Breadboard Widgets

A collection of widgets/adapters/breakouts to make prototyping easier/faster

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When prototyping projects I get tired of hooking up even the simplest things very quickly (for example a tact switch with pull resistor). Therefore it doesn't take long until I make it somewhat permanent by putting it on some perfboard. In this project I want to share the prototypes I've built as well as schematics and board layouts for more polished versions.
I've combined most of the boards into a panel that has most of the basics to get started with microcontrollers and shouldn't be too hard to solder. You can get the PCBs in a pack of around 10 pieces at the link to the DirtyPCBs store in the external links section.

A lot of tthe boards are designed for full sized breadboards (830 tie points) since they plug into the power rails (which are offset on half sized breadboards).

So far this project contains the following boards:

'Red panel':

Release notes and errata

Available in the DirtyPCBs Store

Current work in progress:

  • USB 2-0 Type-C breakout

    Stefan Lochbrunner12/12/2022 at 16:16 0 comments

    Files on GitHub.

    I wanted to run a test for some USB 2.0 type-C connectors I got off Amazon and figured why not make it into one of the widgets.

    SchematicBoard layout

    It is inspired by the Adafruit USB-C breakout but I wanted to keep the connector to the breadboard power rails and added a power indicator LED.

    I liked how the Adafruit breakout has the pull-down resistors on CC1 and CC2 on board, so you don't have to add them every time, but of course you can just leave them unpopulated.

    The board is requesting power from a USB PD power supply and injects it into the breadboard power rails

    I ordered the boards from Aisler and if you are interested, I have shared them via this link. I have also been thinking about sharing the other boards individually on Aisler and OSHpark, so let me know if that's something you're interested in.

  • @SUFs boost regulator

    Stefan Lochbrunner07/31/2016 at 15:23 0 comments

    @SUF kindly supplied me with another one of his very useful widgets. This time it's a breakout for the MCP16252 boost regulator that can be configured to output either 3.3V or 5V by setting or removing a jumper respectively:

    SUFs original post about the board can be found here which also shows the original design. My EAGLE remake can be found in the GitHub repo as usual.

    Read more »

  • UART matrix

    Stefan Lochbrunner01/24/2016 at 20:43 0 comments

    TLDNR: See schematics and board below or on GitHub.

    I often end up making custom cables to connect various devboards like the #Ignore this ESP8266 board, an Arduino Pro Mini or a HC-05 bluetooth module to my CP2102 USB serial converters. Ok, the Pro Mini is actually 1-to-1 compatible but the point is that they all have a different pinouts.

    Read more »

  • 1-5x SMD LED breakout

    Stefan Lochbrunner11/05/2015 at 13:44 2 comments

    I haven't written about this one before because I think it's pretty trivial and self explanatory but for completeness here's the link to the GitHub repo. On a side note I'd like to mention that I chose the number of LEDs to be 5 because that's the max you can fit side-by-side in the rail of a breadboard but obviously you can just use another one of these to make up a whole byte.

    Another reason for this log is that I wanted to share some use cases for this board.

    The first one is pretty obvious. Just don't solder the LED and you have yourself a SMD LED tester (optionally add a small potentiometer for good measure):

    Read more »

  • SMD breakout & proto board

    Stefan Lochbrunner10/18/2015 at 23:20 0 comments

    This one went from the simplest SOIC-16 breakout to a way over-designed board that will hopefully serve all* my SMD prototyping needs. I uploaded a couple of versions to the GitHub repo but the ones shown above are the only ones I had made so far.

    Basically it's a SOIC and TSSOP 16 breakout but I couldn't bare all the empty space so naturally I filled it up with SMD pads and additional headers. The idea was to also be able to use it to make various adapters like this:

    Read more »

  • DB-x breakout

    Stefan Lochbrunner10/12/2015 at 18:33 0 comments

    As per @Howard Jones' suggestion I've made a breakout board for the following D-sub connectors:

    • DA-15
    • DB-9 (or more accurately DE-9)
    • DE-15 (VGA)

    I'll spare you the (obvious) schematics (<- GitHub) but here's the board:

    Read more »

  • PCBs are in

    Stefan Lochbrunner10/01/2015 at 13:12 1 comment


    Read more »

  • @SUFs negative voltage converter

    Stefan Lochbrunner08/04/2015 at 16:15 4 comments

    This is another one of @SUFs contributions, the original files of which can be found here. It's a negative voltage converter based on the Intersil ICL7660S and works quite well as you can see:

    Read more »

  • MOSFET breakout for PWM driver

    Stefan Lochbrunner07/29/2015 at 17:42 5 comments


    I was thinking about what else to put on the panel but couldn't come up with something original. Since the most essential parts for a 'starter kit' (buttons, LEDs) are already there I was thinking what the next step would be. In most tutorials[1] this next step is controlling something that requires more voltage or current than the MCU can deliver (besides using some special IC or a display). For this reason and because I need a PWM driver for other projects I threw together this MOSFET breakout:

    Read more »

  • @SUFs USB-B breakout

    Stefan Lochbrunner07/16/2015 at 17:45 1 comment

    Here's another contribution from @SUF:

    The original repo for this USB-B breakout can be found here. As with the audio breakouts, it has also been merged into this projects repo. And again, the schematic should be obvious from the board file:

    Read more »

View all 17 project logs

Enjoy this project?



flashcactus wrote 04/20/2016 at 01:57 point

Awesome. I've started making my own lately, should probably make a project for those as well (especially since I'm using them for debugging the buzzwatch)

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Stefan Lochbrunner wrote 04/20/2016 at 20:11 point

Yeah, I'd love to see what your take on this is!

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sg3184 wrote 03/14/2016 at 20:47 point

Hi Stefan, love what you are doing with the breadboard widgets. :) Its a fantastic concept and surely should get more prominence in the times ahead. I recently heard Massimo Banzi talk about Project Eslov ( and Object Oriented Hardware and he talked at length about how modules and widgets approach will change the hardware in the future. 

Wanted to share a project of my own: 
There are several platforms and development kits there. Any ideas on what you might want to see there?

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Stefan Lochbrunner wrote 03/14/2016 at 22:01 point

Thanks, I'm glad you like it! Back in October this project got quite some attention when and HaD tweeted about it so I think I already had my 5 minutes of 'fame' ;)

At the moment progress is a bit slow but I'm still working towards putting together another panel.

Project Eslov reminds me lot of littleBits but obviously those have an entirely differently goal from this project. Modules like those (and the accompanying software) sure make it easier to get started with electronics but in the case of littleBits I think that the price is another barrier of entry. However, it will be interesting to see what becomes of Project Eslov.

#Common Parts Library looks really interesting, I'll have to check out the Eagle library some time soon; I'm always using parts mainly from the Adafriut, DangerousPrototypes and SparkFun libraries so having all parts in only one would be a nice change. I might have some suggestions but I'll leave those in the comments of your project as this reply is getting pretty long ;)

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cyplesma wrote 01/24/2016 at 04:48 point

definitely way better looking then what I use, but I am just getting started with this concept:

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Stefan Lochbrunner wrote 01/24/2016 at 11:39 point

Nice project, I like that the resistors are changeable. You might have seen that some of my first prototypes were initially made on perfboard as well and only later I ordered PCBs.

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Yann Guidon / YGDES wrote 01/20/2016 at 15:51 point

Hi :-) What about a TSOP II 44 adapter ? I got many SRAMs in this format and I'd like to prototype a CPU thing :-)

I know I can do it myself but why bother if it exists already ?

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Stefan Lochbrunner wrote 01/20/2016 at 16:15 point

Sure, I'll give it a try :)

I've been meaning to do a QFP/QFN breakout that could go on the back. Any suggestions for the pin headers? To be breadboard compatible I should use two 1x22 headers but that seems a bit large. Two 2x11 headers with one of the rows populated with female headers might be an idea though.

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Stefan Lochbrunner wrote 01/20/2016 at 18:49 point

I've uploaded a first version to the repo. Not completely happy with it but it's a start.

It's just a generic breakout but if all the SRAMs have the same pinout it would be worth making a special breakout for them.

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Yann Guidon / YGDES wrote 01/20/2016 at 22:43 point

AFAIK, TSOP II 44 is used only for asynchronous static SRAMs and it's a JEDEC standard so I don't expect surprises. You can add the special/weird power supply crossing tracks in the middle, with a pair of 0603 capacitor soldering pads :-)

Your layout is nice, not great for solderless breadboards but I use solder so I could use it :-) I wonder however if your clearances are too tight, I use 150µ rules with 300µ drills.

Unfortunately I don't have time now to work on this, but I'd love to, as soon as my work in Denmark ( is finished. Remind me in february :-)

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K.C. Lee wrote 01/20/2016 at 19:35 point

Would some of those 100 pins TQFP boards on aliexpress work for you?

They are doubled sided with 0.8mm and 0.5mm on the same PCB.  Just hope the stubs isn't too bad for you.

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Yann Guidon / YGDES wrote 01/20/2016 at 22:31 point

It does not look suitable... I tried aliexpress and had several misfortunes.
I have found a suitable TSOP II 44 adapter board on eBay but the price is pretty high :-(

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Stefan Lochbrunner wrote 01/21/2016 at 00:22 point

Those are some good pointers! I implemented a few in v2 which is now in the repo.

To make this design compatible solderless breadboards I thought you could use female headers for the inner two 1x11 headers. I used DirtyPCBs design rules which are 5mil/127um min spacing and 12mil/300um min drill size I think. For the generic breakout I wanted the traces to be as wide as possible but for a more specialized breakout I could decrease the width of data signal to increase clearances. Do yo think it would be worth it or more useful if the data and address signal went to opposite sides of the board and possibly were in the right order?

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Yann Guidon / YGDES wrote 01/21/2016 at 14:01 point

wow you are suggesting me awesome improvements :-)

separating the address, control and data lines is a great idea! (marking them is even better).

Order of the address and data lines is not critical, as long as they remain the same during operation (so datum X goes to address Y and not another). This eases routing :-)

Thinner traces (250 or 300µ) are also ok for these signals.

If it goes to the fab, I'll take 10 or 12 pieces :-) (I need 6 just for the SRAM of #Discrete YASEP and some more for the extra features)

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Stefan Lochbrunner wrote 01/21/2016 at 20:09 point

Let me know what you think of v3 ;)

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Yann Guidon / YGDES wrote 01/21/2016 at 21:01 point

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Stefan Lochbrunner wrote 01/21/2016 at 21:06 point

Haha, thanks @Yann Guidon / YGDES!

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Howard Jones wrote 10/09/2015 at 13:20 point

Would be cool to add some other annoying pin layout footprints - I've designed (will be my first ever PCB etch) a breakout like this for the DE-15 VGA connector, so I can play with R-2R resistor DACs before making a DAC board. Soldering bare wires onto the backs is a PITA. DB9 for serial/joystick ports would be cool too for the same reasons. I'm planning on using these with cheap FPGA boards to prototype stuff.

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Stefan Lochbrunner wrote 10/09/2015 at 18:23 point

Great idea! I've wanted to do something along the lines of @CNLohr's for a while or just tap into the i²c interface that's on a VGA port.

Naturally I tried combining DE-15 and DB-9 on a single board but the first attempt wasn't too promising. I'll probably switch to a part with smaller pads and also try to incorporate a DA-15. Have you uploaded your design somewhere I could take a look at?

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Howard Jones wrote 10/09/2015 at 20:40 point

I haven't yet, but certainly can. It's just the RGB and h/v sync pins currently - very simple. The next iteration was going to be a combined PS/2, VGA with DAC, and serial with MAX3241, but that doesn't really fit with your building block approach (which is awesome). Also, check out this similar project, already on h.io

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Stefan Lochbrunner wrote 10/09/2015 at 21:37 point

That sounds pretty cool. In regard to generating images on a MCU or FPGA I'd probably go straight to digital interfaces to make use of the LCD panels I have.

I've thrown together a breakout for DE-15, DB-9 & DA-15 that you can check out here: breakout. I'll probably pretty it up a bit more and write a log about it soon(ish).

Since it's a dual layer design it probably won't help you with your design though.

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Howard Jones wrote 10/10/2015 at 11:03 point

What is a DA-15 used for? Or is it just that it kind of comes "for free" once you add the DB-9-pitch pins? The only things I can think of that use that connector are pretty ancient - 10base2 ethernet and original analog IBM PC joysticks!

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Stefan Lochbrunner wrote 10/10/2015 at 11:20 point

Yeah, it kind of comes for free. Since there are already 15 pins from the DE-15 I thought I might as well use a DA-15 for that spacing even if it makes placing the DB-9 a little harder. Analog joysticks are the only thing I could think of, too. It's a niche for sure but might come in handy some day.

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josh.hulbert wrote 10/08/2015 at 12:25 point

Cool!  This really scratches an itch for me.  Love the switch module, so mundane but jamming a little Omron button on a breadboard has always been flaky.

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Stefan Lochbrunner wrote 10/08/2015 at 12:39 point

Thanks! I made the version on protoboard quite a while ago but thinking back I remember those switches being somewhat annoying. As I said in a log, those widgets are the result of my laziness and not wanting to have to deal with just a button for way too long. :)

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Craig Hissett wrote 10/08/2015 at 10:59 point

I'm definitely going to need to make some of these for my #Pi/Arduino Prototyping station!

Great work buddy!

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Stefan Lochbrunner wrote 10/08/2015 at 12:33 point

Thanks! I'd be happy to send you a panel if you have some cool stuff to trade :)

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Craig Hissett wrote 10/08/2015 at 12:57 point

I will have a look and see what I have to offer :-)

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jaromir.sukuba wrote 09/05/2015 at 18:47 point

Where did you order that panel? Some cheap manufacturers (itead, seeed) don't like multipanels separated by milled paths.

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Stefan Lochbrunner wrote 09/05/2015 at 19:14 point

I ordered it at DirtyPCBs. Considering that the PCBs already shipped the board house didn't seem to mind the milled paths.

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jaromir.sukuba wrote 09/05/2015 at 19:16 point
Good to know. I've heard of them many times, but didn't leave the comfort zone of PCB suppliers I've used before. I have to try them.

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Stefan Lochbrunner wrote 09/05/2015 at 19:31 point

I ordered the PCBs for #Pro Trinket USB Keyboard there as well and was really satisfied. Shipping to Germany took quite a while but at their prices I can't complain.

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