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The C Shore

An Explanation of Breadboards

  • A breadboard is used to temporarily connect electronics components.
  • This is usually done while testing or prototyping. (prototyping is creating a working version of some device for testing purposes, usually with the intent of creating a design that can be used for production of many identical units — aka mass production).
  • A bread board is called that because in early days of electronics, inventors would use wooden boards used for making bread and drive in nails and screws for connecting electronics devices for testing and prototyping.

The following diagram illustrates the parts of a breadboard.

Marked up diagram of a breadboard

You can see that there are rows and columns. All the holes in a row are connected to each other. Columns are separate from each other. The groove in the centre of the board divides the left and right halves into separate sections (that is row 1 on the left is not connected to row 1 on the right). The columns marked plus (red), and minus (black or blue) are given special names because for that part of the breadboard the columns are connected and not the rows. The plus (red) is called the power plane (noted as Vcc and which we are connecting to the 3V3 pin on the Pi). The minus (black) is called the ground plane (noted as GND and we connect it to GND on the Pi).

Part of a real breadboard is pictured below:

When you are inserting soft leads such as those of a resistor into the breadboard it is best to grasp the lead near the end and gently but firmly push them into the hole on the breadboard.

Note: It is recommended that when you are connecting to to power or ground on the Pi that you use a jumper to go from the Pi to the appropriate plane (power or ground), and use a second jumper to go from the plane to the components on the breadboard, rather than connecting directly to the power or ground of the Pi.