Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Learning | Breadboards

Here's an engineering term for you: breadboard.  What do you think it is?  

I would understand if you guessed that it was a wooden board used for slicing bread.  

Fresh Loaf 5023, 
from Andrew Menage's photostream on
Some rights reserved.

But in this case, it isn't. Read on, and I'll get to the explanation, after the definition.

Engineers use the noun breadboard to describe a board used to make an experimental model of an electric circuit.  

It's usually plastic, with a whole bunch of holes in it, like the one in the picture below. 

Portable GPS decoder - breadboard,
from Steve's photostream on
Some rights reserved.
Breadboard is also used as a verb, meaning to build an experimental circuit.

Learning to Use a Breadboard, from Bryan Kennedy's photostream on
Some rights reserved.
The use of the word breadboard in this way came from the days when electronic components were much larger.  Electronic hobbyists would actually nail copper wires to a wooden board when they were making prototypes. Some of them actually borrowed their mothers' breadboards from the kitchen to do this. (Shame on them!)

If you're interested in building experimental circuits, you may be interested in some of these books on electronics.

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