There are three methods for building circuitry: solderless breadboard; solder breadboard; and printed circuit board (PCB). The solderless breadboard is a reusable base that allows you to build electronics without the need to solder. On this base, you can easily connect electronic devices (such as capacitors, resistors, operational amplifiers), wire them together into a specific topology, and investigate performance with instrumentation. The solderless version of the breadboard makes this base completely reusable and requires no solder to make connections between devices and wires. The solderless breadboard has a limitation, and we will discuss when you should use the solder breadboard and PCB in a later section.The NI ELVIS III Prototyping Board which is provided with NI ELVIS III has four solderless breadboards integrated to rails on either side of the breadboard space. These rails connect to NI ELVIS III via a PCI connector and deliver signals for input and output to the circuitry being built.Due to this, there is no direct connection between the NI ELVIS platform to the breadboards, but instead, you can access the signals from the workstation by connecting jumper wires from the Control I/Os to the breadboards or use the NI ELVIS instruments.Figure 1
To understand how a breadboard works, let’s take a moment to define the breadboard terminology and look how it is constructed.
Sockets are holes in the board with a spacing of 0.1” between the two closest holes. Inside each socket, there is a metal clip that secures the component lead when you insert it into the hole. A clear breadboard in Figure 2 shows the metal clip beneath the socket hole.
There are four bus strips, two on each side with the label + and –. The bus strips are also commonly called power rails because you usually connect power and ground signals to it. The bus strip on the ELVIS board is made with one piece of metal, unlike some breadboards that you can buy where each strip is made with two pieces of metal.Figure 2
The area where you build your circuit is referred to as a terminal strip. There are sixty-four rows divided into 10 individual strips named A, B, C, D, E and F, G, H, I, J. These rows are separated by a center divider (explained below). For each row, the strips A, B, C, D ,E are electronically connected to a node. Similarly, F, G, H, I, J are connected into a singular node. This allows you to appropriately connect wires and devices without having to use one socket for multiple items.
Center DividerThe spacing between the socket E and F is the center divider. It was designed with enough spacing for you to place a dual-line integrated circuit (IC) that would connect across the center divider and connect into the appropriate strips (A-E or F-J).Figure 3
The image above shows the bottom side of the breadboard with the protective sticker removed to illustrate the construction of a breadboard.You can see the power rails (or bus rails) are the long vertical metal strip. The terminal strips are the shorter horizontal metal strips. The center divider can be seen in between the terminal strips. As you can see, in each of the bus-rails and terminal strips there is a singular metal/conductive segment that creates the signal path and nodal connections.
Using the above information we are now able to begin translating our knowledge of how to build a circuit prototype. We will be able to understand how to:• Use the Bus Rails or Power Rails to connect input signals, output paths or ground.• Use the Terminal Strips to connect our circuit topology by using each row as an electrically connected node.• Use the Center Divider to place an integrated circuit (such as an operational amplifier) effectively.• Connect instruments to the circuit to supply signal and make measurements.
In this example, we will translate a circuit schematic step-by-step (in this case using Multisim Live ). You will need the following components to follow along with this tutorial:
Figure 5 is an inverting operational amplifier circuit that requires power sources, ground, resistors and integrated circuitry. You will also notice that there are nodal connections between R2, R1 and the U1 devices. They will all connect at a single node which will require usage of the terminal strips.Figure 5
Figure 6 shows the inverting amplifier circuit on the breadboard. Follow the steps below to connect this circuit.Figure 6
Ensure the power to the prototyping board is off while you connect the circuit.
The NI ELVIS Workstation provides instruments that are commonly available in a laboratory such as an oscilloscope, function generator, and multimeter. In this exercise, you will need a function generator and an oscilloscope. The NI ELVIS Function Generation has two channels, you only need one channel in this exercise. The NI ELVIS Oscilloscope has four channels, but you just need two channels in this case.
To connect signals from the NI ELVIS Workstation to the circuit, you need three passive oscilloscope probes such as one shown in Figure 18. This probe enables you to pass signals from the circuit being tested to the instruments. You can use the type passive probe for both the oscilloscope and the function generator.
Power on the NI ELVIS III workstation and the prototyping board when you are ready. Refer the oscilloscope and function generator section in the user manual to learn how to use these instruments. Your circuit is correctly connected if the response is similar to the simulation shown in Figure 22.Figure 23
It is essential to build your circuit carefully. As it becomes more complicated, a neatly wired circuit will help you follow and debug any problems that may arise. You can find a short list of the best practices for wiring a breadboard circuit in the Table 2.
With an understanding of how to breadboard a circuit, the next step is to practice through hands-on experiments. Only through experiments, will you be gain the electronics knowledge to be proficient. You can expand your knowledge by downloading various labs at ni.com/teach such as the ECE Fundamental 1 and Circuit 101. There are also many controls and measurement labs that are the building blocks for many complex systems.
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