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I've put together this circuit, and (with some help from EE SE) it's working great.

I have it wired like this: enter image description here where the diode comes first off the middle transistor pin, and then the motor negative comes next. The motor negative lead and diode are not touching (except that they're in the same vertical rail).

I understand the diode is in this circuit to handle discharge of the 12V solenoid. If I wire the negative lead first, as so: enter image description here would this be equivalent to the above or does it matter where the diode is in relation to the negative lead?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This website has a schematic editor. Could you edit a schematic of what you are asking into your post? Actually, if you did this, I think you would answer your own question. Also, your question doesn't actually match your title which means something else altogether. \$\endgroup\$ – DKNguyen Jan 22 at 23:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DKNguyen I believe the OP is asking about the connections of their breadboard.... In that case, these two pictures will really ultimately have the same outcome. \$\endgroup\$ – KingDuken Jan 22 at 23:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KingDuken And if he tried to draw a schematic instead of looking at a physical breadboard, it would (or should be) be obvious. That was my point. \$\endgroup\$ – DKNguyen Jan 22 at 23:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Each series of 5 vertical holes on a breadboard are connected together and in all normal applications can be considered to be interchangeable. If this is ever not the case then you are trying to use the breadboard at or beyond its reasonable limits. \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon Jan 23 at 1:34
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It is the same, as the are connected to the same node on the circuit, thus having the same voltage on both the diode and the motor negative lead.

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On the bread board, a node is the row of holes that are connected by the strip of metal underneath usually copper.

photo of solderless breadboard

(Image Source: Proto Supplies - Guide To Solderless Breadboards)

From the image above the electrical contact strip outlined in red are nodes.

As long as your component legs are connected to a common node (the same strip of metal) then a connection will be made.

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