Finally, a decent quality prototype breadboard for a reasonable cost

Getting decent quality prototype breadboards for a reasonable cost is something that has eluded me for years. I think I have finally found a reliable source. Those advertised on eBay or at least the cheaper ones seem that I have previously purchased too often have poor metal connectors inside. It can be difficult to insert pins in and if the pin is thick the contacts don’t completely spring back. I have not found a way to determine which of these are ok as just looking at the breadboard doesn’t seem to be reliable method.

The new ones I’ve got are BB830 by BusBoard. I found out about them by Ben Eaters in this video. Skip to about 1:18 if you want to hear him talk about them.

Ben sells them and has more information about them on his breadboard page, however I must confess I got them from Mouser as I am outside of the US and was preparing an order with Mouser anyway. Here is a shot of a bread board fastened to a cheese board.

The breadboard on the bottom is the new one. Those little ones at the top are just old ones that have been cut.

I’m very happy with them. They cost more than those I’ve previously purchased on eBay but if they don’t work then any price is too much. Also, I want to support producers of decent quality items. So far, I’m very happy with the BusBoard ones.

A deceptively simple but not very secure security key

I recently recalled an interesting security key for a building car park at a block of units we stayed at a few years ago. It was a small block of units with maybe 10 – 20 units in the whole complex, probably built in the 1970s. Underneath was a carpark with a roller door to prevent unauthorised access. A small box stood near the entrance with a receptacle for the key.
In other places we have visited we were usually given a remote control to gain access or sometimes a card to insert. This place had a 6.5mm audio plug attached to a key ring to insert in a socket near the door.

The key

I found it particularly curious as the plug only had two connections, that is it was a mono plug. I wondered how they had implemented security with it. I unscrewed it to reveal a deceptively simple circuit… a wire.

With cover removed and circuit revealed

I have to give the creators full marks for simplicity, but not so many for security.