Breadboards are one of the most fundamental pieces that DIYers use. Because breadboards let you create circuits without having to solder anything, meaning that you can test, modify and change your circuit without having to waste time soldering and desoldering your components.
Why use a Breadboard?
Breadboards let you create functional electrical circuits without having to solder anything. Which gives you the ability to easily take your circuit from paper to the physical world, while maintaining the ability to modify it. Making prototyping the main use of breadboards, as prototyping often involves creating the design and modifying it depending on real life conditions, and improving the original design. And that can be easily achieved with breadboards, as they need no soldering.
Breadboards are also the best place to start for electronics beginners, as they dont require you to know how to solder, and they also can be used to create all types of circuits.
What is a Breadboard?
A breadboard is a board that has arrays of a metallic conductive material, with hole strips that let you easily put in wires to connect your components to each other. And It has two main areas, the terminal strips, and the power rails.
The Terminal Strips
This is the area in the middle of the breadboard, where the holes are connected to each other horizontally. It is used to connect the electrical components to each other, and to the power source.
Notice the gap in the middle? This gap is used to connect the ICs and similar components, as these two areas of the breadboard are electrically independent of each other, meaning that each of your IC's pins will have a different connection than the rest.
The Power Rails
These are the two areas on the edges of the breadboard, where the holes are connected to each other vertically, giving you the ability to easily provide electricity wherever you need it on the breadboard. There are two stripes in each side, one marked with a (+) sign and the other with a (-) sign, and will have a red and blue marked strips to indicate the positive and negative sides. It makes no difference whether you connect your power source according to the breadboard's markings, but it is preferred to do so, to avoid any mistakes.
Some of the breadboards are designed to contain four power rails with two in each side, each one is independent, which can connect four different power sources to your breadboard.
Using the Breadboard
Powering the Breadboard
As we said earlier, each of the power rails is electrically independent of the other. Giving you the ability to connect different power sources to each side of the breadboard. But, if you want to connect them to the same power source, you can do so by jumping a wire from one of them to the other.
As you can see, we have power on both rails by connecting one directly to the power source, then connecting it with the other one via jumper wires.
Here we are using two different power sources to power up our rails, and turn on the LEDs.
Connecting your Components to the Breadboard
We now know that the terminal strips connect your components horizontally. And a breadboard typically will have 10 holes between the two terminals, giving you the ability to connect 5 components to each other whenever you use the breadboard.
Powering up an LED using a breadboard
This is a simple example of how breadboards work. In it you connect a power source to your breadboard, then connect an LED to it to power it up. And these are the steps:
1. Connect each leg of the LED on a different horizontal row than the other.
2. Connect one terminal of the resistor to the LED’s cathode “ the shorter negative leg”, then connect the other terminal of the resistor to the negative side of the power rail.
3. Use a wire to connect the LED’s anode “The longer positive leg” with the positive power rail.
4. Connect the positive terminal of the battery to the positive(+) power rail.
5. Connect the negative terminal of the battery to the negative(-) power rail.
You now know why we use bread boards, and how it works. You also learned to properly distribute power through it in two different ways, and how to connect components to each other. And you have a shiny LED to show for it :D