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How do breadboards work?

Figure 1. A solderless breadboard, with a few conducting rows and columns highlighted. A solderless breadboard is used to temporarily connect components for test measurements. Wire leads from components are inserted into the holes. See Figure 1. Underneath the array of holes are conducting strips. As the highlighting added to Figure 1 shows, the long horizontal rows at the top and bottom form four separate conducting strips, usually called buses. Similarly, running vertically down the board, are numbered columns, each connected with conducting strips. Thus, R1 and R2 are connected by virtue of their leads both being inserted into column 17. Can you see another pair of resistors on this breadboard that are electrically connected? Note that the board is divided into two halves. So, the top half of column 17 is separate from the bottom half of column 17, as shown by the different highlighting.

Why does adding bulbs make them all dimmer?
We can use a solderless breadboard to connect small light bulbs to a voltage source. A 9-volt battery, for example, makes a bulb burn brightly. When we connect two bulbs in series, however, the pair of bulbs get dim. And if we connect three bulbs, they do not light up at all. See Figures 1, 2, 3.

A voltage V dropping across a resistor R in a circuit with a current I. What happens if you lift up one of the wires in the series circuit? That opens the circuit. What causes a bulb to burn brightly? It's the current! The voltage from the battery is able to move enough electrons through the tiny wire in the bulb's filament to make it white hot. and the current is cut even more. there is no current at all! No current means no light. There's no way the electrons can flow. And that's exactly the way a light switch works! Finding Current with Ohm's Law Figure 1. A circuit with one light bulb. Figure 3. Figure 2. See Figure 3.Figure 1. now there is so little current. When you put two bulbs (two resistors) in series. See Figure 1. A circuit with two light bulbs in series. . that the filaments will not glow at all. In fact. See Figure 2. Less current means less heat in those filaments. you've doubled the resistance. and so not as bright. now you've tripled the resistance. A circuit with three light bulbs in series. Ohm's Law tells us that will cut the current in half. When you put three bulbs (three resistors) in series. So.

= 103 mega. This relationship often appears three ways: We can use the second form above to calculate the current in a circuit.000.000 ampere) or even microamps (1/1.= 106 Finding Voltage with Ohm's Law . Resulting current may then be in milliamps (1/1. in volts) dropped across a resistance (R. Resistance may be in kilohms (1.000 ohms) or even megohms (1.000. George Ohm discovered a mathematical relationship for electric circuits with simple resistors. Suppose a meter measures a "voltage drop" of V = 12 volts across a resistor with R = 4 ohm. The expected current is: This very small current would usually be converted to "microamps. Then the current is: Notice the units: 1 ampere of current is defined as 1 volt per ohm. micro. the voltage (V." It is often helpful to convert metric prefixes to scientific notation.000 ohms).= 10–3 kilo.000 ampere). Suppose you measure 18 volts across a 220 kilohm resistor. With a circuit having a current I (in amperes). in ohms) is V = I x R.In the early 1800's.000 volt).= 10–6 milli. Voltage is often given in millivolts (1/1. You must be careful working with the units.

Then the voltage dropped by the resistance is: Notice the units: 1 volt per ohm is defined to yield 1 ampere of current.000 ohms). Suppose an ammeter measures a current of I = 1. micro.000 ampere) or even microamps (1/1.= 10–3 kilo.000.5 megohm resistor.000 ohms) or even megohms (1. Currents are often measured in milliamps (1/1.= 10–6 milli.9 milliamps passes through a 2.8 amperes through a resistance of R = 3. in volts) dropped across a resistance (R.Figure 1.= 103 mega. the voltage (V.000. The voltage across the resistor: It is often helpful to convert metric prefixes to scientific notation. George Ohm discovered a mathematical relationship for electric circuits with simple resistors. With a circuit having a current I (in amperes). A voltage V dropping across a resistor R in a circuit with a current I. In the early 1800's. Resistance may be in kilohms (1. You must be careful working with the units.= 106 Finding Current with Ohm's Law . in ohms) is V = I x R. Suppose a current of 3. This relationship often appears three ways: The first form allows us to calculate the voltage drop across a resistor for a given current in a circuit.5 ohm.000 ampere).

George Ohm discovered a mathematical relationship for electric circuits with simple resistors. Suppose you measure 18 volts across a 220 kilohm resistor. This relationship often appears three ways: We can use the second form above to calculate the current in a circuit. the voltage (V. Then the current is: Notice the units: 1 ampere of current is defined as 1 volt per ohm. Resulting current may then be in milliamps (1/1. in volts) dropped across a resistance (R.000 ohms) or even megohms (1.000 ampere). Resistance may be in kilohms (1. Voltage is often given in millivolts (1/1. The expected current is: This very small current would usually be converted to "microamps. Suppose a meter measures a "voltage drop" of V = 12 volts across a resistor with R = 4 ohm.000 ampere) or even microamps (1/1.000." . A voltage V dropping across a resistor R in a circuit with a current I. in ohms) is V = I x R. With a circuit having a current I (in amperes).000 volt).Figure 1.000 ohms).000. In the early 1800's. You must be careful working with the units.

Then the current is: Notice the units: 1 ampere of current is defined as 1 volt per ohm. in volts) dropped across a resistance (R. Suppose a meter measures a "voltage drop" of V = 12 volts across a resistor with R = 4 ohm. micro. A voltage V dropping across a resistor R in a circuit with a current I. Resistance may be in kilohms (1. In the early 1800's. Voltage is often given in millivolts (1/1. The expected current is: . This relationship often appears three ways: We can use the second form above to calculate the current in a circuit. George Ohm discovered a mathematical relationship for electric circuits with simple resistors.000 ohms) or even megohms (1. Suppose you measure 18 volts across a 220 kilohm resistor.000 ampere).= 10–6 milli.000.It is often helpful to convert metric prefixes to scientific notation.= 103 mega.000 ohms). With a circuit having a current I (in amperes).= 106 Finding Current with Ohm's Law Figure 1.000. the voltage (V. in ohms) is V = I x R.000 volt).= 10–3 kilo. Resulting current may then be in milliamps (1/1. You must be careful working with the units.000 ampere) or even microamps (1/1.

000 ampere). George Ohm discovered a mathematical relationship for electric circuits with simple resistors. Currents are often measured in milliamps (1/1." It is often helpful to convert metric prefixes to scientific notation.000. A voltage V dropping across a resistor R in a circuit with a current I. in ohms) is V = I x R. in volts) dropped across a resistance (R. You must be careful working with the units. The voltage across the resistor: . This relationship often appears three ways: The first form allows us to calculate the voltage drop across a resistor for a given current in a circuit.= 106 Finding Voltage with Ohm's Law Figure 1. Resistance may be in kilohms (1. Then the voltage dropped by the resistance is: Notice the units: 1 volt per ohm is defined to yield 1 ampere of current. the voltage (V.= 10–3 kilo.8 amperes through a resistance of R = 3. micro.000 ohms) or even megohms (1.5 ohm.= 103 mega.9 milliamps passes through a 2. In the early 1800's.5 megohm resistor.This very small current would usually be converted to "microamps. Suppose an ammeter measures a current of I = 1. Suppose a current of 3.000 ohms). With a circuit having a current I (in amperes).000 ampere) or even microamps (1/1.000.= 10–6 milli.

000 ohms) or even megohms (1. Suppose a meter measures a "voltage drop" of V = 12 volts across a resistor with R = 4 ohm. A voltage V dropping across a resistor R in a circuit with a current I.000 ampere). micro. With a circuit having a current I (in amperes).000 ampere) or even microamps (1/1.= 103 mega. . You must be careful working with the units.= 10–6 milli. Resulting current may then be in milliamps (1/1. Resistance may be in kilohms (1.000. In the early 1800's.= 106 Finding Current with Ohm's Law Figure 1.000 ohms).It is often helpful to convert metric prefixes to scientific notation. the voltage (V. Then the current is: Notice the units: 1 ampere of current is defined as 1 volt per ohm. in volts) dropped across a resistance (R.= 10–3 kilo.000. George Ohm discovered a mathematical relationship for electric circuits with simple resistors. Voltage is often given in millivolts (1/1. This relationship often appears three ways: We can use the second form above to calculate the current in a circuit. in ohms) is V = I x R.000 volt).

Note: It is important to convert to consistent units. R2. For example. R2 = 1. we converted 1. the formula for the total resistance of series resistances R1. if necessary. suppose the circuit in Figure 1 above has R1 = 750 Ω. Thus.= 10–3 kilo. Then the total series resistance for this circuit is or RTOT = 2.… is: Figure 1. all the resistors act like one big resistor. ." It is often helpful to convert metric prefixes to scientific notation. The expected current is: This very small current would usually be converted to "microamps. So.33 kΩ to 1330 Ω so that we consistently added ohms.= 106 Total Resistance for Resistors in Series The effect of resistors wired in series is that the voltage drop from each resistor adds up.Suppose you measure 18 volts across a 220 kilohm resistor. R3. micro. and R3 = 562 Ω.33 kΩ.= 10–6 milli. not a mixture of ohms and kilohms. whose value equals the sum of the individual resistors. Above.= 103 mega.642 kΩ. Three resistors in series.