Breadboard

A solderless breadboard with connector breakout boards can also be used instead of a baseboard. Many surface mount ICs sensors and drivers are also available on breakout boards. A breadboard provides a bit more flexibility and it is easier to connect custom external hardware, ICs, and sensors than a baseboard. The more expensive breadboards such as the ones from 3M and Global Specialties do tend to last a bit longer under extreme use and have a sturdier base than the less expensive ones, but it is not clear if it is worth the increased price especially if it is only used occasionally.


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See handbook Breadboard if you are not familiar with how to use a breadboard. An mbed module with several breakout boards requires a medium to large size breadboard. Servos and motors will need an external power source, so a breadboard with power terminals can come in handy for any projects that require more current than a USB cable can provide (460MA - 200MA needed for mbed). A new or spare AC to DC wall adapter with banana plugs that plug into the breadboard terminals can even be used as a low-cost auxiliary power supply. Low-cost small wall adapters with energy efficient switching regulators can provide up to 5V at 4A for around $20-30. Remember to connect the grounds only when using more than one power supply. The breadboard size seen below has worked well for students working on a wide variety of mbed projects.


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Don't forget the jumper wires, you can never have too many. They always seem to vanish.


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A 3M Jumper Wire Kit from Digikey

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A low-cost Pololu Jumper Wire Refill Kit

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Some people prefer the stranded wire jumpers with pins and they are also available from Sparkfun


Here are some sources for solderless breadboards:


USA

Jameco

Digikey

Global Specialties

Circuit Specialists

Pololu

Fry's


UK

Farnell

Maplin

SKPang


Worldwide

Global Specialties

Digikey

Pololu

Farnell