboards I bought from Olimex, the rest were garbage.

If you want to know precisely why these fake ebay breadboards are useless, check out Julian Ilett's video on the subject. He goes into depth as to why the suck. So I am disassembling my old breadboard, keeping the two genuine Olimex pieces and throwing the rest out.

Step 1: Removing Old Parts

I began by unsticking the bits of breadboard from the PVC sheet they were stuck to using a screwdriver. With that done, I recovered the binding posts to reuse in other projects.

Step 2: Wisher WB 106 Proto Board

I bought this solderless breadboard made by Wisher Enterprises called the WB 106. It has 1920 nickel plated contact points, made of phosphor bronze. And it was only 20 euros. What you will notice is that it is screwed to a piece of aluminium backing and the feet are already installed. I also got a new back of wire jumpers also from Wisher.

The first step was to insert the new binding posts into the holes. I then inserted permanent jumper wires at the halfway point of the boards since there is a gap in the ground and power rails that needed to be bridged.

Step 3: Adding Colour to the Power / Ground Rails

Since this model board is pure white, I decided to use a permanent marker to draw lines corresponding to the ground and power rails. I like to have the visual confirmation which sets the ground and power rails apart.

Step 4: Bridging the Power / Ground Rails With Jumper Wires

I then bridged all of the ground and power rails together using various sizes of jumper wires. With that finished, I branded the top with the Made 2 Hack logo.

The way solderless breadboards work is very simple. You have the ground and power rails that are positioned vertically. On this model of breadboard, there is also an extra ground and power rail that is horizontal towards the top.

Step 5: How Breadboards Work

If you look at the bare board, you will see the ground and power rails and how they are connected by the same piece of metal. And you can also see the gap at the mid point of the breadboard and the reason I used jumper wires to bridge the gap.

The components are inserted in the signal holes that are connected horizontally. Each of the pins on one row are connected to each other as you can see. Anything you plug into that row will make electrical contact with everything else plugged into that row. The horizontal signal rows also have a gap. Therefore, the pins on this 16 pin ic chip are isolated from each other by inserting the IC in such a way that it bridges the gap between two columns of signal rows.

Check out Sparkfun's tutorial on breadboards.

In order to supply voltage and ground to the IC, it is a simple matter of connecting jumper wires to the respective rails or a component directly as in the case of the resistor going to ground. You can also use components to bridge both sides of the IC such as in the diode that is inserted. And you can use jumper wires to connect components farther away on the breadboard to each other as in the case of the two wires going to the potentiometer.

I hope this video helped you understand solderless prototype breadboards and why they are an essential tool in electronics.

Comments

author
mikeeve (author)2017-03-25

I saw Julian Ilett's video. Do you have an opinion yet of the quality of the new breadboards vs your previous ones?

author
made2hack (author)mikeeve2017-03-26

Hi mikeeve,

I can tell you right away the difference is Huge! All of the holes are the same size and they are properly stamped. All of the leads fit right in even the very thin ones from resistors and tiny capacitors. The finish is excellent. My only annoyance is that I wasted so much time using my crappy breadboard.

But you live and learn.

author
mikeeve (author)made2hack2017-03-26

Thanks. You sold me! Here in the US, couldn't find the Wisher at Amazon.com, but I did find it for $25 at Diligent.com (outrageous shipping, though), or the same item at mouser.com (with reasonable shipping):
Mouser Part #:
424-BB-KIT-LARGE

author
made2hack (author)mikeeve2017-03-27

There is also K&H (I think also from Taiwan) that makes good breadboards. And of course 3M, the Rolls Royce of breadboards, but they are way too expensive in my opinion.

author
mikeeve (author)mikeeve2017-03-26

Oops. I meant Digilent.com not Diligent.com

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