Chapter 5. Moving from Breadboard to Prototype

Building a circuit on a solderless breadboard is a great starting point for most projects. We’ve seen that solderless breadboards provide us with an easy way to mount devices and move pins around quickly. However, the ease with which wires can be added and removed is a problem when we want to put our sensor system out into the environment.

The Prototype

Once we have tested our circuit and gotten it working on a solderless breadboard, the next step is to build a prototype on which the wires and components are more permanently connected together.

We will use solder, the electronics equivalent of glue, to build our prototype. It is a metal alloy that melts at temperature low enough that it can be melted around the pins of our circuit components without causing damage to the sensitive electronics inside these components. When the solder cools, it creates a solid, electrically conductive, permanent bond to our wires and pins.

Before we make these permanent connections, however, it is very important to document the wiring of the circuit we designed on our solderless breadboard. Clear and easy-to-read documentation of our solderless breadboard is necessary to help us see what pins and wires to solder together as we build our prototype, especially if our prototype is complex. Good documentation will also allow us to share our circuit with others. This can be valuable during the debugging process. Finally, this documentation can be sent to a factory ...

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