Hardware tools

Breadboard

The breadboard (aka prototyping board, or plugboard) allows you to prototype your electronic circuits without the need to solder components. You just have to plug them into the board, and when you're done, unplug them to test another circuit. The breadboard (and case) you can see below comes from SK Pang. Breadboards exist with different sizes: the one below is a half-sized one.

Breadboard - Empty

Components

Basic components you'll need are :

  • LED (red, green, yellow, blue). Choose LED with forward voltage lower than 3.3V if you want them to light-up.
  • Push buttons.
  • Resistors : 330 Ω for LED protection, 1 kΩ and 10 kΩ for Raspberry Pi protection when used with push buttons. You want need other values.
  • Jumper wires : female to male (from GPIO pins to breadboard) and male to male (from breadboard pins to breadboard pins).

You may later need some “advanced components” : diods, transistors, capacitors, etc.

Breadboard - With components

Digital multimeter

It may be useful to check your circuit values : voltage, current, resistor values, etc.

Gertboard

When you need a Gertboard, you're not designing simple electronic circuits anymore :-)

Software tools

EAGLE

This software allows you to design circuit diagrams, and have a (very) large catalog of components. It's possible to use EAGLE for free.

EAGLE

Download EAGLE (Windows, Linux, OS X)

Fritzing

This software allows you to design your breadboard powered circuit. You even design the schematics of the circuit and the PCB. You can event export the PCB and order it from Fritzing Fab.

Fritzing - Breadboard view
Fritzing - Schematic view
Fritzing - PCB view

Download Fritzing (Windows, Linux, OS X)

Adafruit's Fritzing Library

This library adds the Raspberry Pi (and some other components) to Fritzing.

Download Adafruit's Fritzing Library

Adafruit's Circuit Playground

This app, for iPhone and iPad, brings you easy circuits calculations. From application's description :

  • Decipher resistor & capacitor codes with ease
  • Calculate power, resistance, current, and voltage with the Ohm's Law & Power Calc modules
  • Quickly convert between decimal, hexadecimal, binary or even ASCII characters
  • Calculate values for multiple resistors or capacitors in series & parallel configurations
  • Store, search, and view PDF datasheets
  • Access exclusive sneak peaks, deals & discounts at Adafruit Industries

Download Adafruit's Circuit Playground