Introduction: Breadboard With a Control Panel

I wanted to breadboard a project but the nest of wires from this control panel were out of control.  This tutorial shows how I was able to organize the mess and make breadboarding much quicker work.

This would work great too if you have certain components you experiment with on a regular basis you can put them permanently in a control panel and then patch them from your breadboard.

Step 1: Organize Your Wires

First thing I did was to organize the rat's nest of wires onto my breadboard.  This is where you can plan which wires you want next to each other for convenient access on your breadboard.  I simply grouped components and placed the speaker, volume pot, and power on one end of the row.

Step 2: Cut the PC Board to Size

I took a scrap prototyping board and cut a few rows off the side of the board.  The part I trimmed off actual has numbers printed along the holes which is great for referencing the wires.

I used an exacto knife and scored a line in-between rows.  It probably would have been better to use a utility knife but I was using what I had on hand instead of digging around to find where I put my utility knife.   I'm not sure if this is how you are supposed to cut these boards but it seemed to make a fairly clean break when I snapped my strip.  If you have scrap proto board you can experiment cutting it.  Needless to say I've done this several times before to make smaller pc boards and to fit them into small enclosures.  I was able to easily trim the rough edge with a pair of scissors though I suppose you could use a grinder and sandpaper.  The scissors created much less dust.

Step 3: Solder Wires in Place

Next solder your wires to your strip.  Make sure enough bear wire sticks through the hole and extend into your breadboard.

Step 4: Trim the Wires

Now use wire cutters or pair of scissors to cut the wires even all the way across the strip.  Again make sure you don't cut the wires too short because you want the wires to slide into the holes on the breadboard.

Step 5: Attach the Strip to the Breadboard

Now carefully line up the wires with the holes and push them down into the breadboard.  I left the wires long enough that I could peek in-between to confirm which holes each wire went into.

Step 6: Conclusion

As you can see the holes in the proto-board line up nicely with the holes on the breadboard.

There you have it, you can now easily us a breadboard with your control panel.  Now if you have more wires that you are working with you may need to make several strips and may need more than one breadboard.  You may also choose to make smaller strips for each component or sets of components (potentiometer, switch, speaker, LEDs, etc) so you can be more flexible where you put them on your board.  I just wanted to have one long strip so I could easily index all my wires in one permanent configuration.