Getting started with breadboard power supplies

Getting started with breadboard power supplies
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Breadboard power supplies are easy-to-use, companion modules that provide a regulated voltage to the power rails of solderless breadboards.

Introduction to breadboard power supplies

A breadboard power supply is a small companion module that provides a regulated voltage to the power rails of a solderless breadboard. They are easy to use and can make prototyping much easier.

Although there might be many different makes, shapes, sizes, voltage and amperage variations, the main idea of a breadboard power supply is to supply steady power to a breadboard.

Some models, such as the RobotDyn 5V/3.3V Breadboard Power Supply (see the video above), connects directly onto the power rails of a breadboard supplying Vcc and GND connections. The input of these power supplies is chosen to be able to be down-regulated to supply its intended voltage and amperage levels.

Power output

The most important aspect of breadboard power supplies is their power output settings.

Although the power output may vary depending on the model, most breadboard power supplies will have output voltage setting for 5V DC and 3.3V DC. In the image below, a jumper is used to set the desired output voltage.

Each of the two power rails can be set to have its own voltage setting. By setting the jumper to OFF, one of the two power rails can be disconnected.

Typically a voltage regulator will guarantee a supply 1A on the 5V setting and 800mA on the 3.3V setting. The power output can be confirmed using a multimeter.

RobotDyn Breadboard Power Supply
Some breadboard power supplies might have more than one selectable power output. This one uses a jumper to set between 5V DC, off and 3.3V DC.

Power output for each rail can also be connected using soldering points situated directly on the board. 5V power can also be supplied to a standard 5V USB by using the onboard USB connector.

Breadboard

Most breadboard power supplies are made to fit a standard 5.5cm / 2.2″ prototype breadboard.

Power input

Power is supplied using the standard 5.5 x 2.5 mm DC barrel power connector connected to the power input socket on the side of the breadboard power supply.

Breadboard power supply power input
Power to a breadboard power supply is supplied using the standard 5.5 x 2.5 mm DC barrel power connector. Here the on/off switch and the USB out is also seen.

Breadboard power supplies down-regulate the voltage and amperage of its power input to the indicated levels. In the video above, a 12V 1A supply. was used, but a 500mA (6 Watts) power supply will probably supply enough power too.

On/off switch

An on/off switch adds an easy way to connect and disconnect power to the breadboard power supply. Power to the board will be indicated by the onboard LED.

In the case where there is no on/off switch, power can be disconnected by disconnecting the power input.

Accessories

To get started with breadboard power supplies, you might need some of the following accessories.

Please support us by using these links - they come at no additional cost to you, but we get a little commission each time they are used. These and others are available from Amazon.com and BangGood.

We have tested most of these products ourselves. Other selection criteria include affordability, quality, availability and average user rating and popularity by other buyers.

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(Dead or old links can be reported in the comments section below.)

Featured product

Breadboard Power Supply 5V/3.3V
Breadboard Power Supply 5V/3.3V

Easy-to-use, breadboard power supply module providing regulated 5V @ 1A and/or 3.3V @ 800mA. Easily connects to a 5.5mm / 2.2in breadboard. Perfect to use with Arduinos and/or ESP microcontroller boards.
Available from BangGood

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Conclusion

Although there are some variations on design and power output, most breadboard power supplies will have a voltage output of 5V/3.3V DC and will fit snug on the standard prototype breadboard.

A 6-12 Watt power supply would suffice in supplying enough power to the board.

About the author
Renier busies himself with improving his English writing, creative web design and his websites, photoshopping, micro-electronics, multiple genres of music, superhero movies and badass series.
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