When breadboards break thy brain … build a better breadboard

When breadboards break thy brain … build a better breadboard

Bboardnest Cc

If you’ve been watching the Circuit Skills videos, you’ve likely heard me grumble a bit about using breadboards. Indeed, I have much respect for anyone who can keep using a breadboarded electronics project and have it remain functional indefinitely. I dunno – perhaps I’m just a bit too rough-and-tumble with my hardware, but how so many folks find the patience and grace to build complex projects using a bajillion unsoldered jumpers on a breadboard, I may never know –

Crasyjumperwiring2 Cc
photo by Sebastian Tomczak, one of his many daring breadboard builds

Seriously people – I love electronics, but for me, building something like the above image is akin to playing some kind of sadistic circuit Jenga. One false move and I’ll have to recheck every wire!

So instead of continuing to gripe about such a widely-loved experimentor’s platform, I decided to have a go at making my own. I figure the majority of my b-board woes stemmed from the fact that each metal clip/contact is tucked away beneath that iconic plastic bezel grid. That grid does a good job of insulating connections from wayward leads and such, but I’m willing to give up that safeguard in exchange for some more reliable connections.

Machinepinheader Cc

I’m a big fan of these fancy ‘machine-pin’ headers, mainly because they can connect to several different lead sizes and do so with a surprisingly firm grip.

After finding a good deal on a bunch of those header strips, I also come across some unusual perfboard with IC/bus connections modeled after the familiar breadboard layout. One rather lengthy soldering session spent combining those items left me with my very own machine-pin breadboard alternative –

Headerboardclose Cc

A “headerboard”, if you will … err, “socketboard” mayhaps. Whatever you call it, this thing makes some impressively sturdy non-permanent connections. One downside though – the headers won’t accept some wider leads (power diodes, etc) but the directly accessible (and visible) contacts just feels more reliable and manageable. And for me that worth adapting a couple of leads for.

So what’s next? Thinking I may have a go at the decidedly old-school real wooden breadboard + nails & wire –

Woodenbboarding Cc
photo by crochambeau of experimentalists anonymous

… umm, perhaps strictly as a bit of historical research. yeah.

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