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Uses of Breadboard
Almost all the Electronics Club projects started life on a breadboard to check that the circuit worked as intended.
The photograph shows a typical small breadboard which is suitable for beginners building
simple circuits with one or two ICs (chips). Larger sizes are available and you may wish
to buy one of these to start with.
Connections on BreadboardBreadboards have many tiny sockets (called 'holes') arranged on a 0.1" grid. The leads of most components can be pushed straight into the holes. ICs are inserted across the central gap with their notch or dot to the left.
Wire links can be made with single-core plastic-coated wire of 0.6mm diameter (the standard size). Stranded wire is not suitable because it will crumple when pushed into a hole and it may damage the board if strands break off.
The top and bottom rows are linked horizontally all the way across as shown by the red and black lines on the diagram. The power supply is connected to these rows, + at the top and 0V (zero volts) at the bottom.
I suggest using the upper row of the bottom pair for 0V, then you can use the lower row for the negative supply with circuits requiring a dual supply (e.g. +9V, 0V, -9V).
The other holes are linked vertically in blocks of 5 with no link across the centre as shown by the blue lines on the diagram. Notice how there are separate blocks of connections to each pin of ICs.
Building a Circuit on BreadboardConverting a circuit diagram to a breadboard layout is not straightforward because the arrangement of components on breadboard will look quite different from the circuit diagram.
When putting parts on breadboard you must concentrate on their connections, not their positions on the circuit diagram. The IC (chip) is a good starting point so place it in the centre of the breadboard and work round it pin by pin, putting in all the connections and components for each pin in turn.
The circuit is a monostable which means it will turn on the LED for about 5 seconds when the 'trigger' button is pressed. The time period is determined by R1 and C1 and you may wish to try changing their values. R1 should be in the range 1k to 1M.
Time Period, T = 1.1 × R1 × C1
For further information please see 555 monostable.
IC pin numbersIC pins are numbered anti-clockwise around the IC starting near the notch or dot. The diagram shows the numbering for 8-pin and 14-pin ICs, but the principle is the same for all sizes.
Components without suitable leadsSome components such as switches and variable resistors do not have suitable leads of their own so you must solder some on yourself. Use single-core plastic-coated wire of 0.6mm diameter (the standard size). Stranded wire is not suitable because it will crumple when pushed into a hole and it may damage the board if strands break off.
Building the example circuitBegin by carefully insert the 555 IC in the centre of the breadboard with its notch or dot to the left.
Then deal with each pin of the 555:
Breadboard Starter KitThe breadboard kit shown on the right is a good way to get started building circuits on breadboard. As well as a breadboard the kit includes 80 resistors, 60 capacitors, 4 transistors, 4 diodes, 9 LEDs, 4 variable resistors, 4 555 timer ICs, a 9V battery clip and 11 colours of wire to make the links.
Rapid Electronics have kindly allowed me to use their images on this page. Rapid stock a wide range of components, tools and materials for electronics. I am happy to recommend them as a supplier for individuals and education. In my experience their standard delivery really is rapid!
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