A breadboard (or Veroboard®) is material or a device used to build a prototype of an electronic circuit.

The breadboard derives its name from an early form of point-to-point construction. In the early days of radio, amateurs would nail copper wire or terminal strips to a wooden board (often literally a board for cutting bread), and solder electronic components to them. Sometimes a paper schematic diagram was first glued to the board as a guide to placing terminals, components and wires.

Missing image
A solderless breadboard in use.
Hole pattern for a typical etched prototyping PCB. The circuit pattern is similar to that of the solderless breadboard shown above, rotated 90°.
Hole pattern for a typical etched prototyping PCB. The circuit pattern is similar to that of the solderless breadboard shown above, rotated 90°.

A modern solderless breadboard consists of a perforated block of plastic with numerous tin plated phosphor bronze spring clips under the perforations. ICs in dual inline (DIP) packages can be inserted to straddle the centerline of the block. Interconnecting wires and discrete component leads can be inserted into the remaining free holes to complete the circuit topology. Using these it is possible to prototype a variety of electronic systems, from small circuits to complete central processing units. However, due to large stray capacitance, solderless breadboards are limited to operating at relatively low frequencies, say less than 10 MHz, depending on the nature of the circuit.

Alternative methods to create prototypes are point-to-point construction, reminiscent of the original breadboards, and wire-wrap.

Prototyping with breadboards is too clumsy and unreliable for complicated systems such as modern computers comprising millions of transistors, diodes and resistors.

Modern circuit designs are generally developed using a schematic capture and simulation system and tested in simulation before the first prototype circuits are built on a printed circuit board. Integrated circuit designs are a more extreme version of the same process: Since producing prototype silicon is so expensive, extensive software simulations are performed before fabricating the first prototypes.

However, breadboard prototyping techniques are still used for some specialised applications such as broadband RF circuits, or where software models of components are inexact or incomplete.

Optical breadboards (optical tables or optics benches) also exist in which there is a grid of holes, usually spaced an inch apart, in which optical mounts can be screwed in.


The integrated circuit for the Polaroid SX-70 camera was breadboarded before Texas Instruments fabricated the custom chip. It was rumoured to have been built from discrete components on a 4 ft. x 8 ft. piece of plywood, and was fully functional. The project was so secret that Texas Instruments engineers were only given functional specifications, but not told the purpose of the chip.

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