So you’ve got an idea for a new prototype that could possibly reshape the entire future of electronics forever… or you’re just getting started and would like to see your Arduino make a light blink… either way, a breadboard and breadboard wires are going to be an essential part of your protyping phase. Step one: Buy Breadboard.
Now that you’ve got your breadboard, you’re going to need some appropriate wire. To make things easy, we’ve summarized a few different types of breadboard wires, and discussed their value in making connections.
Solid core wire is probably the most common bulk breadboarding wire. Typically sold in spools of various lengths and many different colors, this wire helps keep your projects organized and color coded. Most boards recommended 22awg or 0.8mm.
Cheap – $8.50 for 100′ of Solid Wire.
Colorful – Even with just a single roll of Solid Red Wire, you can clean up your projects, and work safer knowing that all of your power wires are in uniform. Color coding your signal wires can also help keep everything functioning correctly as diagrammed.
Custom – Solid core wire needs to be cut to length, so the correct sized wire can always be obtained.
Cutting and stripping – Since this type of wire comes on a spool, cutting and stripping to length will be required. These steps can add to the total amount of time it takes to finish a project.
Breakage – Solid core wire can occasionally break off inside of the holes on a breadboard; these broken wires can be very difficult or impossible to remove.
Many breadboards come with assortments of pre-cut and bent wires, often with tinned leads. These wires usually come in a few different sizes, and are typically sorted by color (color denotes size).
Various lengths – There are typically 8 or 9 different pre-cut lengths in these assortments.
Tinning – The tinning on the ends of the jumper wires make them more durable than non-tinned wires.
Case – This type of wire typically comes in a handy clear wire organization case.
Cutable – Since these are still 22/23awg wire at their core, they are able to be cut to a desired length.
Cost – These pre-formed wires often can be more expensive than stripping your own.
Fragile – While not as fragile as normal wires these can also break off in the holes of a breadboard if they are over-stressed.
Another common type of breadboard wire are wires with header pins attached on both ends.
Durable – These cables are far less likely to snap off in the holes of a breadboard than solid code wires.
Flexible – The interior these is often stranded core wires, which offer more flexibility and durability from a cable standpoint.
Colors – These often come in many different colors so that color coding your wires is possible.
Lengths – These often are sold in a few different lengths, leading to large loops on breadboards.
Cost – This style of wire tend to be a little more costly than others.
Avoid These When Breadboarding:
Stranded Wire – Stranded wires makes wiring breadboards very difficult due to stray strands and issues with the spring contacts inside of the breadboard not gripping.
Magnet Wire – this type of wire is often hard to strip.
Thin Wire. Stick to solid core wire with a gauge of around 22awg for best results. Thin wire can be difficult to strip and brittle.
With decisions such as color, cost, durability, and length to consider for your breadboard wires, they aren’t a one-size-fits-all option. For a student whose project may be moved around, more durable wires, such as male to male jumpers, may be needed, while for professional use, solid core wire delivers a more professional look.
Of course, it’s important to keep a well stocked supply box. Having a variety of wires ready to go can make the difference between completing your project today, and needing to wait for a fresh shipment from Circuit Specialists.
Until next time,