Cubicle Hero

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Breadboards are solderless prototyping boards for through-hole circuits. They're made for easy testing and development and this article will give the briefest explanation on how to use them.

A standard, small breadboard.

Bus Rails

Also called power rails or power buses, these connect along the entire length of the breadboard and most often come in pairs: one for power and one for ground. More expensive boards may have three for use with two, different power sources or voltage levels. On some boards, the bus rails are disconnected in the center, requiring a small jumper to power the entire length; this is generally marked with a symbol in the gap between the two sections or by the lines next to the buses having a break in them, as well.

Terminal Strips

Each strip consists of five, connected terminals. The terminal strips are seperated by a deep notch, the perfect width for a small DIP package to straddle.

Wire Sizes

Solid (non-stranded) 22 gauge wire seems to be the most commonly recommended, but the boards can take a small range. Stranded wires can be used, it's just not ideal; you'll have to twist the strands together and some might bend outward instead of going in the terminals. Ready-made jumper kits are highly recommended.

LED Example

A chopped up USB cable connected to the bus rails and an LED and resistor connected between power and ground.