Breadboard (prototyping board) – The basics

Arduino, Home Automation, Robotics2 Comments

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A breadboard or prototyping board, is a little board made of plastic studded with little holes where we can connect a lot of electronic components.

What’s the point ? It’s about multiplying the pins of your Arduino/Raspberry Pi or every other device working with pins.

If you don’t understand quite well, let’s take a concrete example :

We want to set up a system which will retrieve the temperature from different temperature probes. We have :

  • 1 Arduino
  • 6 Temperature probes
  • Some jumpers

Here is an actual representation of an Arduino UNO

 

Here is what a temperature probe looks like :

 

Knowing that our six probes need to be powered (with 5v), there is an issue : the Arduino only have a pair of 5v/GND pins, so we can only connect one probe.

Now our bread is useful. But, how does it works ?

In fact, it works like an electronic multi-socket.

Here is what a classical breadboard looks like :

There are different types of breadboard, this is the medium one.

Here is how it works :

Here, we have four rows : A, B, C and D.

Rows A and D are for the power (+ and -).

Rows B and C are multi-purpose.

When you connect a jumper in a row, the electric current pass all through the row. In fact, all the holes of a same row are connected together. But lines are independent from each other.

Here is now how we can solve our problem with a breadboard :

Let’s start by connecting our probes to a breadboard, pins highlighted in green indicate what are the pins of the breadboard connected to the probes.

Second step is to power the breadboard with electricity, we connect two jumpers on the breadboard, those jumpers are connected to the 5v and GND Arduino’s board.

Now that our breadboard is powered, we have to power the probes, to do so we connect some jumpers on the row where we connected our last jumpers.

Now our probes are powered but we can not retrieve data yet. Let’s connect data pins to the Arduino.

NB : The mini breadboard do not have power rows (+ and -). No problem, here is how we could do with a such breadboard :

Like you can see, it’s not as clear as a classic breadboard but it’s working. (NB : We’re using orange and blue jumpers as “bridges” to use other rows of pins)

 

Voilà ! You know how to use a breadboard !

 

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