There are a few versions of the breadboard buddy. I started this PCB years ago. To be honest im not sure when. It started off just as a pcb to help power my breadboard and grew into something more.
Breadboard Buddy History
There are currently about 4 versions of breadboard buddy in the wild. It all started with a simple Power version. Which supplied 3.3v and 5v , with select-ability on each rail. So you can mismatch power on your breadboard with ease. This was also powered via barrel jack.
The next version and most after were based on getting a UART to the breadboard without issue. UART is so widely used its a must to be honest. This version of the board uses a Mini B USB Connector and a nice simple UART out to the breadboard. The USB to UART here was the CP2102.
I didnt like the way the board looked and not having LEDs for UART transfer was not good. So the next version i did some fixes. I also opted to change to the more widely used Micro USB connector and add a reset button for user to use on MCUs or ICs.
After a while i noticed more people wanting portability. So I decided to add a Lipo Charger on board. One of the other changes here was the layout. The LEDs were aligned to give a better look and feel. Along with adding the charge LED and connector. I wanted a nice Breadboard wrap feeling.
Working on various breadboard i ran into an issue. Not all breadboards are equal! There are some that have lined up rails and some that the rails are shifted. Look at the below image.
This caused an issue. Not all breadboards will work with my Breadboard Buddy. I didnt like that idea. So i created a universal version. The good part was that the POWER rails where always the same. So creating a universal fit was as simple as adding shifted headers.
And that is how the Breadboard Buddy Uni was born. (Uni = Universal) The First and Second version of the uni where exactly the same. Just a footprint fix. A new addition to the Breadboard buddy on this uni version was a the MAX17043 which is a gauge system for lithium-ion (Li+) batteries. Basically tells you how much battery you have left. But at around $3 a piece and the extra hassle to solder it, it was removed from future designs.
The most current Breadboard Buddy Uni is the V3. With the Lipo Guage removed there was space to add a couple leds for users. and a VIN option. The LEDs are great when you dont feel like adding a resistor and led to a probably already complex board. Just jump your wire and your done. These leds are tied to GND via 2k resistor.. 2k is high yes.. but as with all LEDs… they can be excessively bright. I like to be able to see the color without blinding myself and i thought… maybe others do as well.
Along with the LEDs and VIN, the color has changed for now….
I will be using OSHPark once again soon. I use it for all my other stuff. They are AMAZING!
There are a couple new Breadboard Buddy Uni in the works. Both are being worked on for POWER Hungry people. Sometimes you just need more power and these new versions will be able to supply about 3A 🙂