If you have some free time over the holidays, perhaps you’re planning on finally diving into some electronics projects. If you’re new to hobby electronics, you may be unfamiliar with breadboards and how they work. Or, if you’re already a seasoned electronics enthusiast, there is always room for hiding a few more fancy tricks up your sleeve. Here are a few breadboarding quick tips that you might find useful regardless of your skill level.
What is a Breadboard?
This graphic describing how a breadboard works, and what all of the components are called, was put together by the wonderful Jody Culkin. It was used for a breadboarding workshop that we’ve run at Maker Faire.
Use Staples as Jumpers
Find Your ICs’ Pin-Out Label
There are now pin-out labels for many common microcontrollers and other ICs used in electronics. Do a search on “[your MCU] + pin-out + label.” By attaching a label to the top of the chip you are working with on your breadboard, you can see all of the pin-outs at a glance without having to refer back to its datasheet.
Need an Extra Supply Line to Your Benchtop Power Supply?
Attach a heavy duty paper clip to the main power terminals and then attach your probes and clip-on power cables to that. Just be very careful about not shorting anything out!
Breadboard Circuit Tester
To create a little breadboard circuit for testing output pins, solder up an LED with the proper resistor value and plug it into a two-pin female header. Now to test, simply plug this into your output pins to test for continuity.
Breadboard Battery Holder
You can make a quick battery holder on a breadboard by using two two-pin headers next to each other with a coin cell battery in-between. Just make sure to keep the polarity of the battery oriented properly.