What's a 'breakout'?

I am reading a tutorial on using the nRF24L01 PCB and on page two I find A Closer Look at the MiRF-v2 Breakout of the nRF24L0.

What is a 'breakout'? A search of this forum is more than a little inconclusive.

A "breakout" board for a chip is usually a relatively simple board containing the chip, perhaps some components required for the chip to operate, and usually connectors that are easier to use than the bare chip, but comes far short of being a complete product. For example, Sparkfun sells a large number of "breakout modules" for modern chips that are only available in tiny surface mount packages (which are difficult for hobbyists to solder), set up to a small number of pins on 0.1inch centers (easy to solder, or to plug into a breadboard.) The Arduino is sometimes referred to as a breakout board for the ATmega AVR chip, and the MiRF board your document refers to has the nRF24L01 chip plus some support components (bypass caps, voltage regulator, crystal), antenna connector, and 6 "commonly used" data signals on a 0.1" header.

Thanks for that.

When I first went to one of the local retailers enquiring about the nRF24L01+, they sold me the PCB in the attached image. It has the nRF24L01+ chip and some other bits and pieces on it so I gather, from your description, I could call this a ‘breakout’.

nRF24L01+_Z6361.jpg

Sure

Yep. You have to pay attention to what's there and not there (I don't see a voltage regulator, but it could be on the other side.) And you'll find that there are things that are good or bad - your breakout looks a bit smaller, and has a built-in antenna, but the two-row set of pins doesn't plug into breadboards as easily as the sparkfun board...

westfw: ... the two-row set of pins doesn't plug into breadboards as easily as the sparkfun board...

The pins fit a breadboard just fine, but I am currently using jumper leads direct to the UNO. I did have some power problems and I use the Red Wings power supply which is an external unit.

Thanks again folks

The Uno is actually also a breakout board ;) It breaks out (most of) the pins of the 328 micro.