I'm working on a development board which will mount on a solderless breadboard. It uses a 100 pin TQFP IC and Ethernet jack, among other things, so it would be a nightmare to get it to fit on a single section of breadboard at only 1.1" wide, and I'd like it to be big enough for users to make some edits. I'd also like to be able to plug into power distribution rails on the breadboard (like the Sparkfun Breadboard Power Supply).

However, after comparing my breadboard with a few friends and coworkers, I see that there are a number of differences in layout. I hope that I can accommodate some if not all of these differences by including multiple places to mount the headers for various breadboards.

Here's a dimensioned diagram so we're all on the same page. Imagine that there are two full strips side by side (one mostly off to the left), with power rails on both sides.

breadboard diagram [Whoops! I forgot the horizontal dimension between B and C. Let's call it E, since I don't have the source for this image anymore.]

1. What are the dimensions of popular, currently manufactured/used breadboards?
In addition to the measurements in the diagram I'd like to know the following:
2. Is there an electrical discontinuity between the top and of the power rails? (If so, is measurement '3' different at this location?)
3. What is the configuration of the breadboard? Using the convention that P is a two-column power strip and M is a middle section (rows of connections with a gap for DIP ICs in the center), my breadboard looks like: PMPPMPPMP
4. How many rows are in the breadboard middle section and power sections? Mine has 64 pairs of 5-pin rows in the middle and 10 5x2 blocks.
5. Any other discrepancies I missed which would affect PCB layout?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Should this be community wiki? I've written it as a survey question, but if someone can come up with some documentation which describes the relevant information for a few popular styles then that would be the best answer, and deserve some rep and a check. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Jan 4 '11 at 17:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can always make it a wiki later if the answers warrant it. \$\endgroup\$ – tyblu Jan 4 '11 at 19:39

Given the lack of actual measurements thus far, I've decided to upload some measurements of my own. I used a ruler and a magnifier because I don't have anything more accurate, but I verified the measurements by pulling some pins out of a .1" header and test fitting it in the measurements indicated.

| BB  | A  | B  | C  | D  | E  | 1  | 2  | 3  | 4  | R4 |
| Top | .3-| .1 | .4 | .3 | .3 | .2-| .4 | .2 | .2 | 0  |
| 2nd | NA | .1 | .4 | .3 | .3 | .2 | .4 | .2 | .3 | inf|
| 3rd | .2+| .15| .4 | .3 | .3 | .2 | .4 | .2 | .3 | inf|
| Bot | .3-| .1 | .4 | .3 | .3 | .2-| .4 | .2 | .2 | 0  |

A measurement like .3- means that it was slightly smaller than .3, but not .25 or .3. Measurement 4 is the distance between the center two power rails (notice that it's different on the middle 2), and R4 is the resistance between the top and bottom of the measurement.

The breadboards I used are shown in the following picture, numbered 1 (on the bottom) to 4.

Breadboards. Larger version at imgur.com/fST77, but E&R won't upload it.

The one on top of the stack is from RSR, the next is a couple old 3M Super Strips. I think that the third might be a Twin Industries model, but I don't know that. It and the bottom one were purchased by my school and the guys who would know where they're from don't get back until Monday.

I'd love to have some Twin Industries, Parallax, Global Specialties, Sparkfun, Seeedstudio, and Adafruit measurements. I'm about ready to just email all of those manufacturers and ask them to take some calipers out to the warehouse, but I feel bad asking for that kind of a favor without intending to buy one of them.


Breadboards at Digikey will give you some sizes.

  • \$\begingroup\$ No, they don't. I haven't seen one yet that gives any of the dimensions listed in my diagram. All of 3M's datasheets point here[pdf], which only gives the outlines. Twin Industries and Parallax, the other two suppliers, don't have datasheets at all. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Jan 4 '11 at 22:39

Usually .1" pitch between rows and columns with either .1" or .15" from the last column in an area to the first column of a power rail. Sometimes there's one column for a power bus, sometimes 2.

Usually the bus columns are split in the middle of the board with either .1" or .15" between the rows across the split.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Huh...I have found 5 different breadboards, and they all have two-column power busses. Do you have a link or dimensions? \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Jan 5 '11 at 4:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ This one only has a one-column power bus: sparkfun.com/products/137 It seems to me that most of the boards don't give dimensions on the inside (like you want) but only outside dimensions (like you found). \$\endgroup\$ – AngryEE Jan 5 '11 at 13:15

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