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Needed: a trick to debug a circuit on a breadboard - (The Spaghetti Incident) Answered

The situation:
I'm prototyping a circuit with a 14-legged logic IC on a breadboard.

What happens:
The picture tells it all: The breadboard looks like a Spaghetti Incident. What a mess. It's hard to find the right holes between all the leads sticking out, and avoiding shorts is even trickier.

And of course:
The circuit doesn't work. Not suprising considering the chaos. No biggie, but debugging a circuit on such a breadboard is a real pain!

So please:
Share your tips / tricks / magic to keep a proper and readable circuit on a breadboard.

Thanks! Ynze

PS: The circuit is not very complex btw. It's a solar engine, with one logic IC (NAND gates) and about 15 other parts. The circuit does contain feedback loops, which make it a bit trickier...

Discussions

Put some masking tape on the ic or the side of the board to mark the pins.

I got it all rounded up now thanks to your tips!

- I used a bigger breadboard
- I marked the IC's pins on the breadboard
- and I wrote the pin-numbers in the circuit, too.

Thanks!

The spaghetti-incident occurs around the IC, a bigger breadboard won't prevent that I guess. Marking the pins on the side of the board is a smart tip, though :-). Thanks!

What is that an SN74LS08?

Check out how I wired the ICs in this Instructable in step 8 I have a SN74LS08.

https://www.instructables.com/id/Emergency-Flashers/

Keep the data sheet close for reference if you don’t have the data sheets you can get them here.

http://www.maxim4u.com/

And here for free, just enter the part number in the search box.

http://www.alldatasheet.com/

Short wires flat to bread board and spread out the components keeps it easy to read, plus a large bread board is good for that.

and one more: I think I saw this tip from MAKE (the other guys), clean off heavy duty stapler staples with acetone - there is some invisible coating - and then use them for tiny jumpers instead of bulky wire jumpers that you have to strip and make.

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janw

5 years ago

You really need a much larger breadboard! Then you can use more space between your components. The trick with breadboards is not trying to cram to much components in a tiny space. I use a board that is 3 times the bigger one in your picture and I'm often still out of space.

Are you building BEAMbots?

...and I noticed your maiden I'ble is a beam bot, too :-)

Yep, it all started for me with BEAM bots and I did build a fair amount of them. They are great starters projects.

Yes I am building a solar Beam Bot and having a GREAT time! I tested three different circuit to power a motor with a small solar cell. The one on the breadboard is really a killer circuit. I got it working now and the motor is running in extremely poor light!

Also, label the leads that come off of your breadboard or breakout board. Masking tape also helps bundle wires so you can trace your circuit more easily.

DSCF6105.JPG
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janw

5 years ago

You really need a much larger breadboard! Then you can use more space between your components. The trick with breadboards is not trying to cram to much components in a tiny space. I use a board that is 3 times the bigger one in your picture and I'm often still out of space.

Are you building BEAMbots?

Don't ask me !!!… :/ I don't even have the notion of anything on your post (except short circuit : I'm a champ !…)
But I'm sure there zillions of Instructables members who are ready to give good advice.
Wish you luck !

PS. I simply don't know how you post got through my e.mail !…
So that's why I answered. Also to give you a little bit of twisted humor to enlighten your day so you won't be discouraged by knowing there is someone out there whose ability is much worse than yours.
Good luck again.

:-) Thanks. You probably got the mail because you're subscribed to me.

Oh yes !… I got it now : your wonderful crazy small robots !…

Please, please keep on the good works : I simply adore them !!!…

Wish my daughter was a kid again so I could have fun with her.

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gmoon

5 years ago

Only trick I know is to permanently mark the "rails" (+ and -) on each side of the board...

get a bigger breadboard , space the component's away for better readability & to prevent short circuit's. after you have the circuit you wanted(working ofcuorse) simply reduce the spacing & make a prototype on veroboard/perfboard