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How to Use Solderless Electronic Breadboards (Protoboards)

Learn how to correctly use protoboards to go from an electronic schematic diagram to a working prototype of a circuit..
4.3 (8 ratings)
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63 students enrolled
Created by Richard Vannoy
Last updated 7/2015
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Solderless breadboards, also known as protoboards are used to make a temporary electronic circuit, or a prototype of a proposed circuit. They are also often used for electronics students to set up various circuits that they are taught in electronics engineering college programs.

Seting Up and Using Protoboards or Solderless Breadboards

In order to test an electronic circuit design, or to build a prototype of a desired design, protoboards are very useful because they allow the user to set up a temporary circuit that does not require any printed circuit boards or soldering of any components. Components can easily be reconfigured or rearranged until the circuit becomes what is desired.

These are some of the advantages and benefits of protoboards:

  • They require no soldering or permanent connection of any components.
  • They can be rearranged or reconfigured quickly and easily.
  • They allow easy access to all components in the design, for testing.
  • Test equipment (multimeters, oscilloscopes, signal generators) can easily be attached to the circuit for initial testing and verification of circuit characteristics.
  • Circuits can be disassembled in a very short time.

This course covers all of the details necessary for the user to understand the mechanics of protoboards, there use, how to set up power and ground and how start with a schematic and the indicated electronic components (resistors, capacitors, transistors, etc.) and properly recreate that exact circuit on a protoboard.

The primary teaching tools for this course is an instructor led PowerPoint presentation that uses diagrams, photos and short instructional videos, so that the student can follow along with the instructor to develop the knowledge and skills required to properly and effectively use protoboards in the design and testing of electronic designs and projects.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is best suited for electronic students or hobbyists that wish to build prorotypes of electronic circuits and observe or record the characteristics of the circuit.
  • These are the most common scenarios for protoboard use:
  • 1. Assemble and test a circuit to make sure it works properly.
  • 2. Students use protoboards to assemble a temporary electronic circuit that can be demonstrated to the instructor as proof that they can design and/or build an operating circuit, such as an amplifier, a transmitter or areceiver.
  • Protoboards are often used to mount small sub circuits that are needed to enhance the abilities of a larger electronic or robotics project.
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What Will I Learn?
Typically, engineers, students and hobbyists use solderless breadboards (also called protoboards) to assemble and connect proposed electronic circuits, and test their operation with this temporary setup, before proceeding to a permanent circuit on a printed circuit board or other more permanent media.
Using an electronic schematic, a diagram of how to connect electronic components to perform a specific task, students will learn how to correctly place electronic components on a protoboard, also known as a solderless breadboard, so that the circuit operation can be observed and tested.
View Curriculum
  • No prior knowledge is required to take and complete this course.
  • No software is needed to complete this course.
  • No hardware is required to complete this course. The hardware mentioned in the course is used to demonstrate the process. After completion of the course, any hardware or equipment needed depends solely on what the student may wish to purchase, design or test.
  • Materials needed for the productive use of protoboards include the protoboard itself, and the electronic components such as resistors, capacitors, transistors, microcontrollers or any other hardware needed to build a proposed circuit. NONE of these types of materials are required to successfully complete this course.
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 11 Lectures Collapse All 11 Lectures 01:54:39
Introduction to Protoboards; The Mechanics, Features and Setup of Breadboards
5 Lectures 43:26

This is a short introduction to this course. When completed, the student will know the main topics presented in this course.

Preview 03:13

Protoboards come in a number of sizes. This lesson shows the students the main types and sizes of boards available today.

Preview 06:34

The protoboard has internal components that allow the user connect a number of electronic components together in a working electronic device. This lecture explains the mechanics of the internal components and how they perform their functions.

Preview 09:50

This lecture describes the mechanical features present on the protoboard, and how some components are mounted on the board.

Solderless Breadboard Features

The edge of most protoboards contains two long strips, called rails, that allow power and ground to be fed up and down the length of the board. This lecture describes those rails and shows how to properly connect power and ground to them.

Power Rail Setup
Placing Electronic Components on the Protoboard
4 Lectures 53:35

A simple light emitting diode (LED) circuit is used in this lesson to show exactly how the resistor and LED in a schematic can be correctly inserted in the board to recreate the circuit shown in the schematic.

Simple LED Circuit

Using the attached handout as a Laboratory Worksheet, the student will be walked through the correct procedure to install a simple series-parallel resistive circuit on the protoboard.

Series-Parallel Circuit, Part 1

Using the attached handout as a Laboratory Worksheet, the student will be walked through the correct procedure to install a simple series-parallel resistive circuit on the protoboard.

Series-Parallel Circuit, Part 2

Using the attached handout as a Laboratory Worksheet, the student will be walked through the correct procedure to install a simple series-parallel resistive circuit on the protoboard.
Series-Parallel Circuit, Part 3
Protoboard Accessories; Course Summary and Closing
2 Lectures 17:38

Pre-cut wire, spools of wire and wire cutters are common accessories needed to work with protoboards. This lecture discusses them and makes specific recommendations about the use of these accessories.

Protoboard Accessories

This summary and wrap up briefly walks through each of the topics covered in this course.

Summary and Close
About the Instructor
4.4 Average rating
243 Reviews
1,311 Students
10 Courses
College programming, database and electronics instructor

College teacher for computer programming (C, C++, Visual Basic, Python, Java), database (SQL, Access), microcontrollers, Programmable Logic Controllers, basic and intermediate electronics for seventeen years. Teaching awards include Instructor of the Quarter (Four Awards), Regional Instructor of the Quarter, Employee of the Year, Employee of the Month (Two Awards)

Ten years employed as computer programmer.

Degrees: Computer Programming, Electronics, Information Technology.

Interests: Arduino, 8051 Assembly Programming, robotics, electronics

Founder and past president of San Diego Robotics Society. Member and guest lecturer Riverside and Long Beach Robotics Societies.

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