BZB3 Versus The Arduino

BZB Breadboard with Built in Arduino vs a "regular" Arduino flickr pool.

The BZB3 with built in Arduino and the Outrigger Shield Extender is available at Kickstarter right now.

I tend to prefer breadboards with both red/blue power rails on both sides (and in the case of the BZB, not necessarily connecting them by default to allow for a side that is powered with the Arduino power and another side that is powered with external power for things like motors or to use a 3.3v power rail). The BZB breadboards, only seem to have one rail on each side.

Also, as far as I can tell, there is no labeling of each of the pins, which means if you are using pin 8 say, you could easily miscount and use pin 7 or 9. Pins near the edge (0/1 and 12/13) are fairly easy, but pins in the middle aren't.

Thanks for the input Michael

The rails carry 3.3 and 5 volts with common grounds accessible in several points. The connection to rails is a jumper as can be seen on the CTRL-IO board of the BZB3

The jumpers are the red parts at the left above the rails. Because the BZB is modular you can configure it many ways, a secondary power rail can easily be attached to the breadboard using the OutRigger IO connector ( where the OutRigger Shield Extender plugs in ) to carry which ever voltage, including pre regulator VIN, no matter what power you should so chose. There are many modules and extenders, including additional power rails, that will be available.

The pins are labeled on both sides, as can be seen (somewhat blurry) on the bzb1

But you can see them more clearly in the video.

In addition to that labeling, the BizzyBee Overlay Curriculum Cards, which will be available at the close of the Kickstarter, also have pin legends, when you overlay the card on the breadboard, the pins in the middle come through a slot and then the circuit components get placed in the layout provided. Keeping the learning focused on the circuit rather than ratsnest wiring and pull apart separate pieces.

Hope this helps understanding a bit more. Feel free to ask anything else I may answer about this great tool.


Your bzb1 picture was focused on the third hand and not the breadboard itself, which meant I could not tell that you had any legends on the risers. Assuming you do have some printing of the pin numbers, that answers that objection.

However, not having two sets of power rails on each side bugs me. Consider this photo from adafruit of a large breadboard:

It has two rails on each side of the breadboard, one red, one black (presumably power and ground). By having the power rails on each side, I don't have to cross wires to the other side to get either ground or power. As I'm breadboarding, I'm finding, I really prefer not to cross wires.

Now conventionally, you could connect both red power rails to the same source, but you don't have to. As I said, you might be doing stuff with servos that need a separate power source to power the servos, so you could have the Arduino 5v power supply connecting to the left red ground rail, and you could have a 9v or 12v power supply connected to the right red ground rail (with both black ground rails connected) that you hook the motors too. Similarly, if you are using 3v sensors, you could have one rail be 3v and the other 5v.

As the video shows much clearer, there is plenty of labeling. The original designs were based on the type of breadboard you linked to, we worked with many well known users here such as Westfw and Retrolefty, that helped debug our designs and evolve our later designs into the unit you see now, to eliminate the very ratsnest of wires you are discussing, the crossover problem.

You are correct it is not the standard red and black or red and blue, it is designed to be a just what you need solution that can grow with you and the modular nature allows you to expand it any way you want.

It may not be for you, if you are used to experimenting in only one way, but it is sort of a swiss army knife solution, that can be configured for people that want new ways and formats that can grow with them.

With the two external rails being able to carry anything you could choose to put on them, by a simple jumper configuration whether it is gnd, 3.3 or 5 volt, supplied by the built in regulated power supply, you could just as easily place anything up to around 20 volts on the rail of your choice, the modular system allows for complete isolation of the two existing rails.

I have added a better version of the pinout labeling to the set, hope that makes it clearer for you.

You can easily add an inexpensive secondary rail (about a dollar) as I described, but in addition, because all of the standard power pins are available in the center it is easy to choose exactly which side of the board you want any of the power to be, no crossing over or back and forth, no extra rails needed thats the advantage of having a center inline Arduino built right in.

Those power pins are also isolatable so larger amperage can be routed to those pins if you need to exceed the standard 1 amp supplied by the built in regulated power supply.

You don't need two rails on the side or to crossover because with the center power you essentially have two fully configurable power sources on each side of the board, the left power rail and the center inline power for the left side of the breadboard and the right power rail and center inline power for the right.

The goals were to find a balance between New User Easy and End User Friendly, eliminate as much confusion for teaching and experimentation by keeping down the need for additional wires( as in your crossover process ), while maintaining shield and library compatibility and eliminating the dreaded bump and pull circuit separation, and we brought all that stability and new feature sets at less cost than an Arduino, a plastic mounting plate such as this and the breadboard that you listed combined.

Thank you Michael again for your suggestions, for some it is the right tool for Arduino Power Users, Educators and New Experimenters alike.

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