8 Breadboard Hacks

A few hacks to make bread boarding easier…

1. Hacking the power buses

The power buses on a breadboard are constructed in multiple pieces. To get continuity down the length of the bus you need to add jumper “staples” like so.

Jumpers on power buses

With this hack, we peel back the adhesive tape on the back of the breadboard, then thread some wire to connect the metal strips together. I used 24 AWG wire from a cat5 cable.

Breadboard self adhesive backing breadboard strips connected with 24 AWG wire

Alternatively just use self adhesive copper strips. i.e. The stuff that has conductive adhesive and is used to repair circuit boards.

2. Fun with colors

This one is pretty simple. Just get your permanent marker out and color in the positive and ground power buses.

Red and black power buses

3. Gold test points

“Everywhere, the glint of gold”

These test points are made from a set of Swiss Machine Headers

Test points made from swiss machine pin headers

Just cut the metal pins away, then take the shorter end off.

Making the test points

4. Make your own staples

These “staples” are used to bridge small distances on a breadboard.

Breadboard Staples

Constructed of 22 AWG wire and some heat shrink tubing, they are very easy to make.

Making breadboard staples The finished staple

5. Swiss Machined Combs

There are times when you need to connect a bunch of tiepoints together. For example you may need to ground multiple pins on an IC. These “combs” make the job easier.

Combs made of swiss machine pins

Simply solder a piece of wire across the top of the header, then cut the excess off.

Ready for soldering

6. Getto micro-sd socket

Feel like playing with micro-SD cards?

Just use a micro-SD to SD adapter and solder some pins to the bottom. I used swiss machine headers because they are easier to insert than standard square headers.

Micro SD socket

The SD card has 9 connectors on the back, but for many applications only 7 are needed.

Micro SD socket

7. My LED joined the resistance

This LED has a resistor on the lead making it easier to use.

LED with resistor

8. Hacking an IDC connector

IDC connectors don’t work well with breadboard because the rows of pins are too close together. With this last hack we use a right angle IDC connector and bend the pins so they fit.

Hacking an IDC connector IDC connector getting inserted into the breadboard