Problems with Breadboards

ESP8266 on PCB

The ESP8266 MCU chip is often mounted on a breakout board that has two rows of 0.1" pitch pins 1.1" apart. This is so wide that it although it fits on a standard 400 or 800 point breadboard, there are no spare holes to connect it up. I had a workaround whereby I set it up so that the ESP8266 straddles two breadboards with a power rail in between them as a spacer. This works but makes the overall breadboard layout larger than it needs to be.

400 point breadboard

Digging about in my stock of breadboards, I found some that were 456 point with 6 sets of holes rather than 5 on the main area and these are ideal for the ESP8266. They only provide one connection point per pin but I can live with that. They also have a split power rail and the power points are different (four 6x2 rather than five 5x2). These breadboards are also of better quality than the normal ones but they are more expensive. You can buy these HIGH-Q boards from ReprapWorld and Velleman and no doubt other sources.


Various ESP boards

Some newer devices with the ESP8266 12F chip are shipping on breakout boards with a row pitch of 0.9". At least these are pin compatible so that if you're making your own circuits you can arrange a single and a double row of headers to accommodate either type of board. Some 12F breakout boards have the VU and adjacent GND as not connected.

But if you're planning to migrate to ESP32 processors, then some of these are mounted on breakout boards with a 1.0" pitch and they're not pin compatible either.

The image here shows, from left to right, an ESP8266-12F, an ESP32 and an ESP8266-12E.

Incidentally, I as soon as I receive a new batch of boards, I print each one's MAC address on a label and stick it to the chip.