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DIY: Don’t Buy Breadboard Power Supply Make it!

DIY breadboard power supply

Most of the time your on a breadboard will just need a 5 volt supply to power all the components. Very rarely you might need a 12 volt (if you are driving loads like motors) or 3.3 volt (devices rated at 3v3). In this post we will see the making of a breadboard power supply, mostly from component that you will find off the shelf.

Now there are various methods for doing this.

  1. Build a 5 volt regulator on the breadboard and give it a standard 12 volt supply.
  2. Use an RPS to set a 5 volt output.
  3. Use an external regulator board probably with 7805 to provide a 5 vlot output.

All the above methods though solves the purpose is not the best way to do it. Here is why you cannot use those methods in the same order as they appear.

  1. A lot of space is occupied by the 7805 and its related circuity. There is practically no straight forward method to mount a 3 mm DC Jack connector on the breadboard.
  2. RSP! the name sounds BIG. The mobility of the setup is lost.
  3. Though this is the best among the available options this isn’t the best way to do it either.

To what end?

By then end of this short post you should have, (if you are going to be doing it as you read) or have the knowledge to make, something like this.

breadboard power supply component discription

Its pretty clear from the image that we have a 3 mm DC Jack connector to plugin out 12 volt (or 9 volt) supply, a ON/OFF switch, a couple of capacitors, the 7805 with a huge heat sink attached to it, a power LED and a strip of male header pin for 12 volt supply.

Watch out

Now if you noticed it clearly, I have made a mistake here. I have soldered male header pins to the 12 volt bus. Given that I’m building this circuit for the breadboard, I should have used a female header strip. If had done that it would have been 100% breadboard compatible. But now, I have to connect a female to male jumper to use the 12 volt supply. So watch out while make one of these.

So let’s begin!

First you will have to cut out a pair of 2 pin male header from the strip. Then plug them into the power rails of the breadboard as shown in the second image. Now take a GP board and compare the hole they have on them with that of the power rails of the breadboard. Your task is to find a hole in the GP board that will match the ones on the breadboard.

For doing this you can place the GB board over the header pin and see if the top potion of the metal will fit into any of the holes without any force. The prototyping board (GP board) is a standard .1 inch spaced board. So you should be able to find out a hole that matches our description without much trouble.

Once you have found a suitable hole, use a marker pen to make a note of it. Now from experience I found that adding another set of header pins as shown in the fourth image, considerably increased the mechanical stability of the circuit. So you can choose to either add this redundant pin or forget it. But trust me you will love it.

After this its just the circuitry.  You will have to built a 5 v regulator circuit. Here is a schematic that will help you through.

power supplyOnce you have all the components soldered on to the GP board you should have something like this. But don’t power it up.. not yet.


That’s right you will have to test it before putting it use on the breadboard. You most likely made some mistakes in the soldering or there is a short circuit. Now a short circuit in the power lines could mean total chaos. So use the continuity feature of your multimeter to check if there is any short circuits. Once you are 100% sure that there is no problem with you connections, power the board and see if the LED goes ON. If it does not turn ON or if it is glowing dim, them there is some short circuit that overlooked while testing. Power OFF the board immediately and start testing again.


Should every thing go well, you will have a good low cost breadboard power supply which does exactly this,
breadboard power supply Hopefully this image will help you remember which like is GND and which line is 5 volt. I choose this combination because it will be easy to remember that the outer most power line is always GND and the inner one is 5v. You are free to choose which line is for what.

About Siddharth

Siddharth is a Firmware Engineer, techie, and a movie-buff. His interests include, Programming, Embedded Systems, Linux, Robotics, CV, Carpentry and a lot more. At times, you could see some of his sunday projects converge on release quality. You get to know him on the following social channels.

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  • Mark Jones

    In your schematic, I think you might want to place the 12Volt node on the other side of the SPDT switch. As shown, the circuit would always be powered up.

    • Good point Mark don’t know how I missed that! Thanks.

  • Gun Sulthan

    Hi Siddharth Brother You Know Tamil ?

    • naganesan

      I know Tamil ! By naganesan

  • abdul sk

    nice topic

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