Decent quality breadboards?

Thread Starter

Keith Pritchard

Joined Oct 15, 2020
3
Hello.
I have just joined the forum so perhaps I could literally start at the beginning. I have used several breadboards over the years purchased from overseas, and they have all turned out to be .. well to put it bluntly, ‘rubbish’. I have found a post on the forum where someone asks what wires are recommended for breadboards. I would however like to hear about any specific recommendations members may have for decent quality boards themselves, suitable for hobbyist / maker use.
Thanks.
Keith
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
1,299
I have been using a couple of Graymark breadboards for over 35 years without any problems. I have inserted component leads with diameters from about 0.012" to 0.025" without any loss of contact or deformation. The one I use the most is attached to the top of a box containing +5V, 0 - +15V and 0 - 15V power supplies. I recently added three cheap digital panel voltmeters to make it even easier to use.
Regards,
Keith

http://www.esssales.com/graymark/breadboards.html
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
14,678
Hello.
I have just joined the forum so perhaps I could literally start at the beginning. I have used several breadboards over the years purchased from overseas, and they have all turned out to be .. well to put it bluntly, ‘rubbish’. I have found a post on the forum where someone asks what wires are recommended for breadboards. I would however like to hear about any specific recommendations members may have for decent quality boards themselves, suitable for hobbyist / maker use.
Thanks.
Keith
What exactly makes them "rubish". A breadboard, by it's very nature, is something you throw together to test ideas and circuits. They don't need to survive for a long time or operate under severe environmental conditions. It would also help if you told us something about what you are using them for and why your requirements are not being met.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
11,886
Welcome to AAC!
I have used several breadboards over the years purchased from overseas, and they have all turned out to be .. well to put it bluntly, ‘rubbish’.
After reading a number of comments on this and other sites about this quality issue, I bought half a dozen solderless breadboards from several different sellers on Ali Express and was pleased to find that they all worked well. The red and blue stripes identifying the power buses weren't great, but the boards I had from the 70's didn't make any attempt to label the buses.

I checked every hole with some male header pins and didn't find a single socket that had the common "difficult to insert" problem (because the spring contacts didn't align with the holes properly). I've used them for breadboarding circuits with #22 and #24 solid wire and haven't had any problems with intermittent connections or unintended wire disconnects.

For $1.50 a board, I couldn't be more pleased. They're not the same quality as the boards from the 70's, but they cost a fraction of the price and they're good enough.
 

MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
1,935
What attribute makes them bad in your case? In my experience, no breadboard is good for anything that has significant clock speed. I2C, SPI, etc.. are all unreliable on solderless breadboards from my personal experience.
 

atferrari

Joined Jan 6, 2004
4,122
Bought my first ones, IIRC Global something and ACE (?) around 30 to 40 years ago. Used and abused them with any diameter for components / wires and huge currents. Cannot complaint.

Respecting the wire diameter, the many in use, much cheaper, do work OK.

Micros up to 48 MHz of clock, did not fail. (After all, those hertz, circulate inside the micro not through the board).

After so many years my current policy is: buy cheap, yes but be prepared to discard with not much doubting if failing.
 

Thread Starter

Keith Pritchard

Joined Oct 15, 2020
3
Good grief I never expected so many replies. Thank you very much. I appreciate the advice. I did not qualify my use of the word ‘rubbish’ in this instance but took the liberty of presuming that on an electronics forum this might not require explanation (oh dear)! As most will have gathered I meant exactly as Dennis commented: ‘flakey connections or unintended wire disconnects’. My boards are being used in a hobbyist / maker environment (as stated), i.e. under normal room conditions, for the short-term set-up and testing of simple circuits. Great. I will follow up some of the leads offered very soon. The olds boards have become very annoying and replacing them is a job I have been meaning to do for ages. Take care.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
11,886
for the short-term set-up and testing of simple circuits.
I have circuits that I breadboarded decades ago, moved to several different houses and they still work. I was recently drawing schematics for boards so I could reclaim them. Now that cheap boards are available, I don't have as much urgency to do that.

A #22 wire has a diameter of 0.0252". A male header pin is 0.025" square, so there is no risk of springing the contacts because the boards were designed to be used with #22 solid wire. Machined pin wire wrap sockets don't seem to care if the lead faces are parallel, so you might want to be a little careful with them.

I used to insert the leads of TO-220 devices (which are 0.046-0.054" wide) in breadboards without concern until someone on this forum mentioned the risk. Now I'm more likely to twist them 90 degrees so the leads are 0.020-0.031". I haven't measured the connectors on the ribbon cable jumpers from Ali Express, but they're most likely 0.025" square to mate with male and female headers.

The lead diameter for 1/4W resistors is 0.025" (for Vishay/Dale), Yaego specifies 0.022" for 1/4 and 1/2 watt resistors. The leads on cheap resistors are skinnier.

Some people have this superstition about not putting anything besides IC leads in the holes near the channel so the contacts don't get sprung. I put wires and leads wherever it's convenient.

FWIW, some people claim all breadboards are unreliable.
 

Audioguru again

Joined Oct 21, 2019
2,059
In my entire career and hobby I have designed or copied a circuit then planned my wiring and where strips are cut on a stripboard, then soldered all the parts plus a few short jumper wires. The result has always been compact and worked perfectly. Since most of the circuits I designed and made were custom projects and only one was needed then the stripboard was the final product that was sold. It looked professionally made.
My stripboard circuits were never intermittent, never picked up hum and did not have the massive stray capacitance as breadboard circuits.
 

ElectricSpidey

Joined Dec 2, 2017
1,333
Well, I have breadboarded many a circuit that didn't work the first time that had nothing to do with being intermittent humming or oscillating.

(of course this was before I started using LTSpice, now most of my BB circuits work the first time)

But to be fair, audio was never my thing, mostly logic circuits.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
2,789
The only problem I have with breadboards is mounting signal relays. Their pins are too small and tend to pop out without a finger holding them in place. I fixed that by soldering a DIP socket (same problem) on a stripboard with header sockets as an adjunct to the breadboard. That and I started using 1/2W resistors instead of the skinny wire 1/8th & 1/4W ones. I shove the TO-220s into them and standard pots and so far no real problems after years of use.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
11,886
That and I started using 1/2W resistors instead of the skinny wire 1/8th & 1/4W ones.
Are these from Ali Express, eBay, or some other unauthorized distributor? My 1/4W resistors are about the diameter of a #22 wire; which makes them about perfect for solderless breadboards. Some 1/2W resistors have the same lead diameter as 1/4W (e.g. Yaego), others are slightly smaller. The difference between 1/4 and 1/2 W lead diameter is 0.002" for SEI carbon film:
clipimage.jpg
The last two entries are for resistors that have twice the power rating their package size would indicate (I don't care for that innovation).
 
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