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How to use a Breadboard

in Getting Started

In our second tutorial: The Arduino Boards, we learned about essential elements of the Arduino Uno board. In this tutorial, we will discuss the breadboard and the wires that you will be using in the following tutorials. This tutorial is important since we will use the breadboard and wires for connecting the Arduino Uno to external components. 

Breadboards are one of the most fundamental pieces when learning how to build circuits. In this tutorial, you will learn a little bit about what breadboards are and how to use one. Once you are done you should have a basic understanding of how breadboards work and you will be able to build a basic circuit on a breadboard.

Firstly, a breadboard is a synonym for a solderless breadboard. Therefore, breadboards are great for experimenting with circuits, building prototypes because they do not require soldering.

For those who are new to electronics and circuits, breadboards are the best way to start. Since breadboards are available in all sizes, you can use them for simple as well as very complex circuits. Furthermore, breadboards are great since they can be used for testing ideas, components or just for fun. You can rewire things constantly without the need to solder parts together. This property of the breadboard makes it ideal for prototyping.

Using breadboards enables you to avoid connecting LEDs, resistors or other electronic components directly to the Arduino Board. Furthermore, a solderless board enables you to connect electronic components together without the need to solder.

Breadboards are in various sizes and designs. You can get a good solderless board for under 10 euros.

The figure show an Arduino Uno connected to a solderless breadboard. The Arduino Uno’s 5V output is connected to the red columns on the left side of the breadboard. The blue column is connected to the ground of the Arduino Uno Board. The red and blue columns of both sides are connected to each other. These columns are called buses, the red line is the voltage bus and the black/blue line is the ground bus.

Rows and Columns in BreadBoards

You may have noticed that breadboards have number and letters on it to mark various rows and columns. These rows and numbers are there to help you during the build of the circuit. Circuits can get complicated, and all it takes is one misplaced wire to make the entire circuit not working. Therefore, rows and numbers are there to help you.

Power Rails

Now that we’ve seen how the connections in a breadboard are made, let’s look at a larger, more typical breadboard. Aside from horizontal rows, breadboards usually have what is called power rails that run vertically along the sides.

When you are building circuits, you need to supply power to a lot of parts. Power Rails give you access to power more easily wherever you need it in your circuit. Usually, the negative stripe is labeled with “” or a black stripe while the positive stripe is labeled with “+” or a blue stripe.

The power rails on either side are not connected to each other. So if you would like to have both power rails with the same power source you need to connect the rails through wires.

Keep in mind that the markings on the breadboard are just guidelines. You can also reverse the stripes if you would like to. Though, this is not recommended since all tutorials will build on the above assumptions.

Just remember that the circuit you’re building doesn’t have to be in the exact same location on the breadboard as described in the following tutorials. In fact, it doesn’t even have to look similar. As long as all the electrical connections are being made, you can build your circuit any way you’d like!

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