Panel-Mounted Breadboard Accessories

[Chuck Stephens] grew up with Radio Shack 100-in-1 electronic kits. The ones with lots of components and spring terminals that could be wired to be a radio, a burglar alarm, or whatever.[Chuck] graduated to solderless breadboard, but did miss having panel mounted components like pots and switches easily available. So he has been building his own accessory boxes.

Of course, it is easy enough to just connect breadboard wires to component, but [Chuck] went further than that. Using boxes of different types (including a cigar box), he mounted the components properly and also wired them to a breadboard for easy connection.

If you’ve ever tried to solder to breadboard springs (we have), you’ve found it is hard to get adhesion to the shiny metal. [Chuck] solved the problem by crimping little wire hooks to the springs. The result is a good looking and functional prototyping aid.

They do make tiny breadboard style contacts (called tie point blocks; good luck finding them) for this kind of application, but the crimp technique works on common breadboards. These are cheap and much easier to find.

Of course, these days, we are as likely to want to mount SMDs than panel mounted controls. Now if we could only figure out where to put the components. If you want something less involved, take a look at the video below.

11 thoughts on “Panel-Mounted Breadboard Accessories

  1. FYI: if you want to solder to the breadboard internal clips, pull them out (so you don’t melt the plastic) and then use a small file to expose the bare metal and roughen the surface. Rosin-core solder sticks great then, even without additional flux.

    1. Yup. This trick works for zinc-plated hardware (nuts, bolts, etc.) as well.

      Or use plumber’s flux from the hardware store. The residue (zinc chloride IIRC) is somewhat corrosive, and it’s supposed to be cleaned when you’re done. Don’t leave it on your good soldering iron tips, for sure. And don’t use it on electronic parts or PCBs with fine traces. But I have left it uncleaned on larger wires/traces/hardware, for example to solder a nut to a PCB pad. Some corrosion does occur, but I have yet to see it advance to the point where it breaks electrical or mechanical integrity.

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