There are many ways to put together electronic circuits-- the toughest
part is keeping track of where everything goes, and making sure that what
is supposed to be connected stays that way. One of the best ways
to try new (prototype) circuits is by using a "breadboard." It is
designed to allow easy connections, which can be changed, and yet, are
reasonably sound. Breadboards come in many sizes and designs, but
the one we will be using (Radio Shack part # )
is ideal for the type of experiments we want to do. The first step
is to understand which holes on the breadboard are connected
to one another by "traces" (metal conductors) hidden under the plastic.
These are designed to grab the wires that we will push into the holes.
While you can make your own wires, it is pretty tedious. Fortunately,
nicely color-coded jumper wires, with their ends already stripped, are
available in small kits (RS # ). Once you spend some
time breadboarding, the strategy of laying out your parts and the various
jumpers needed to make the connections you want starts to make sense.
An additional plus, is that once you have a circuit that you are happy
with, converting to a permanently soldered circuit board is easy.
By using a pre-drilled prototype board (RS# ) with the same layout as the
breadboard, all the parts and jumper wires go in the same locations.
Why not use the breadboard as a permanent circuit board?
You can-- but then you cannot use it for other experiments. Plus,
breadboards are more expensive than pre-drilled circuit boards, and are
never as sturdy and reliable as a soldered board. The breadboard
is great while you are testing and making changes to your circuit.
Once you have a finalized design, go with solder.
next-- the light byte