PC controlled Breadboard

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PC controlled Breadboard

Postby Kdawg » January 31st, 2011, 1:25 am

Good day HAD forum.

I woke up this morning after a refreshing 2 hour sleep, and had this idea.
I am currently working on few projects that I get online, and make them on a breadboard for prototyping. But one thing that annoys the Sh1t out of me is cutting and placing wires every time I need a connection between pins & parts. So I thought, can't we just control the breadboard via some software on a pc, that tells it which pins to connect eg. "connect pin 1 to line 14 etc.
Of course there would need to be a pcb mounted below the breadboard that connects to all the pins, and then some control chip which interfaces with the PC, which in turn then would be able to connect the pins I want with without having to stick a wire in every time.
Any input would be appreciated!

Regards

Kenneth
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Re: PC controlled Breadboard

Postby marshallh » January 31st, 2011, 1:34 am

Y'know, engineers have thought the same thing.

The solution: make PCBs :)
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Re: PC controlled Breadboard

Postby penguMC » January 31st, 2011, 9:15 am

I found that wiring everything gets a lot faster if you get some jumperwires instead of cutting them yourself:
MKSEEED3-2T[1].jpg
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Re: PC controlled Breadboard

Postby Osgeld » January 31st, 2011, 9:19 am

over the years I have acquired a large coffee can of jumpers
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Re: PC controlled Breadboard

Postby Tim2 » January 31st, 2011, 11:22 am

Looks like an interesting project and it should be possible using transistors, but you'll need an awfull lot of them.
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Re: PC controlled Breadboard

Postby bluewraith » January 31st, 2011, 12:56 pm

penguMC wrote:I found that wiring everything gets a lot faster if you get some jumperwires instead of cutting them yourself:
MKSEEED3-2T[1].jpg


I ordered 3 sets of them from adafruit. I figured I'd use the tar out of them.. and I do. Mainly use them for longer runs though, as most of my power and ground connections I use the small prebent jumper kits to keep the board at least somewhat presentable.
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Re: PC controlled Breadboard

Postby Kdawg » January 31st, 2011, 4:43 pm

Thanks for all the inputs folks!
The use of jumper cables seems logical, but I find that the method would be untidy, and makes retracing en confirming the layout more of a hassle. I think that a PC interface will look and work much better, I will be looking into make a prototype of this breadboard in the near future.
How do you suggest I would trigger the connections between different lines? Tim2 said I need transistors, but how would i need to connect them? And to what?? Im still a student, so my knowledge is a bit limited on this kind of project. I would imagine that I would need a multi-layered PCB connected to the 'lines' that would connect all 'lines' together with a triggerable switch in between.

Thanks in advance for all the input
*note: Its only my opinion that this is a good idea, feel free to comment and share thoughts!
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Re: PC controlled Breadboard

Postby PhilKll » January 31st, 2011, 7:05 pm

Personally I go for the premade jumpers and the solid core cut to size ones, which does get to be a bit of a pain on more complicated prototypes. I was wondering, not having a lot of knowledge about FPGA, would one of those suit your purposes? Seems like it would, you'd just be routing pins from one to the other, sounds pretty basic. Digital signals I would think would be easy, not sure about analog though.
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Re: PC controlled Breadboard

Postby Ernie » January 31st, 2011, 9:20 pm

I was researching something like this at work last year. I found something that exactly meets your requirements for even the most extensive digital project:

Google "field programmable gate array"
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Re: PC controlled Breadboard

Postby Kdawg » February 3rd, 2011, 3:58 am

Does anyone have some links for field programmable gate array's, cause they seem very complicated. Anyone have some helpful programs or tutorials on how to practically use these devices?

Thanks in advance
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