Hands-on with the Breadboard Pi Bridge from @RasPiO1 for the Raspberry Pi – an easy, very solid prototyping platform

My last post was to announce Alex Eames’ latest crowdfunding project, the Breadboard Pi Bridge. Now that the dust has settled slightly from Pi Wars 2019, I’ve had a chance to have a play with it, so I’ll give you my thoughts. If you want to get hold of one, head over to RasPiO. They cost £12 plus (cheap) shipping on pre-order and should be available in May.

The Bridge comes as a kit which will need soldering together (my review unit was pre-assembled so I could get to using it quicker!) This involves attaching a 40-pin female header and a 30-way male header to the underside of the circuit board. This is the way the Bridge works – you place the female header on your Pi’s GPIO pins and then the male header slots into the supplied breadboard. It is pretty simple soldering – you just need to make sure you don’t accidentally solder any pins together. The kit is completed with three pieces of black perspex – one to hold everything together, one to raise the stuck-on breadboard and one to (optionally) cover the Raspberry Pi.

I took apart the assembled kit that Alex sent me and then reassembled it around a Raspberry Pi 3B+, including the perspex cover. I needed to snap off the breakaway segment of the cover to allow space for those pesky Power-over-Ethernet pins that have been added to the 3B+, which was easy. You can see this in the top-down photo, below:

Having finally assembled it, I was immediately struck with how solid the whole thing felt. This is halfway between a permanent and temporary solution for your breadboarding project. It’s permanent enough that, if you’re in an educational situation, a child wouldn’t easily be able to pull the Bridge off the Pi, but temporary enough that you can do this with a little careful force.

One of the best things about the Bridge is that the pins are in sequential (Broadcom numbering system) order. This was a great idea for the RasPiO ProHAT, and it’s still a great idea now. It means that it’s so much easier to find the correct pin and then program it. GPIO Zero/Python is ideal for this, of course, and for simple projects the Bridge is a terrific accompaniment.

You will definitely need to use the supplied ground wire to take the ground from the left-hand rail (in the picture above) to the right-hand rail. You can do some rudimentary LED-type projects without doing so, but if you want to wire it up with multiple LEDs (or other components), as I have in the picture at the top, this is the best way to make that possible.

Photo by Alex Eames with decent lighting!

Overall, if you want a nice, stable platform for prototyping with a breadboard, you can’t do better than the Breadboard Pi Bridge. It’s solid, it looks nice and it’s pretty simple to put together. The price is right, at just £12. I’ve backed it and I hope you’ll consider doing so, too. The Bridge is available on pre-order from Alex over at RasPiO and should be delivered in May.

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