Five Cheap Breadboard Prototyping Tips And Tricks – List #2

Following the heels of our List #1 of breadboarding tips, here’s another one. These tips were found by scrounging the web and user contributed –  so a big thank you to those who shared to make breadboarding/debugging life easier for all of us. Lets start:

1. SDcard breakout with headers

Joby tipped us on this instructable by Kroden – using a 7 pin single male row  header coupled with a dual row male header, you can have your own $2 sdcard reader. This tip also allows you to swap sdcards.


2. Twist Ties as Jumpers

Drew D submitted this simple tip. If you are desperately in need of a jumper wire, use the one that comes with your bread. This give us all the more reason to save those twist ties.

3. LED Straws as diffusers

This is an Instructable tip from Coffeebot, tipped by Nate. Ever blind your eyes from LED lights? This quick tip requires nothing but a few straws and a pair of scissors. Tested on 5mm leds.

4. Masking tape breadboard reference

Neil submitted this awesome debugging tip.This allows you to probe your circuit without going back to the schematic and also make a few notes.Very nice!

You can label the tape, and it covers up all the unused tie points (good for clarity). It also makes it easier to exchange parts, because it’s obvious what holes you’re using.

5. Makeshift breadboard multimeter probes

The_don125 tips about using 1/4 watt resistors as multimeter probes on your breadboard,instead of jabbing your blunt  multimeter probes into your breadboard.

We would love to see you submit more tips. Comment below if you like the tips featured here or have any other suggestions.


  1. #1 and #4 are awesome tips. I eagerly wait for the next list.

  2. I often wire those pin header style tipped prototyping wires into a banana plug or bnc adapter or just clip the other end into a scope probe (hook) so I can plug the other ends into breadboards, IC sockets, headers, or IDC cable ends. It seems to be more reliable than messing with blunt multimeter probes at all.

  3. I use network cable for jumpers wires. I have a roll of 10,000 ft and those have full core wires I simply cut a piece of that and I have 8 wires. some time Ill just cut a wire that the clip broke too.

  4. Also breaking out small surface mount chips is easily done with a dip socket. simply fill your the holes in the socket with tin. Take you surface mount, and spread the pins out with a needle. Then heat one up and the center pin of the surface mount so solder and anchor your chip in place. then I used a needle to place the pins where they go. if the pin does not quite reach, its easy to stretch some solder to the pin

  5. Seeing those drinking straws reminded me of another hack: using black drinking straws on light-sensing photodiodes to keep stray light off the detector. You have some control over the angle of view by using a longer or shorter snippet of straw.

    • Thanks. Will put that out in list #3. Nice writeup on the “old sad instruments”

    • Heat Shrink tubing works very well also

  6. Another tip for you collection: I use Blu Tack which is “reusable putty-like pressure-sensitive adhesive”.
    It is non-conductive and I use to stitch parts of breadboard-based project together, e.g. for attaching not-breadboard-friendly flat PCB to the breadboard.
    If you often take pictures of something small, it also could help you by securing objects for photo session.
    Try it, very handy!

    • Thanks!

    • Just be careful not to let it get heated because that will make an ungodly mess :)

  7. Please get some dirt cheap breadboard cables from Dealextreme. And you can always use stapes as jumpers 😉

  8. Regarding drug123’s comment about Blu Tack. I think the generic name is “poster putty” or this may be a trademarked product but the name at least describes the product. Prestik is another product name (made by Bostik in Europe).
    I have always advised that the 2 most cost effective tools are these putty’s and rubber bands. Have a screw, nut, bolt to put in, in an inaccessible location (or pick up) These putty’s are a universal magnetic grip without any downside.
    Cover a spare key with the stuff (to prevent dirt or oxidation) and hide it anywhere invisible outside your car (underneath) or home. The stickiness multiplies that possible hiding places. Also Murphy dictates that having done so will cause you to never lose your original key!
    Rubber bands across the grips of (long nose) pliers and you have a variable grip strength vice especially handy for soldering. Rubber bands also makes keeping tidy much easier by concentrating and shrinking the apparent size of objects.

    • Thanks for the tips.

    • Rubber bands on pliers!!!

      That what I’ve been looking for for ages as a third hand for using super glue.

      Thank you so much!

  9. I just made a nice multimeter breadboard adapter by soldering a header pin across the legs of a headphone jack.

    Add a little heatshrink and you have a clip on adapter with a solid contact that fit’s snugly to the probe. Even better if you have the little grooves in the end of the probe that the sprung contact can grip.

    There’s a photo of it here…

    • Thanks for the tip, we’ll have it added in our next tip post.



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