programable led

i have a project that requires a board with multiple led's that each led can be programed to blink at specific frequencys. i then will run plastic fiber optitics to the location where the light is to display. i have no idea were to start with this.... so i ask - jt

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Lftndbt9 years ago
So... How did you go? Did you ever manage to achieve what you were looking to do?
I understand what you mean by the statement that you are looking for a starting point. I think you are saying that you have no idea of what you can or can't do, so you don't really know what is possible. If I'm correct, then Ii think it would be fair to say the sky's the limit. From my standpoint, the only question is specifically how many (total) LED's are you talking about, what patterns of blinking are you considering, and do you want to throw in any special effects like fading on and off, wave patterns, etc.? The rest is all numbers, in a manner of speaking.
eet_10249 years ago
How programmable? Just for the initial build? Or need to be changed by anyone? I've have had great success using Microchip PIC's for sequencing LED's. Once you get the code setup, you can easily run several LED's (directly from PIC with resistor) up to 100 Hz. has a $60 programmer.
wavejumper (author)  eet_10249 years ago
I would need to program the chip upon initial build. after that they will not change.
Are you familiar with assembly language?
Any other languages?

How many I/O lines (buttons and LED's) do you need?
You'll need that info for selecting a controller.
For simple to mid-complex sequencers, 1k Program and >10 bytes Data will be plenty.
Go to and browse through the 8-bit PIC Microcontrollers.
I recommend sticking to a PIC16Fxxx part number.
Study a few data sheets to become familiar with how the chips work.
They also have a great sample service.

Here is the programmer I use:
I purchased it 10 years ago and it still works great.
I use the the In Circuit programming header.
They also have serial and USB versions.
photozz10 years ago
you could use a series of 555 or 556 chips for the frequency, depending on the number of LED's. How many are you talking about?
wavejumper (author)  photozz10 years ago
to be perfectly honest - i am looking for a starting point on how to even start to build this type of thing. I need to put a varying number of lights behind a picture for visual effects. The number of lights will very depending on the picture i put them on. I am looking for an inexpensive solution that i could build for these projects.
VIRON wavejumper10 years ago
This is an old recipe for a simple cheap circuit that can easily be hacked into the effect of lights around a frame or wheels turning. As it is, it just blinks left and right like a railroad crossing.
VIRON10 years ago
This will easily generate frequencies like 1 and 2 and 4 and 8 and 16 etc blinks per second and each LED will have it's own frequency. Adding various logic gates can produce other frequencies by mixing. The 4060 is one of the weirdest and unexpectedly useful common chips. Go ahead and use a 500K trimmer pot instead of resistor to change speed. If the 4024 is more common it can work the same way but only with 7 LED's, and that's ok because the 4060 is likely to have some blinking way too fast and some way too slow. Remember LED polarity, and a filter capacitor on the power source.
VIRON VIRON10 years ago
Sorry I misunderstood, this will not be useful for fiberoptically controlling powered LED's. If the fiber optics are reasonably sized, the ends of them should emit light or go into a bead that does, and the programming of the sequence, I think, is done with a clock motor (seconds hand speed) and a color wheel, which you could print with an inkjet onto transparencies, and then cut it out and mount on the motor. Many individually powered, remote controlled LEDs just seems like a waste of parts. But then again such waste is commonplace and I like when it is "dumped" on me.
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