4 Tricks for Prototyping With Electronics
When you’re prototyping a project using a breadboard, you want to make sure you have a very clean, easy-to-modify circuit. This helps you reduce errors and make modifications and/or fixes more easily.
These are four aspects to pay attention to when prototyping with electronics.
1. Select the appropriate size for the protoboard accordingly.
It’s important to select the appropriate size breadboard for your prototype so you’re utilizing all the space you need. You don’t want to choose a small board if you are going to populate it with 100 different components. And in case you need more than 1 voltage supply, it may be more convenient to get a bigger board, which usually allows for more voltage.
If you are using an external piece of hardware, such as an off-the-shelf plastic box or a 3D printed case to contain the prototype, you want to gather the measurements and pick your protoboard accordingly to ensure it fits.
2. Use power lines to your advantage.
You want a clean prototype so it’s easy to troubleshoot or make changes. One way of doing that is trying to use the power lines along the sides of the breadboard. Use them to your advantage.
Sometimes projects require you to work with more than one voltage. Depending on the protoboard you use, you can have several power lines with different voltages. This lets you have easy access for power supply, shorter wires, and a cleaner look.
3. Use the jumper wires types and colors to your advantage.
There are two types of jumper wires. The types of wires are stranded with solid tips, and solid wires without solid tips. You can consider using colors for color coding, and that can also help when you’re reviewing the design. For example, black for ground, red for positive, etc.
Using needle nose pliers can help, as well as wire strippers and wire cutters to make cuts.
4. Leave enough space for access.
Try to think ahead and lay out the prototype in a way that provides you with room to access things such as switches, buttons, connectors, or wires. You will realize that your prototype will transform quickly and you will need access to components you didn’t think of before.
When you’re prototyping with electronics, what it really comes down to is having clean-looking components and easy access to them so you can fix or review your design more easily. Sometimes your work-in-progress takes several iterations before it’s a working prototype, and so it’s important to have these steps in place.
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