Electronic Breadboarding - Tips and Tricks
(C) 2012 By: John S. Wilson Jr.  www.Radio-Circuits.Com
If I had to define The "Single Most Important Element" in the field of Electronics, it would be the electronic breadboard. It dosen't matter if you are a novice or a seasoned professional. If you dabble in any form of electronics building, you are an experimenter, work in engineering or electronic assembly and construction, you should know how to breadboard a circuit.

60 years of experience has taught me to always breadboard a circuit before I etch a circuitboard or assemble the circuit on a stripboard. The Breadboard is the Master Link between a schematic and the finished product. If it works on the Breadboard, 99.9 % of the time, it will work when you assemble it to it's final end product.

There is a lot of information on the Internet regarding to proper and - improper ways to breadboard a circuit. Some of it is good, a great deal of it is bad. For example, take a look at a few samples I found below?

Very Bad Breadboard
Bad Breadboard
Breadboard Nightmare
You Got To Be Kidding Me?
Nope - Somebody Actually Posted These On The Internet
Now - For Some Good Breadboard Examples - Posted On The Internet and Shown Below
Excellent Breadboard
Excellent Breadboarded Circuit
Good Breadboard Sample
Breadboard From radio-circuits.com
Now, The Way I Breadboard
The Above Breadboarded Circuit Represents Circuit #4 on my Website Radio-Circuits.Com So If You Actually Clicked Into This Page From Somewhere Else - Click Below To Go To My Website Of Free FM Transmitter Circuits:                      www.Radio-Circuits.Com

Although I Show The Components On My Illustrations Laying Flat, it is only done for clarity. Always stand your components "Straight Up" if possible. "Always" Lay Your Jumpers "FLAT" to the Breadboard.

Always Use Telephone Wire (
4 Conductor ) "Solid Copper" as Your Jumpers. This is the "Round Sheathed" telephone cable that you will find that usually runs from the outside telephone connection to the telephone jacks inside the house. Most of these cables you will find strung up under the house, overhead in the garage, etc. Look for one that is dead ended ( Not in Use ) And Cut about 3 or four feet of it off to make your jumpers.


Strip either the green, yellow, red or black insulation off of these wires, and using a pair of tweezers - bend up a bunch of them different sizes that looks like a staple. These copper jumpers are excellent for use in RF circuits.

Always Breadboard your circuit nice and clean. When you start the breadboard, run your components from left to right - and lay it out "Exactly" as shown in the schematic. You can "Play Out"- a lot of "WHAT IFs" on a breadboard. For Example, if you are laying out an audio circuit " What If I Change this Capacitor to Another Value - What does it sound like now? What If I Increase The Value Of That Resistor to Another - What Happens. In The Case of a small RF FM Transmitter - What If I Change the Feedback Capacitor To A 4.7pf rather than a 10pf? What If and so On. What If I Change The Transistor From A 2N2222 to Another Transistor - Will The Circuit Still Function With The New Transistor?

Always Breadboard - and use Low Voltage Capacitors ( At or Slightly Above ) The Battery Source Voltage in your Circuits.

Always Use 5% Rated Components. Do Not Use 10% and Rarely will You Need A 1% Component Other Than In A Precise Filter. Engineers Choose - And Design Their Circuits Around A Tolerance Of 5%. That Simply Means That The Circuit Will Function As Stated Above Or Below The Value Of The Chosen Part. For Example If The Circuit Calls For A 100 Ohm Resistor, The 5% 100 Ohm Resistor Will Actually Measure Somewhere In The Range Of Between 95 To 105 Ohms And Not An Actual 100 Ohms. A 5% 1000 ( 1K ) Resistor Will Actually Measure Somewhere Between 950 To 1050 Ohms.

As A General Rule - And It Has Been My Experience, Being An RF Engineer- Anytime You Breadboard An RF Circuit  Transmitter Of Any Form ( FM Adjustable Or Crystal Controlled ) The Frequency You Will Wind Up With On The Breadboard Will Be Roughly 10 To 15 % Lower Than It's Actual Supposed Frequency. This Is Because Of The Extra Inductance That Is Added To The Circuit Thru The Components Leads, and Breadboard Tracks Themselves Adding To The Overall Inductance Of The Original Coil Itself. A Slight Amount Of Reactance Is Also Added From The Capacitors. No Problem, Just Remember That When You Actually Go To Circuitboard, The Frequency Will Be Higher. Audio and DC Circuits Have Minor Changes But Slight and What You Get On The Breadboard Is What You Wind Up With On The Finished Circuit Or Stripboard.

Telephone 4 conductor Wire
The Breadboard Allows You To Custom Re-Engineer The Wheel without a background in engineering and without a single iota of the complicated math involved. It is an Experimenters Tool, and used by every Professional Engineer on the planet to verify their own circuits. Find And -  Get The Tools Below  and you are well on your way to Mastering Electronic Breadboarding.  John

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Plain Breadboard
The Breadboard Track Layouts. For Clarity Purposes, I will label The Empty Breadboard Above As A Compass With Points To The North, South, East and West. The Main Buss Connections ( Where You Connect Your Battery ) - Run East and West Along The Top and The Bottom.  It really Dosen't Matter Which You Use For Positive Or Negative. I Always Use The Blue On The Bottom For My Positive Battery Connection and The Red As My Ground. The Reason I Do That Is To Keep My Source (+) Voltage As Near To The Circuit As I Can.

lthough It Shows A Solid Track Between Each 5 Holes On The Bus Terminals, This Is Not Always The Case So I Always Place A Jumper Across This Bridge. Each 5 Holes Running North and South Have A Solid Track and are Insulated From Each Other. The Center Notch Is For The Placement Of Chips From The Lower Set Of Holes To The Upper Set Of Holes.