One of the usual problems I have when using a test breadboard is legs of one component touching the legs of another one. Jumper cables are insulated, but the long legs of resistors, capacitors, etc are not.

I'm thinking to protect them using a plastic cover (if I found some tube of the appropriate diameter) or some insulating paint.

Does anyone have experience with this issue and suggestions of possible solutions?


  • \$\begingroup\$ I've always been wasteful when I've done that and just stripped wire of the right gauge to get and use the insulation. \$\endgroup\$
    – TonyM
    Jun 4, 2017 at 11:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TonyM: thanks a lot for your interested on this issue. Do you remember gauge of cable to isolated usual 1/4 W resistor? 1.5 mm2 ? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 4, 2017 at 11:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe some very thin heat shrink tubing? \$\endgroup\$
    – Wesley Lee
    Jun 4, 2017 at 11:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm afraid not - I was in an electronics lab' with lots of reels of cable available, I just went on trial and error. If you have to buy stuff, @WesleyLee suggestion is a good one. \$\endgroup\$
    – TonyM
    Jun 4, 2017 at 11:28

2 Answers 2


Save some of the jacket stripped off from small gauge hookup wire. Slide a piece of this over the leg of the component that is in a tight spot. Now you have another reason to never have to clean off your workbench...

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ "clean the workbench"? What does that mean? \$\endgroup\$
    – Wesley Lee
    Jun 4, 2017 at 11:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ When I am done with a protoyping project, my lab bench is usually littered with bits of wire, wire insulation and miscellaneous components. I was just joking that rather than putting most of this in the bin, you now have a reason to keep it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Glenn W9IQ
    Jun 4, 2017 at 11:35
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @GlennW9IQ - Wesley Lee was joking, too. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 4, 2017 at 15:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, pre-coffee posting. \$\endgroup\$
    – Glenn W9IQ
    Jun 4, 2017 at 15:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Reminds me of Jim Williams, youtu.be/I6ODi7qSpYg?t=301 :) \$\endgroup\$
    – sstobbe
    Jun 4, 2017 at 18:06

From the sound of it, your problem is caused by not making sure your breadboard layout it neat enough. This involves triming component leads so they sit flush on the board, and bending them so they match the grid pattern. All to often I see students struggle with debuging their circuit, because half of the time they don't know if the fault is caused by their design or just something wrong in their breadboarding. Because it's a mess, they can't easily check their breadboard circuit and thus lose a lot of time - time they would have saved if they took care in breadboarding the circuit neatly in the first place.

Does your breadboard look something like this: bad breadboard Then you need to trim the leads and cut cables to lenght. Cable and components are cheap and it's not worth it to waste your time debugging a messy layout for the sake of saving 2 cents worth of resistor.

Compare it to the following:

better layout

Note: neither of these are actual circuits, I just threw some stuff onto a breadboard for the sake of demonstration.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Oops. this approach is against two of my usual practices: an assorted set of resistors and capacitors that is reused from one experiment to next one (I've one iC741 30 years old!); and use resistors legs to reduce the number of jump wires. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 4, 2017 at 14:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nothing says you are not allowed to reuse resistors. Especially once they are nicely cut to a neat length, they can easily be reused. I tend to just find it more hassle than it is worth - I get resistors by the hundreds, the time it takes for me to stort them again is not worth the 1 or 2 cents they cost. The cut of leads of resistors can serve as jumper. In the middle of my second picture there is an example of this. Since it's flush against the board, there is little chance of shorts. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joren Vaes
    Jun 4, 2017 at 14:59

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