Breadboards are the most important component while learning circuit building. Today, in this tutorial, we’re going to teach you about breadboards that what they are, history of a breadboard, why we call it a “Breadboard”, why we use the breadboard, and the most important topic, How to use the breadboard. After a complete reading of this tutorial, you’ll able to use breadboards while building circuits.
In the past decade of radios, amateurs hammered uncovered copper wires to a wooden board (the board that is used for slicing bread) and soldered electronic components to them. At that time, schematic diagrams were made on papers and attached to the wooden board with glue. It was a good guide for the understanding of placing terminals in the right place. After placing terminals, wires and some other electronic components were installed according to the symbols on schematic diagrams. Breadboards are enhanced from time by time. If we talk about US patent 3,145,483, then it was filed in 1961. It consists of a wooden plate type breadboard along with scaled springs and some other prerequisites. And US Patent 3,496,419, which was filed in 1967, it signs towards a specific printed circuit board. These both US Patents explains some different kinds of breadboards as prior art. If you want to build a circuit right according to 1960, then one of the best technique, we'll recommend you is the wire-wrapping technique. Basically, wire-wrapping is a process in which you wrap the wires throughout the conductive posts that are fixed with perfboard. This technique is very convenient but it very complex but you know what, there is something which makes all these kind of processes much easier for beginners and that is Breadboard.
The breadboard that we use nowadays was designed by Mr. Ronald j. Portugal in 1971.
Breadboard – Why we use it?
This remarkable invention is normally used for prototyping and making temporary circuits. Breadboards do not need any kind of soldering. If we talk about prototyping, then it is a process in which we draw a preliminary sketch for testing the ideas. In simple words, if you’re not sure how the circuit will react after manufacturing according to the given premises, then it will be better for you to construct a prototype and examine it carefully.
Those students who have taken the first step towards the circuits and electronics, we will suggest them to start from the breadboard. Because breadboards have a spark to work in both conditions whether it is complexity or simplicity, it will never leave you alone. One more good habit of the breadboard is that you can use it to examine new parts like Integrated Circuits (ICs). It will free you from wiring and soldering again and again.
What is inside of Breadboards?
The ideal way to explain how the breadboards works, is to disclose the breadboard and see what lies inside the breadboard. If you want to explore what’s inside the breadboard and how they work, then we will suggest you, take start from the smaller one. Before jumping inside of breadboard, you must have to know about some major components that lies inside the breadboard. So at first, let's take a glance at:
Rows and Columns
After disclosing the breadboard, you'll discover some rows and columns along with some letters and numbers. They have no work except guiding you while making circuits because during building the circuits they (Circuits) start taking the steps towards the complexity. If you’ll not give proper concentration, then one tiny misstep can ruin your entire circuit’s functionality. That’s why there are numbers and letters on each row and column which helps you in remembering each and every step that you’ve taken on the breadboard. In short, these numbers and letters make plugging wire much easier as they were not before.
On both sides, the vertical lines that are marked with red arrows are known as Power Rails. These are like metal strips which are the same as in the rows. Whenever your circuit needs power, the power rails will always be available for you there. Generally, they give you easy access to power. They are marked with Positive (+) sign and Negative (-) signs and consists of blue, black and red strips. These different color strips show you the negative and positive sides.
Remember, additionally, both sides power rails are not connected with each other. If you want that both sides should be the same according to the power, then take some jumper wires and connect both sides power rails with jumper wires. While connecting the wires, we have to care about + and – but here, there are no rules but for safety and good practice, you can follow old rules (plug the power to + and ground with the negative) about connecting wires.
After opening the sticky back of the breadboard, you will a bunch of horizontal rows that consists of metal strips right beneath the breadboard. There are some clips that exist on the top of the clips. These clips are right beneath the plastic holes. The main function of these clips is to give you permission for sticking a wire into unsheltered cavity exists on a breadboard that helps it in holding.
Now, it’s time to do something practical. Insert an LED along with metal legs. It will be automatically connected electrically with anything placed in the row. This is just because the metal rows that exist right under the adhesive backing are conductive and allows the flow of current from any direction and from any side.
Normally, you can easily connect five electronic components in one specific breadboard’s section. Each row consists of 10 holes and each row is divided by crevasse or ravine exists right in the middle of the breadboard. Remember, this crevasse or ravine is not connected electrically.
DIP or Dual Inline Package, before continuing, as we’ve mentioned above that ravine is which separates the breadboards sides. But you know, ravine plays an important role. A lot of IC’s or chips are manufactured very sensitively for breadboards. The package in which they come is known as Dual in-line Package or DIP. The chips in this dual in-line package can easily fit themselves perfectly right above the ravine. Both sides on the IC’s are special. Sometimes, we don’t want to connect both sides and that’s the place where the separation play an important role on the breadboard.
There are some kinds of breadboards that come along with binding posts which are fixed with it. Generally, these binding posts are friendly according to the power connection. Binding posts allow you to connect various external resources of power to your breadboard.
Some other Characteristics
While making circuits, this is not possible to stay remain on one breadboard. Sometimes your circuit needs two or three breadboards because your circuit needs some more space. There are some breadboards that consist of slots on the sides. And some slots exist on bottom and top. These slots help you in connecting breadboards with each other for creating a large prototyping platform. There are some other breadboards that come along with sticky backing. You can also attach another project case.
Best ways of providing power to your breadboard
If we talk about the best ways through which you can give power to your breadboard, then there are some of the best ways described below.
As we have discussed above that binding posts allows their user to connect a different kind of external resources of power to your breadboard. For this procedure, firstly, you have to connect the binding posts with your breadboard by using jumper wires. As it seems to us that binding posts are connected to breadboard but in reality, they are not. Because if they were connected, then obviously, you would be bound at “where you have to provide power and where not”. As we know that you can easily customize your breadboard as well as binding posts.
Along with all of this, now we have to attach wires with the binding posts straight toward the breadboard. For this, you have to open the posts by unscrewing the binding posts until the hidden hole is discovered. Pass one unsheltered end of the jumper wire through the post’s hole and screw the post to downwards until the wire is become fixed. Now, your binding posts are attached or connected with the breadboard. But the main thing is power. Various methods can be applied for providing power to the posts as well as to the breadboard.
Benchtop – Power Supplies
Benchtop – Power Supplies allows catering maximum range of current and voltage to your circuit. By utilizing a banana connector, you can cater power via supply to the binding posts. Against this, you can utilize IC Hooks, alligator clips, or any kind of cables with banana connector, if you want to fix breadboard with a lot of different supplies. Furthermore, you can also utilize the binding posts by soldering the barrel jack with some wires and after doing this; connect them with the binding posts. You can this technique as an “Advance Technique”. This technique will require an intermediate level of soldering skills.
Breadboard Power Supplies
The next method for powering up your breadboard is to utilize the breadboard power supplies. They have the ability to calibrate the voltage; will provide you a needed range of voltage during building circuits.