Author Topic: Basic rules or tips for breadboard layouts?  (Read 831 times)

harryklippton

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Basic rules or tips for breadboard layouts?
« on: April 30, 2020, 05:59:23 AM »
I decided to try some breadboarding this week just going off a schematic to a working circuit on the breadboard. Are there any generally accepted rules on layout, an approach you take to this task, or any tips you can share?

My first attempt was doing a fuzz face. I know small bear has a good tutorial, which I had done in the past but I wanted to get past just following someone's step by step instructions. After some troubleshooting and a missing connection, I got it working well. Then I tried an LPB1 and something is a little off.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2020, 06:31:51 AM by harryklippton »

davent

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Re: Basic rules or tips for breadboard layouts?
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2020, 11:40:48 AM »
Spread things out, i have a hard time seeing/noticing leads that are or aren't in the correct row.
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jkokura

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Re: Basic rules or tips for breadboard layouts?
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2020, 01:03:25 PM »
Here's my tips:

1. Don't be afraid to spread it out. Using long jumpers and multiple breadboards is okay. You do not have to make your circuit fit a tiny area.
2. Follow the schematic. Start at the beginning, with your input, and then just keep adding parts until you get to the end.
3. Use a secondary breadboard for anything that's an odd voltage, then jumper the extra voltage over the the main breadboard. Keeping power sections separate can help you when you want to 'change voltage.' For example, VB is often 1/2 of VA (typical voltage divider of 2 resistors and a cap for filtering). So if you're running 9V, VB is often 4.5V. Changing it to 5V or 4V can have an impact on sound, and being able to change that can without having to dismantle the main breadboard is handy.
4. Take it all apart after your main session. I have tried to always build up a circuit, test it out, and then when I'm done, I take it all apart and put the parts away. This means that I have had to build up a circuit more than once, but the problem with breadboards is if you leave a circuit on there, meaning to go back and tweak things and play with things, you may not get to it before you have an idea to mess with on another circuit. Better to have an empty breadboard ready to go, than to 'save' your work for a later date. Also, rebuilding circuits on a breadboard is good practice for making sure you avoid circuit errors.
5. Learn to take pictures so you can draw out your schematic.
6. Variable resistors (read potentiometers/trimpots) are your friend. If you aren't sure of a value for a certain resistor, drop an overvalued trimpot and then dial in the amount of resistance that sounds good to your ears. you can of course try to vary the resistor in there by taking it out, then dropping in another value (150K vs 100K for example), or you  can put a 250K resistor in and dial in and find an exact value you think sounds good (maybe it's a weird value you like 143K). No harm in trying it out, and the trimpot can dial in things faster.

The Fuzz Face is a good circuit to start with. I once did that circuit with trimpots in all the resistor spots, and a whole suite of capacitors ready for the cap spots. You know what I found? I was pretty much happiest with the original recommended values. It was a fun experiement, and I learned something.

I'm not a science whiz. I love the breadboard because it's a 'design with your ears' tool. I can make a schematic and follow the data sheets, but half the time I've ever come up with a circuit I like, I started with the recommended/direct clone of the circuit, played with a few values to hear the difference with my ears, and then found something I like better than the original, or learned the original is just fine as it is. It's a fun thing to do, especially if you have time to kill and you're at the end of the Netflix/Youtube chain.

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mjg

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Re: Basic rules or tips for breadboard layouts?
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2020, 04:57:48 PM »
I like to print out the schematic, and as I add parts to the breadboard, cross things off with a pen.  Makes it easier to see what I've done, and usually, easier to find that one part that I missed.

For things like pots, that have 3 legs, cross off each leg individually. 

One thing that is easy to miss when looking at a schematic is the power and ground pins for op-amps, so I try to pay attention to things like that. 

harryklippton

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Re: Basic rules or tips for breadboard layouts?
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2020, 10:37:07 AM »
Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm sure I still have a lot to learn. I still can't get the LPB1 to work:

jimilee

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Re: Basic rules or tips for breadboard layouts?
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2020, 11:48:21 AM »
The most important bread board rule of bread board is donít talk about breadboard




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mjg

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Re: Basic rules or tips for breadboard layouts?
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2020, 04:06:47 PM »
Try an audio probe and go through your board, that might help find where it's going wrong.

Try gently wiggling all those connections - one might be just not quite contacting.

I find it easier with jumper wires that have the male pins on each end, you should be able to find a bag of them pretty cheap, even on eBay. That will be easier to plug n unplug as you build. 

alanp

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Re: Basic rules or tips for breadboard layouts?
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2020, 10:46:37 PM »
If it's any consolation, Harry, I can never get breadboards to work either.
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harryklippton

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Re: Basic rules or tips for breadboard layouts?
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2020, 07:38:50 PM »
I got it working. I've been starting the process with looking up a schematic, then drawing it by hand, then trying to make my own layout on the breadboard. I made a couple mistakes when I wrote down the LPB1 schematic. I finally caught and corrected them on my schematic, then fixed the layout. all good. on to the next one!

selfdestroyer

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Re: Basic rules or tips for breadboard layouts?
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2020, 11:03:00 PM »
Great info Jacob!

I'm so bad with breadboards.. have not done anything of any worth on one since high school/long long time ago.

jkokura

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Re: Basic rules or tips for breadboard layouts?
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2020, 12:24:41 PM »
I got it working. I've been starting the process with looking up a schematic, then drawing it by hand, then trying to make my own layout on the breadboard. I made a couple mistakes when I wrote down the LPB1 schematic. I finally caught and corrected them on my schematic, then fixed the layout. all good. on to the next one!

This is likely, by far, the best experience of learning electronics I could ever recommend. You found the error, and probably have a better understanding of the circuit than someone who just populates a PCB. Now you know how crucial each connection is, even if you don't understand the maths and sciences. That's the net step of course, but now try adjusting the values of the parts that you've got breadboarded and you'll better understand what each part does to the sound.

Jacob
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harryklippton

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Re: Basic rules or tips for breadboard layouts?
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2020, 12:54:34 PM »
I got it working. I've been starting the process with looking up a schematic, then drawing it by hand, then trying to make my own layout on the breadboard. I made a couple mistakes when I wrote down the LPB1 schematic. I finally caught and corrected them on my schematic, then fixed the layout. all good. on to the next one!

This is likely, by far, the best experience of learning electronics I could ever recommend. You found the error, and probably have a better understanding of the circuit than someone who just populates a PCB. Now you know how crucial each connection is, even if you don't understand the maths and sciences. That's the net step of course, but now try adjusting the values of the parts that you've got breadboarded and you'll better understand what each part does to the sound.

Jacob

This is the plan. I work in education and have a lot of experience in design thinking and systems thinking. I have a pretty good concept of self-directed learning and I'm currently applying it to pedal stuff to further my understanding. just populating PCBs wasn't enough for me. I need more!