Introduction: 10 Breadboard Projects for Beginners

Breadboard is a great way to construct electronic projects easily and in less time without the need of soldering. A problem that is faced by beginners in the field of electronics is that they cannot solder the components neatly on printed circuit boards. One bad solder joint can lead to the project not working. When the project does not work, they eventually loose their confidence and cease to continue making projects. Before attempting another project, they have to think twice. Another problem faced by them is that if they try to solder and make a project, it does not work because of poor soldering or the circuit that was taken from a book or magazine lacked instructions or it was wrong. Now after spending a lot of time on making it, what they have to face is dissapointment.

This instructable gives a walkthrough of ten projects that can be made easily on a standard size breadboard thus solving the problem of hobbyists. Each projects is followed by a schematic, a breadboard layout, complete description with instructions, parts list and the difficulty level. The difficulty level increases as you make each project. Before making the projects a description of breadboard as well as electronic components is given which gives a complete understanding to beginners. All the projects are tested before they were added and all of them work.

It feels good sometimes to make something apart from arduino, microcontrollers and explore the world of digital and analog circuits. All the projects do not use any microcontrollers thus making them non programmable. The parts can be easily obtained and are cheap. All the circuits were picked from internet, books and magazines but most of the projects were taken from Talking Electronics (A special thanks to Colin Mitchell for his projects). All the schematics and breadboard layouts were made using Fritzing library.The Projects can be modified to use them in a different and better way and to use them for other applications.

Update: Corrections have been made in schematics and breadboard layouts.

Here is a list of all the projects in the correct order:

  1. Musical Bell
  2. IR Remote Tester
  3. Static Electricity Detector
  4. Ticking Bomb
  5. The Fading LED
  6. Light Activated LED
  7. Dark Activated LED
  8. LED Dimmer
  9. Single Chip Electronic Dice
  10. Manual Counter

Here is a video of all the projects WORKING!

Update 2: Added a video of Project 1- Musical Bell. Rest of them will be added soon.

Update 3: Added a video for Project 2- IR Remote Tester:

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Step 1: Update: 5 More BreadBoard Projects for Beginners

Published on 6th September: Let's Make! 5 More BreadBoard Projects For Beginners

After crossing 300K views, receiving tons of positive feedback and a lot of people recommending to post more such projects, I decided to post one more instructable on BreadBoard Projects For Beginners. This one follows the same concept, just that it has 5 projects instead of 10. It was a lot of trouble selecting the best of simple circuits, and due to shortage of time I limited this one to just 5. I will surely try posting one more such I'ble.

The following projects have been presented:


Here's a video of all the projects in action:

Step 2: Parts and Tools

Here's the list of all parts required. Some of them can be removed if you don't want to attempt all the projects. The total cost of all the parts is around $5 or 300 INR which varies according to the store of website you buy the parts from.

You can buy this awesome breadboard kit online: MB - 102 Solderless Breadboard Kit

Resistors can't be bought online separately. Hence you can buy this resistor pack which contains all the values used here: 50 Values 1/4W Metal 1 Percent Film Resistors Resistance Assortment Kit 1000PCS

Similarly, this capacitor pack: Beginner Parts 1/4W Resistor and Capacitors Kit for Arduino


1) ICs:

• 1x UM66
• 1x 555 timer
• 1x 4026
• 1x 4060

2) Transistors:

• 3x bc547 or 2n2222 or 2n3904
• 1x bc557

3) Resistors: 50 Values 1/4W Metal 1 Percent Film Resistors Resistance Assortment Kit 1000PCS

• 1x 220 ohm
• 1x 33K
• 1x 47K
• 2x 1M
• 1x 100K
• 1x 4.7K
• 1x 680 ohm
• 1x 470 ohm
• 1x 2.2K
• 2x 1K

4) Capacitors: Beginner Parts 1/4W Resistor and Capacitors Kit for Arduino

• 2x 10uf (electrolytic)
• 1x 100uf (electrolytic)
• 1x 100nf (non- electrolytic)
• 1x 10nf (non- electrolytic)
• 2x 1nf (non- electrolytic)

5) Miscellaneous:

• 2x 1.5v AA or AAA batteries (Buy Link)
• 1x Battery holder (Buy Link)
• 1x 9v battery
• 1x 9v battery holder (Buy Link)
• 1x Toggle switch
• 1x 8 ohm speaker
• 1x IR receiver (TSOP) (Buy Link)
• 6x LEDs (Buy Link)
• 1x LDR
• 2x 1n4148 or 1n4001 diodes
• 1x 50K or 47K potentiometer
• 1x Momentary push button
• 1x 7 segment display
• 1x Breadboard (Buy Link)
• Hookup or jumper wire (Buy Link)


Step 3: Know About Breadboard

Breadboard is a base for constructing electronic projects and prototyping electronics. It can be a great option for beginners with the purpose of creating easy and temporary projects without the need to solder the components. It is a great way to construct temporary projects as almost all the components can fit in easily (not the ones with thick leads) in the holes. Almost all the components can be plugged in and out easily thus making it easily to contruct almost all electronic projects. It has mainly two types of rows in a breadboard- bus rows or horizontal rows and vertical rows.

Bus rows or horizontal rows are used to connect power or a battery to a breadboard. There are a total of four bus rows in a breadboard- two in the uppermost part while two in the lower part. In a 840 points breadboard, a divider is present in each row when halfway of a row is completely. Usually these dividers are connected through hookup wire to easily connect the power lines to the vertical rows.Bus rows are also called the power rails of the breadboard.

Vertical rows are another type of rows where most of the electronic components are connected. There is a large gap in the middle of the breadboard where the connection between the vertical rows is broken. This place mainly holds integrated circuits (ics). Since the connection is broken here, each vertical row is connected to its respective pin of the ic where components are added. Vertical rows are connected to bus rows wherever power is needed.

Breadboard is available in various shapes and sizes to meet the needs of a project. They also have grooves through which they can be inter-connected to each other to make bigger breadboards. A special type of wire called hookup wire of jumper wire is used to make connections in a breadboard. Using other types of wires can damage it.

Check out amandaghassaei's How to: Breadboard guide for more details about breadboard.

Step 4: Know About Electronic Components

Before you start making the projects, you should understand the functioning of every project to know what are you really doing. For this you need to know about important electronics components used in a circuit. So here is a brief description of all the electronic components used in the projects. I have left the ones that are not used in the projects and are too complicated to understand.

Check out randofo's Basic Electronics guide that teaches you almost everything about basic electronics.

(1) Resistor:

A resistor is a device that reduces current in a circuit by offering obstruction to the flow of electrical current. So if you connect an LED directly to a 3v battery and then connect it by adding a resistor in series. The brightness in the second case would be lower than the first one as the resistor in the second case would not allow much current to pass through thus reducing the brightness. Resistance is measured in ohms, kilo ohms and mega ohms.

(2) Capacitor:

A capacitor is a device that stores electricity inside it when it is supplied and gives it out in a circuit when there is a loss in electricity. It is like a rechargeable battery but there is a lot of difference between them. A capacitor can store a small amount of current and can charge instantly whereas a battery can store a large amount of current and takes a while to charge. There are many types of capacitors but the two common types are- electrolytic (polarized) and non electrolytic (non polarized). Capacitance is measured in pico farads, nano farads and micro farads.

(3) Transistor:

A transistor is a device that amplifies a small current applied on its base pin to produce a large current that flows between the collector and emitter pins. It does not create a large current but acts as a switch which when supplied a small current on the base pin, closes the switch (switches it on). There are two types of transistors- NPN and PNP.

(4) Integrated Circuit (IC):

An integrated circuit is a small package that is made for a particular task. It has a miniature inbuilt circuit that has many components inside it can perform a particular task. For example- a 555 ic is meant for timing circuits and LM386 is meant for amplifying audio signals. It is usually a small black chip with pins coming out. There are 3 pin ics as well as 32 pin ics and even more.

(5) Diode:

A diode is a device that allows current to flow only in one direction. This is the reason it has polarity and should be connected correctly for its proper functioning. It is used to prevent the reverse flow of current.

(6) Light Emitting Diode (LED):

A light emitting diode is a special type of diode that can emit light when electricity is passed through it. Like a diode, an led also allows current to flow only in one direction so to make it work it should be connected properly in a circuit. These days LEDs are preferred over lightbulbs as they consume much less electricity than bulbs and CFLs. They are available in different shapes, sizes and colors but being energy efficient, their cost is much high.

(7) Potentiometer:

A potentiometer or a variable resistor is a device that allows us to choose different resistances that may be required in a circuit. It has a knob that can be adjusted to produce a specific resistance.

(8) Light Dependent Resistor (LDR):

An LDR is a special type of resistor that changes its resistance according to the intensity of light falling on it. The resistance of an ldr increases when it is dark and decreases when the intensity of light falling on it is high.

(9) Infra-Red Receiver (IR receiver):

An IR receiver is a device that receives infrared light and gives an output depending on the signal received. It decodes and tells the type of signal received. It is present in all the devices that are controlled using IR remotes.

(10) Seven Segment Display:

A seven segment display is a device that is used to display digits and letters. It has usually a series of seven leds put in a certain odder to form an 8. All the digits can be displayed by lighting a certain number of leds. It also has an extra led for decimal point.

Step 5: Make a Permanent Power Supply

A problem that you have to face in every project is what power supply to use? In this instructable, all the projects that are mentioned are low power projects that do not suck too much power. High power ics and motors are not used here so a 9v battery would be ideal as a power supply for the projects. The first project that is a musical bell uses a um66 ic which cannot be supplied a voltage more than 4.5v. So in that project you need to substitute the 9v battery with two 1.5v batteries. Rest all other projects can be powered safely with a 9v battery. An adjustable power supply can also be a good option for powering the projects.

As for now, connect a switch to the breadboard as shown in the image above. Connect two small pieces of hookup wire to the 9v battery clip as well as the 3v battery holder. Do not connect a battery or a power source right now as we will see to that later.

Step 6: Make a Simple LED Circuit

Before you start attempting the projects, it is necessary to make this simple circuit that involves only an led with a resistor. This is only for absolute beginners who have not made anything before and you may skip it if you have worked before with breadboard.

Connect the negative lead of led to the negative power rail of the breadboard. Now connect a 470 ohm resistor to the positive power rail and the other lead of resistor to the positive lead of led. A resistor is added here to prevent the led from burning as a 9v battery gives a higher current than the led requires. Connect a 9v battery to the power rails through a battery clip. Now switch the circuit on, this will make the circuit closed (on) and current will flow from positive to negative thus illuminating the led. After that switch it off, now the led will stop glowing as you have made the circuit open (off). As the circuit is broken, current will not flow thereby not illuminating it.

Note: Use a 1K resistor instead of 220 ohm for better results. Using a 220 ohm can damage the resistor as well as the LED.

Step 7: Project 1: Musical Bell

Description: This is simple project that can be made easily in five minutes. It is a musical bell that produces a melodious sound just like doorbells. It uses the um66 ic popularly known as the melody ic which has a built in oscillator and an amplifier which can directly drive a buzzer but needs an external circuit to drive a speaker. The supply voltage if the ic is 1.5 - 4.5v so cannot be powered by a 9v battery.

Instructions: Connect everything to the breadboard according to the layout given above. Refer to the images above for the pin configurations of the transistor as well as the ic. Connect a battery holder with 2 AA or AAA batteries to the power rails of the breadboard. Do not connect a 9v battery as it would burn the ic. On switching it on, a musical sound will be heard.

Difficulty: Easy

Parts List:

• 1x UM66 ic
• 1x bc547 or 2n2222 or 2n3904 transistor
• 1x 1K resistor
• 1x 8 ohm speaker
• 2x AA or AAA batteries
• 1x Battery holder

Related Project: Check out buildcircuit's Infrared based music transmitter and receiver that uses the same circuit but can transmit and receive music through an IR led and a photodiode.

Here is a step by step video of the same:

Step 8: Project 2: IR Remote Tester

Description: This is another simple project to learn about infrared light. It is an IR remote tester which can be used to test an IR remote whether it is working or not. IR remotes are basically TV or music player remotes. The circuit makes use of an IR receiver which gives a repeated high and low output when it receives infrared light. TV remotes have an IR led in front of them which is use to transmit signals so if the led is working and the receiver is receiving, that means the remote is working. Since infrared light has a higher wavelength than our eyes can see so we are not able to see it however it can be seen clearly using a camera. The circuit is so modified that if you press a button on the remote, an led will glow indicating that the remote is working.

Instructions: Connect everything according to the layout given above. Refer to the image above for pin identification of the components. Connect a 9v battery to the power rails and switch it on. Now bring an IR remote near it and press any button. The led would glow indicating that the remote is working.

Note: Use a 6v battery instead of a 9v as TSOP can handle voltages upto 6v only. Giving it a higher voltage can damage it however it still works with it. Also use a 470 ohm instead of 220 ohm connected to the LED for better results.

Difficulty: Easy

Parts List:

• 1x IR receiver (TSOP)
• 1x bc557 transistor
• 1x 10uf capacitor
• 1x 1K resistor
• 1x 220 ohm resistor
• 1x LED

Related Project: Check out ynze's RC circuit for a Bibberbeest/vibrobot that moves on pressing a button on a tv remote. The circuit is a little different but uses the same principle of the circuit mentioned above.

Here is a step by step video for the same:

Step 9: Project 3: Static Electricity Detector

Description: You may have read that static electricity is the type of electricity in which the charges are at rest. It is present almost everywhere around us. So this is a project which can check the presence of static electricity around us. If you touch it to anything, the led will glow indicating the presence of static electricity. The circuit is so sensitive that it can detect your hand even if keep it near to the antenna without touching it.

Instructions: Connect everything as shown in the layout about. Look at the image above for the pinout of bc547. Extract a piece of wire from the base of the third transistor which will act as an antenna to detect charges. After completing everything, switch it on and bring your hand close to the antenna. The led would glow dimly. Now touch your finger to the antenna. This time the led would glow brightly.

Note: Use a 470 ohm instead of 220 ohm connected to the LED for better results.

Difficulty: Easy

Parts List:

• 3x bc547 or 2n2222 or 2n3904 transistors
• 1x 220 ohm resistor
• 1x 100K resistor
• 1x 1M resistor
• 1x LED

Related project: Check out this Ridiculously Sensitive Electric Charge Detector that uses another circuit but does the same job.

Circuit Source:

Step 10: Project 4: Ticking Bomb

Description: This project uses a 555 timer ic which is the most commonly used timer ic by hobbyists. This project will produce a sound just like a ticking bomb as it is clear by the name. The 555 timer is wired in astable multivibrator mode so produces a square wave output waveform which is nothing but switching the output between high and low. The circuit is set at a frequency of 1hz so it produces a tick every 1 second. The frequency of the circuit is determined by the value of the resistor and the capacitor present on the left hand side of the circuit. Another capacitor is added at pin 3 to stabilize the output to drive a speaker. An led can be added in place of speaker by removing the capacitor at pin 3.

Instructions: Connect all the parts on the breadboard as per the layout given above. Be careful when putting the ic on the breadboard and make sure that the small semi-circle present on the top of the ic should face left hand side when looking from the front. Do not alter the power supply which was made earlier in step 4. On switching it on, you would hear tick-tick sound coming from the speaker.

Difficulty: Medium

Parts List:

• 1x 555 timer ic
• 2x 10uf capacitors
• 1x 47K resistor
• 1x 8 ohm speaker

Related Project: Check out taipeihackerspace's Ticking Bomb Package that can be packed in a box and used as an april fool's day prank.

Circuit Source:

Step 11: Project 5: the Fading LED

Description: As the name already tells, this project fades an led high and low. This is done through the capacitor that is added on pin 3 which repeatedly charges and discharges producing a fading effect which is quite pleasing to see than to think.

Instructions: Make all the connections looking at the layout above. On switching the circuit on, the led would fade off then fade on and will repeat until you switch it off. You can try different led colours to produce better effects.

Note: Use a 470 ohm instead of 220 ohm connected to the LED for better results.

Difficulty: Medium

Parts List:

  • 1x 555 timer ic
  • 1x bc547 transistor
  • 1x 33K resistor
  • 1x 220 ohm resistor
  • 1x 100uf capacitor
  • 1x LED

Related Project: Check out soraj619's USB Fading Star that uses the same circuit but the leds are wired in the form of a star that fades up and down.

Circuit Source:

Step 12: Project 6: Light Activated LED

Description: As explained earlier, ldr is a device which gives a certain resistance depending upon the light falling on it. So this circuit makes use of and ldr to switch on an led when it receives a high amount of light falling on it. An ldr gives a low resistance when receiving more light so the 555 timer is triggered when light falls on the ldr and the output becomes high switching on the led. The output becomes low when no light is falling on it.

Instructions: Connect everything according to the layout given above. Ldr has no polarity so connect it in either way. Now switch the circuit on, the led would glow if there is enough light in your surroundings. Now enter a dark room, the led would go off. On putting a glowing torch just above the ldr, the led would glow again.

Note: Use a 470 ohm instead of 220 ohm connected to the LED for better results.

Difficulty: Medium

Parts List:

• 1x 555 timer ic
• 1x 100nf capacitor
• 1x 10nf capacitor
• 1x 10K resistor
• 1x 4.7K resistor
• 1x 220 ohm resistor
• 1x LDR
• 1x LED

Related Project: Check out C.V. Hariharan's 555 Timer Based Light Seeking Robot that uses the light detector circuit to make a light following robot. The circuit can also be used as a burglar alarm and a morning alarm.

Step 13: Project 7: Dark Activated LED

Description: This project has a reverse configuration of the previous project. It can detect the presence of darkness. The 555 timer is triggered when ldr receives low light making the output high and switching on the led while when more light is detected, the output becomes low switching off the led. This type of circuit is used in automatic street lights that switch on automatically when it turns dark.

Instructions: If you still have the previous project on your breadboard, do not alter the connections but just switch the connection of ldr i.e. connect it to gnd (-) and change the 4.7K resistor to 100K. On switching the circuit on you will notice that the led will not glow initially. Now keep your hand above the ldr to block the light or enter a dark room. The led would glow this time as the ldr is not receiving light.

Note: Use a 470 ohm instead of 220 ohm connected to the LED for better results.

Difficulty: Medium

Parts List:

  • 1x 555 timer ic
  • 1x 10K resistor
  • 1x 100K resistor
  • 1x 220 ohm resistor
  • 1x 100nf capacitor
  • 1x 10nf capacitor
  • 1x LDR
  • 1x LED

Related Project: Check out ManishVarma's Automatic Streetlight System that uses the circuit to switch on a street light when it turns dark.

Step 14: Project 8: LED Dimmer

Description: This is a project used to change the brightness of an led by varying the resistance using a potentiometer which has a knob that can be turned to set it at a particular value. The circuit is somewhat similar to PWM (pulse width modulation) circuit which is used to control the speed of motors. The brightness is altered by switching the led between on and off at a fast rate which reduces the brightness. The rate is controlled by the potentiometer thus changing the brightness.

Instructions: Connect everything according to the layout given above. Make sure you connect the diodes in the right way as they have polarity. Switch the circuit on and turn the pot slowly. You will observe that the brightness of the led changes.

Note: Use a 470 ohm instead of 220 ohm connected to the LED for better results.

Difficulty: Medium

Parts List:

  • 1x 555 timer ic
  • 1x 1K resistor
  • 1x 220 ohm resistor
  • 1x 100n capacitor
  • 2x 1n4001 or 1n4148 diodes
  • 1x 50K or 47K potentiometer
  • 1x LED

Related Project: Check out my Desktop Lamp instructable that uses a similar circuit to change the brightness of 36 leds in a reading lamp.

Circuit Source:

Step 15: Project 9: Single Chip Electronic Dice

Description: Have you heard about electronic dice before? If not, it is a simple dice but instead of shaking it you have to press a button. The device will tell you a random number between 1 and 6 through a series of LEDs. The number of LEDs that light up will indicate the number. This project uses a 4060 counter that counts the clock pulses received sets a particular number of pins high. Pressing the button creates a fast clock pulse so the pins that would be high cannot be estimated. This is the reason that makes this dice a completely random number generator. The pins that are set high light up a series of leds that indicates the number. The good thing about this project is that it does not use any microcontrollers thus making it non- programmable thus making it cheap. Most of the projects that you may have seen require arduino or other microcontrollers. Truly speaking, this is the most tedious and time consuming project.

Instructions: Connect everything according to the layout given above. Make sure you connect everything properly as the connections are too many. Switch the circuit on and press the button. A certain number of LEDs will light up indicating the number which is completely random. Connecting the LEDs like a real dice in a certain order forming a rectangle would make the project look more good.

Difficulty: Hard

Parts List:

  • 1x 4060 ic
  • 1x 2.2M resistor
  • 1x 470K resistor
  • 1x 100K resistor
  • 1x 560 ohm resistor
  • 1x 470 ohm resistor
  • 1x 220 ohm resistor
  • 2x 1n capacitors
  • 2x 1n4148 or 1n4001 diodes
  • 6x LEDs
  • 1x Momentary push button

Related Project: Check out xBacon's ATtiny85/45/25 LED dice that uses an attiny 85 microcontroller instead of an integrated circuit.

Step 16: Project 10: Manual Counter

Description: Sometimes certain events are needed to count to make keep a record of a particular event. In this case electronic counters can be quite useful. They have a small button and a display to show the count. This is a smaller version and can count only from 0 to 9 however it can be increased by adding more LEDs. It uses a 4026 ic which a 7 segment display driver and counter. It counts the clock pulses received and displays in on a 7 segment display. A button is added here which sends a clock pulse to the ic whenever it is pressed. The ic counts it and advances a digit by one. To increase the number of digits, pin 5 of the first ic should be connected to the pin 1 of second ic. Connections of the second ic should be the same as the first ic. When the first ic completes the count from 0 to 9, it sends another clock pulse through pin 5 to the second ic to advance the tens digit by one. Similarly, hundreds and thousands digit can also be added. These type of counters were used in sports events and in factories but the coming up of technology has almost finished the use of these type of counters. Not denying their importance, they can be very useful sometimes as they can be made pocket sized and are quite handy.

Instructions: Connect everything according to the breadboard layout given in the picture above. Make sure you connect the seven segment display properly as connecting just one pin wrong would result in a display of digits that you may have never seen before. After connecting everything, switch it on. The display would show 0. Now press the button and the digit would advance by one. Similarly repeat the process till the count reaches 9. This time on pressing the button, the counter would reset showing 0 again on the display. If the display is not counting properly, add a 47nf capacitor or 2 22nf capacitors in parallel between the two terminals of switch.

Difficulty: Hard

Parts List:

  • 1x 4026 ic
  • 1x 10K resistor
  • 1x 220 ohm resistor
  • 1x 7 segment display
  • 1x Momentary push button

Related Project: Check out mischka's Advent Calendar for Geeks that uses two ics to make a two digit counter that can be used as a calendar by pressing the button everyday once.

Step 17: The End

So, you've learned a lot!!

That's the end of the instructable. Hope you liked it. I had no idea about the response of people to this instructable. I assure you if it will be good, I would make another instructable on it. If you think it was good, click the favourite button and do post your pictures if you have made them. Do not forget to comment or ask any questions if you have any doubt.

Thanks for watching :)