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I just used a hammer & nails to build a circuit – and I liked it!

Yes, I could rattle off a list of reasons to use more popular prototyping solutions, but none of them are as satisfyingly straightforward as nailing components to a piece of wood. Unfortunately, incorporating ICs into the build would likely be … well, tedious. Using the so-called “dead bug” approach would require soldering an individual breakout lead to each pin – do-able, but less than desirable.

In any case, this highly visible ‘classic breadboarding’ technique seems a great way to introduce newcomers to schematics and circuit construction – just be sure to keep any mechanical components free of crumbs.

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Collin Cunningham

Born, drew a lot, made video, made music on 4-track, then computer, more songwriting, met future wife, went to art school for video major, made websites, toured in a band, worked as web media tech, discovered electronics, taught myself electronics, blogged about DIY electronics, made web videos about electronics and made music for them … and I still do!


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Comments

  1. Steve Mazza says:

    My grandfather helped to spark my interest in electronics when I was very young. He used the same techniques as you. He’d select an appropriate piece of wood, hammer in some nails, tack down a socket (for example) for a light bulb, and hook up to one of those really large 12V batteries that used to run camp lights. It was like magic to me then how a pile of junk could be rearranged into something useful. Now I build hi-fi tube audio equipment in my spare time. And, of course, the right way… no PCB’s for me!

  2. Björn Jahn says:

    We used this type of breadboarding in 7:th grade (13 years old) but glued the schematics to the board and soldered the components. A great way to get started with electronics.
    My first build was actually the very same type of blinker! My second build was a Larsen scanner :)

    1. Dave Brunker says:

      That’s what I was going to say. In high school we took flat pieces of wood, glued schematics to them, added nails were the junctions went and soldered our components onto the nail heads. We didn’t get to use nice, new part, we had to scavenge them from old circuit boards.

  3. I really liked this video!

    A few years back I was in an antique store and saw this crazy circuit done on a large breadboard and I actually NEVER put it together – breadboard! I thought it was just a one-of-a-kind hack. Now I know different – thanks, Collin.

  4. Excellent stuff, reminds me of my first introduction to electronics in the 70′s with a Ladybird book (a popular series kids titles in the UK).
    A similar concept except it was a board with two rows of about 8 screws fitted with screw cup washers. You trapped the legs of the components under the washers to make connections. (There’s some radio examples from the book here http://www.mds975.co.uk/Content/trfradios02.html).
    Midge

  5. Fightcube says:

    Check this out… tubes and “bread” boards:
    http://www.sparkmuseum.com/BREADBD.HTM

    Pretty interesting video Collin. You’re always up to no good ;-) I was just asking a co-worker the other day why they called them breadboards. I never cared to know until the other week… and now I really know. Thanks for the knowledge ;-) -Brett

  6. I’ve always wanted to get started wiring and such and never gotten around to it, and this seems like a perfect, cheap place for a teenager like myself to start.

  7. I built my very first radio circuits on a wooden board because that’s what my book used (Ladybird – Making a Transistor Radio http://www.amazon.co.uk/Making-Transistor-Radio-ladybird-make/dp/0721403247 ). It was a father-son bonding exercise, he was a mechanical engineer but still curious enough to see how radios worked. There’s something about physically joining the things together like this that makes you think more about the circuit. Using screws meant it was easy to change components around and rebuild the radio. My parents still have it at their place.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I love watching videos from Collin. For some reason, his temperament and facial expressions just crack me up.

  9. Steve says:

    I sent this link to my dad and he just replied with:

    “Actually I used a piece of plank for just this kind of thing last week, testing (off-wall) a bathroom extractor fan.

    While I worked in the tropics, there were several stories of people finding real bugs in circuits. I wasn’t one of them, but I did have trouble with a Dual turntable running slow. A squirt of insecticide in the back brought out a rush of cockroaches and then the record spun up to speed.

    And then I remember the day when one of my colleagues in Samoa, a really bright radio engineer (he had previously designed and built his own PAL/NTSC converter), was fault-finding and actually found a hole in a resistor.”

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