Tricked-Out Breadboard Automatically Draws Schematics Of Whatever You Build


When it comes to electronic design, breadboarding a circuit is the fun part — the creative juices flow, parts come and go, jumpers build into a tangled mess, but it’s all worth it when the circuit finally comes to life. Then comes the “What have I done?” phase, where you’ve got to backtrack through the circuit to document exactly how you built it. If only there was a better way.

Thanks to [Nick Bild], there is, in the form of the “Schematic-o-matic”, which aims to automate the breadboard documentation process. The trick is using a breadboard where each bus bar is connected to an IO pin on an Arduino Due. A program runs through each point on the breadboard, running a continuity test to see if there’s a jumper connecting them. A Python program then uses the connection list, along with some basic information about where components are plugged into the board, to generate a KiCad schematic.

[Nick] admits the schematics are crude at this point, and that it’s a bit inconvenient to remove some components, like ICs, from the breadboard first to prevent false readings. But this seems like one of those things where getting 80% of the work done automatically and worrying about the rest later is a big win. Plus, we can see a path forward to automatic IC probing, and even measurement of passive components too. But even as it is, it’s a great tool.

18 thoughts on “Tricked-Out Breadboard Automatically Draws Schematics Of Whatever You Build

    1. I do both, first have a general schematic, and if I’m not sure or add stuff from other schematics I end up trying it out and experiment on the breadboard first then incorporate the final results into the schematic. Throwing sections together from different sources, datasheets etc I often skip the schematic stage and go straight to breadboard. I often use parts that are not in the CAD so I have to draw them first. But if the part I’m trying isn’t going to be used, or try 10 different parts (ie 20-32+ pin ICs), it adds up quickly in drawing them.

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