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Kevin Santo Cappuccio Proves the Jumperless Breadboard's Worth — By Prototyping a 16mm Camera Hack

Aug 30, 2023

Maker Kevin Santo Cappuccio's novel wire-free breadboard platform, Jumperless, is now fully functional — and to prove it he's used it to prototype a project to automate a vintage 16mm film camera for time lapse work.

"One of the points of this project was to use the Jumperless to prototype a real project," Cappuccio explains. "And it did a great job getting the 7 segment display and rotary encoder stuff all worked out. I wasn't about to blow up a Jumperless by running the 12V 1A door actuator circuit on it, so that was a job for a regular breadboard."

Jumperless, for the uninitiated, is a solderless breadboard with a difference. While it uses the same layout as a traditional solderless breadboard, it takes the concept a step further by ditching the jumper wires too — connecting its sections programmatically, using 11 crosspoint switches hidden underneath the board. In its latest incarnation, it even offers visual feedback about what's connected where by lighting up the rows with hidden LEDs.

To prove that Jumperless isn't just a joke project, Cappuccio has used it to convert a Bolex H16 film camera for time-lapse use. "It uses an Arduino Nano to set the interval and trigger a MOSFET to drive the car door lock actuator to push the single frame release lever," Cappuccio explains. While in the finished project those components are connected to a custom PCB, the proof-of-concept was prototyped on Jumperless — bar, as Cappuccio admits, the power-hungry door actuator.

"All that stuff works and the Jumperless was actually useful," Cappuccio says. "This project got sidetracked for a day because I found a bug in Jumperless's routing code so I had to fix that and push a new release first. It'll go up to an hour between shots so I can just leave it constantly running and not eat up too much film (16mm is soo expensive) but you wouldn't want to watch an hour long video to see it fire once."

More information on the project, including CNC files and source code, are available on Cappuccio's page; the latest revision of Jumperless is available on GitHub under the CERN Open Hardware License Version 2 — Weakly Reciprocal for the hardware and the MIT license for the software, with kits sold on Tindie at $299.