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What Is a Breadboard Circuit Board?

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  • Written By: Jeremy Laukkonen
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 12 April 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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A breadboard circuit board is a reusable device that serves as a platform for building electronic circuits. These devices are often used in prototyping, and include a number of holes that electronic components, such as integrated circuits (ICs), resistors, and wires, can be snapped into. Some of the holes are connected to others by copper strips, which is how the electronic components are able to form circuits. Since these circuit boards do not require solder, the components can be easily removed for the purposes of troubleshooting, or to build new circuits.

In the context of electronics, use of the "breadboard" term can be traced back to a time before transistors, when most electronic components were quite large. At that time, a popular method for constructing prototype, or hobbyist, circuits was to lay them out on wooden cutting boards. These cutting boards were spacious enough to hold the necessary components, and also easy to come by. One common method for using bread cutting boards in this manner involved nailing down strips of copper wire, and then soldering the individual components to those strips.

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Modern breadboards are also used to lay out circuits, but they are typically very compact and made out of plastic. The most common breadboard circuit board design consists of a flat rectangular block that contains several rows of holes. Some of these holes are connected to one another by copper strips, which are hidden inside of the breadboard or underneath it. There are typically a few rows that are designated for power distribution, which run the entire length of the breadboard circuit board. These rows are often attached to electrical plugs that can be connected to a power source.

In order to make use of a breadboard circuit board, electronic components are pressed into specific holes according to design plans. Components can be connected to each other by placing the contacts into adjacent holes. Complicated circuit designs often also require the use of wires, which can be used to bridge different groups of holes that would not otherwise be connected.

The main benefit of using a breadboard circuit board to build prototype circuits is the lack of soldering. Since each component is simply snapped into place, they can be easily moved around when laying out or troubleshooting a new circuit. The components can also be removed entirely in order to build a completely new circuit on the same breadboard. Protoboard, perfboard, and other similar platforms serve the same general purpose of breadboards, though they require the use of solder. That makes those platforms better suited than breadboard circuit boards when building permanent prototypes and hobbyist projects.

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