Electronic – How long can I leave components in a breadboard


In school, I was told not to leave components in a breadboard for extended periods of time. However, this length of time was never quantified. The reasoning was that the contacts would eventually lose their "springiness"; at some point later in time, you'd be debugging issues with a circuit, only to find out that the contacts were bad.

I have no idea if this is really true, or if breadboards are now made so well that it's not an issue. I have some nice ones, but in the end they seem to use the same narrow white piece that everyone else uses.

I've got some prototypes put together that I don't want to take apart yet, and I also don't know when I'll get back to it. My mbed board has now taken a back seat to the Netduino that I just received. 🙂

Best Answer

Here's a picture of a board which had some headers forced into it which were too large, damaging the contacts:

Bad board

The outer rows of the Sharpie'd area make intermittent contact, so we avoid the whole section. Notice that some of the numbers are rubbed off, and also notice the burnt spot at the top of the picture where something burned up.

The breadboard still has two other middle sections, and this section is only 20 rows tall, so that leaves 172 good rows. On a university budget, that doesn't merit replacing the board. If you are demonstrating breadboarded circuits to a client, you should probably replace the whole thing.

By the way, this board is at least 8 years old, and still works fine except for the indicated area. I've only been around it for three years, but no one has had any problems with it that I've heard of.