Zero to Breadboard Simulation




About: Electronics Lab has moved to Tinkercad Circuits!

This instructable is a step by step guide to design and simulate a simple electronics project on 123D Circuits using a virtual breadboard design which is linked to schematic and layout views.

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Step 1: Create an Account

Go to and fill in your user name, email and password.

Step 2: Creating a Breadboard Circuit

Once you are signed in, you'll see your dashboard.
From here you can:
1. Make new circuits
2. Add new components
3. Import circuits from Eagle

>> click on "New circuit"

Now you have to:
1. Name your circuit
2. Choose if it's a regular schematic or one with breadboard view and simulation
3. Select Breadboard circuit
3. Click on "Create New!"

Step 3: Editor Overview

Here is an overview of the editor window:

1. The views: Breadboard, Schematic, PCB, Bill Of Materials
2. The Arduino: you can upload code, and connect components to the terminals. This can also be used as a power supply.
3. The breadboard: you can place components on this.
4. The controls.
5. Tool box: take here the basic components you need.
6. You can search for the components that aren't in the toolbox.
7. Chat box for collaborative editting. 

Step 4: Create Your Breadboard Design

The first included image shows what the internal connections of a breadboard are.

First delete the Arduino because we don't need it in this instructable.

Add an LED, a resistor and a button from the tool box and place it on the breadboard.

Now we want to add a power supply. Click on "Search Component", scroll down a bit and add a 9V battery. Connect everything up as can be seen in the screenshot.

We also need to set the resistor value. First we need to calculate the required resistance.

R=U/I    Resistance=Voltage/Current

The maximal voltage over an LED is 1.7V, and the Voltage of the battery is 9V. So the Voltage over the resistor must be 7.3V. An LED uses 20mA = 0.02A when on.

R = 7.3V / 0.02A = 365Ohm

Click on the resistor and set it's value in the inspector you can see at the bottom of the screen.

Step 5: Simulate the Circuit

To simulate the circuit push the play button. Now press the push button and the LED will light up.

Step 6: Get Insight in the Circuit Using the Multimeter

You can add multi-meters to measure voltage and current in the circuit. You see there is 20mA running through the circuit and there is 0.6V over the LED. If you make the resistance too small, you will see that the LED explodes because you are driving it with too much current. 

Good that this is a simulation, one more LED saved :)

Step 7: Show Off Your Design

You can embed your design on another site such as Instructables to show off your design. It even includes simulation!

To do this, visit the circuits page by clicking its name at the top. Click "Share Circuit", copy the embed code and paste it in your instructabe using the "Embed video" button.

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    27 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Is there a way to change the specs of LEDs? For example, I want to change the foward voltage and the Amps that the LED needs to work. Thank you in advance.


    3 years ago

    Thanks! This is super cool! My students will love it!


    4 years ago on Step 7

    Thanks for this. I never knew about this site. It will help.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Can you change the resistor's size? For instance, it takes 5 slots, can i change it so it takes 6?


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I've just opened an account and was trying to create a simple circuit, but the breadboard won't let me make the final jumper wire connection. I drag it, but the wire just disappears, Can't find anything in the Help. Can I impose on you?

    Ben Finio

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Anyone know if you can force a "top-down" view of the breadboard components so they don't take up so much space? For example, notice how the quasi-3D view of the LED in the image above makes it obscure several adjacent columns...that was my biggest complaint the first time I tried to use Fritzing (so bad, in fact, that I gave up using it because things like potentiometers and MOSFETs were just enormous), and I'm wondering if this would be a good alternative for realistic breadboard diagrams that might have tightly packed components.

    1 reply
    my wookieBen Finio

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    ya, its really annoying but theirs another one i kinda like, i'm wondering if its accurate but it still works for most things.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I haven't taken much of a detailed look yet. I'm wondering, since it can simulate Arduino does that mean that it can also simulate the ATMega line of microcontrollers natively? The 328 at least since that's what an Arduino contains?

    I like the idea of an Arduino but I much prefer to use these units in native mode.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    At what voltage? You have to remember, both resistance and voltage play a factor! At 350-Ohm, You should be no higher than 5V supply.. real-world, I use 220-ohm resistors for 5V output. 12V, nothing lower than 2.2K.

    Autodesk Circuitsonitreb

    Reply 6 years ago on Step 4

    You are right that was a mistake. The voltage over the LED is 1.7V not 2V. I corrected it. Thanks for the heads up!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I am just getting started teaching myself about electronics, so I can fix my CB & Ham radios. This just what I need to help me learn about how and why things work. Thank you


    6 years ago on Introduction

    First, thank you. This is great. I can try a whole bunch of things with out explosions in my face. I have never managed to get into electronics before. I have certain things that I think I know about electronics, but I haven't tested this knowledge.

    I had a problem with this instructable (as noobs will).

    My LED kept [simulating] explosion. Then I noticed that the resistor color bands change in the images. Now in my limited understanding of electronics I believe that the colors on resistors mean something, so I found [] which let me enter the colors of each band and it looks like we should use 420 Ohm for our Resistance setting to match the screen. Is that correct? It may be beyond the scope of this instructable to explain how to determine this number, but can you recommend a source that can help guide us in making this?

    Thanks again, this is a really nice way to learn some about electronics with limited risk.

    6 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    There are loads of online LED-Resistor calculators - my personal favourites are: for a single LED, or for arrays of LED's. They are by the same people, so each has a link to the other.

    Or you could take Evil Mad Scientist's ( advice and learn to do the calculations yourself.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent, that's what I was hoping for. Wading through Google search results when you are a noob is overwhelming. Not because there is a lack of information, but because it's hard to keep things in context when you do not yet have any context to keep things in.

    Your Evil Mad Scientist's link looks like just what I need. Thanks.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    It seems this way to me too. Here's the comment I was going to post before I saw that you already addressed this problem.

    I think there may be something wrong with this instructable? (It's probably me doing something wrong.)

    If I use a 350 ohm resistor my LED overloads. I am seeing 21mA and 1.74 V across the LED (not 615 mV like in the last page).

    If I use a 421 ohm resistor as the color code in the later pictures indicates the LED works correctly. I get 17mA. (and 1.74 V across LED still.)


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Also, I wonder if there is a way to see the detailed specs on the various components . . .