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how do you add components with thick leads to a breadboarded circuit?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Michael, Dec 31, 2003.

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  1. Michael

    Michael Guest

    Hi - I was just wondering - how do you add components that have larger than
    18 awg leads to a breadboard? I don't want to ruin my breadboard by
    plugging in things like thick diode leads and such - but then again it's
    quite the pain to solder 18 awg leads to every thick leaded component. Any
    suggestions? Thanks!

  2. DarkMatter

    DarkMatter Guest

    You already gave yourself the answer...

    Solder some small cut leads from smaller leaded components or mag
    wire to them in lap joint fashion. BAM! You have successfully
    changed the lead diameter.

    You could also use perf board instead of one of those pre done up
    "poke it in and run with it" deals. There are some diodes that come
    in smaller form factors, yet retain the rating of the other form

    We have a lot of transzorbs that are that way. We can get them in
    two styles for that given wattage. If your expected wattage IS that
    high (such that large lead components are needed), you should probably
    at least put that part of your circuit on an attached daughterboard of
    perf board media, and attach that to the main breadboard.
  3. Rich Webb

    Rich Webb Guest

    Try cutting the leads at a very steep angle. You'll need sharp cutters,
    of course. You won't be able to "bottom out" the component but if you're
    careful to make the "flat" of the cut to where it sits against the flat
    of the clip in the breadboard, you may get a good enough contact patch.
  4. DarkMatter

    DarkMatter Guest

    He gets good contact in that scenario, but what he trying to avoid is
    damaging the breadboard, not so much making the circuit. Though he
    seems lazy to have said it, his lead splice is the answer to the
  5. Michael

    Michael Guest

    Eh - it's not that I'm lazy - I was just hoping there was an easier way.
  6. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    how do you add components that have
    Solder a piece of a smaller-diameter lead to the fat one.
  7. CFoley1064

    CFoley1064 Guest

    Hi - I was just wondering - how do you add components that have larger than
    Hi, Mike. Be sure to remember that most solderless breadboard contacts are
    only rated for 1 amp, too -- you might succeed in getting the component into
    the breadboard (you really shouldn't use less than 22AWG solid here, or you
    deform the contacts), and then have the contact overheat and damage the
    breadboard. Most components with 18AWG wire leads are meant to handle several
    amps of current. I've got an older breadboard with marked off "toxic" areas --
    sometimes there's enough heat to start browning the white plastic on the top,
    and sometimes there's just enough to oxidize the spring contacts underneath, so
    you have a bad connection for the next time you want to use the board. Imagine
    the joy of troubleshooting a breadboard problem for an hour, only to find that
    the contact resistance at one tie point is several ohms. Also, try to use
    current-limited power supplies all the time when using these solderless
    breadboards. (Filed under advice learned the hard way in a project that used
    1N540X diodes and several other higher power components where I spliced in
    22AWG wires on the leads)

    Good luck.
  8. Michael

    Michael Guest

    (CFoley1064) wrote in

    Oops - just realized I said 18 awg instead of 22 awg. Oopsies.

    Everything I do is very low power anyways - so I've never had to worry
    about heat (unless I'm doing something wrong!) Sounds like I just have to
    suck it up and pull out the soldering iron... Which is annoying because my
    favorite part of prototyping circuits on a breadboard is that I don't have
    to use my soldering iron!

  9. CFoley1064

    CFoley1064 Guest

    Sounds like I just have to
    Every engineer should have a small rollup toolkit in his/her briefcase, and a
    small butane-powered iron and a 2 ounce spool of solder doesn't take up much
    room. The thing that's bugging you is the time for warmup/cooldown. That
    makes it seem like a production. The butane irons heat up in a few seconds.

    Good luck
  10. Rechargable battery-powered irons heat in a second; fast enough
    that they switch off between use.
  12. Tim Auton

    Tim Auton Guest

    Cut a jumper lead in half, cut a crocodile clip lead in half. Solder
    half of each together (cover the join with heat-shrink or tape, of
    course) and you can stick one end in the breadboard and use the clip
    to connect components with fat leads, thin leads, solder tabs...

    It can quickly get messy (risking shorts) if you've got a lot of
    components, but for the odd one or two it's fine. That's how I hook up
    small motors and the like when prototyping. You can also clip the
    leads to your meter/scope probes.

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