Lets say you want to do a very simple circuit, you just want to light up an LED using a battery pack. It's a simple hookup with only 3 parts. Here's the schematic:
- Connect the battery positive (red) wire to the positive (longer) leg of the LED
- Connect the shorter leg of the LED to one side of the resistor
- Connect the other side of the resistor to the battery negative (black) wire.
Despite having only three connections, wiring this up with alligator clips makes for a large and unwieldy tangle of wires
Compare to how neat and organized it is with a breadboard! No long wires, and its easy to swap in a different resistor or LED when you feel like it
Wiring up a single LED is no problem, so lets continue and add more complex components. Parts like DIP (dual in-line pin) chips are a perfect match.
When new, the pins are not quite straight, they're bent out a little like an /--\ shape. You can carefully press the pins against a tabletop, and rock them forward together to bend into a |--| shape
Then carefully press into the center of the breadboard. Watch out for bent pins!
You can remove the chips easily by slipping a thin screwdriver or awl down the center ravine/divider and carefully prying upwards.
Pry from both sides if possible to keep the pins from bending by accident.