Introduction: 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

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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)
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Step 1: 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

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

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