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03 August 2011

Website -- how to use a breadboard for electronics labs

pic from
I'm at Manhattan College (in the Bronx) for an AP Summer Institute.  We are doing my electronics lab, in which students hook up simple DC circuits.

Students struggle using the breadboard, at least until they get used to it.  I used breadboards for many years in college, so I have no difficulty teaching their use, and understanding how they work.  However, if you haven't used these thingummies before, you will have enough trouble learning their use, let alone explaining their use to a novice student.

Michael Morgante, from New York, asked me whether I have an instruction manual of how to use a breadboard.  I didn't; but I googled, and found this wonderful guide through  Read through the five or so pages, and you'll have a better clue.

Should you xerox this for your students?  I don't think so.  They ain't gonna read through five pages of dense text and diagrams during lab!  But you will find this guide useful for yourself.  Learn how to use the breadboard well enough that you can demonstrate its use to a class of novices, so you can answer simple questions.  Hopefully this site will help.



  1. I'm confused about what people find confusing about using a breadboard. Since we might end up using them for some stuff in robotics club, I'd like to know what the typical confusions are. I first used a breadboard about 35 years ago, so I may be misremembering, but they seemed pretty easy to learn to use.

    You had to know which holes were connected and why (took a couple of minutes) and to use the right size wires (took some people longer than others not to try to jam oversize components into the holes). Learning to wire neatly to avoid an undebuggable rats nest was easy for some people and impossible for others, even after 20 weeks of daily use of breadboards.

    I'd have a poster or handout showing which holes are connected, perhaps with one line about what wire gauges are acceptable for breadboards. A picture of a neatly wired and a sloppily wired breadboard might also be worthwhile.

    Maybe something like
    for an example with too-long wires

    for neat wiring.

  2. Yes Breaboard is quite simple to understand. Once you understand the internal structure of a breadboard it becomes quite simple to make the circuits easily without chances of errors.

    Images or diagrams of internal structure can help a lot to understand the basics to school students. I would recommend the newbies to visit this really cool tutorial to know throughly the breadboard - This tutorial will show you a lot of stuffs about the breadboard like how metal plates are arranged, what they made of, etc, etc..