Introduction: How to Make a Fan POV Display

Picture of How to Make a Fan POV Display

In this project I will show you how I transformed an ordinary old Fan into a LED POV Display which can present you light patterns, words or even the time. Let's get started!

Step 1: Watch the Video!

The video gives you all the basic information you need to build this project. In the next steps though you will find all the files I created which you can use to create a similar POV Display.

Step 2: Order Your Parts!

Picture of Order Your Parts!

Here you can find a parts list with example sellers for your convenience.

1x Arduino Pro Mini:

1x FTDI Breakout:

5x 5mm LED Red:

5x 200Ω, 1x 10kΩ Resistor:

1x Slide Switch:

1x 80mAh LiPo Battery + Protection circuit:

1x U18 Hall Effect sensor:

1x Fan:


1x Arduino Pro Mini:

1x FTDI Breakout:

5x 5mm LED Red:

5x 200Ω, 1x 10kΩ Resistor:

1x Slide Switch:

1x 80mAh LiPo Battery + Protection circuit:

1x U18 Hall Effect sensor:

1x Fan: -


1x Arduino Pro Mini:

1x FTDI Breakout:

5x 5mm LED Red:

5x 200Ω, 1x 10kΩ Resistor:

1x Slide Switch:

1x 80mAh LiPo Battery + Protection circuit:

1x U18 Hall Effect sensor:

1x Fan: -

1x Arduino Pro Mini:

1x FTDI Breakout:

5x 5mm LED Red:

5x 200Ω, 1x 10kΩ Resistor:

1x Slide Switch:

1x 80mAh LiPo Battery + Protection circuit:

1x U18 Hall Effect sensor:

1x Fan:

Step 3: Create the Wooden Stick!

Feel free to download and use my design.svg file to create a similar wooden stick that I used in the video. Make sure to open the .svg file with Google chrome and print it out without any margins.

Step 4: Build the Circuit!

Picture of Build the Circuit!

Use the here presented schematic and reference pictures to create the circuit.

Step 5: Upload the Code!

When uploading one of the three Arduino sketches to an Arduino Pro Mini it is necessary to use an FTDI breakout. After a successful upload the project is pretty much complete.

Step 6: Success!

Picture of Success!

You did it! You just created your own POV Display!

Feel free to check out my YouTube channel for more awesome projects:

You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for news about upcoming projects and behind the scenes information:


KristersK (author)2017-11-22

I made it , but there are not all the letters in your code , how do i code them ?

Ahmed asas (author)2017-11-09

Very good

WannaDuino made it! (author)2017-09-14

LOOKS LIKE I DONE IT, it works almost 100%. i used hobby foam, but i seen it work 20% of the 100% rpm single round.

so i need to find my sweet spot of RPM`s. i used a accu drill, a Makita.LOL..and a magnet on a phone tripod. i send you an PM, if you can change your greatscot name in your code to WannaDuino is also 10 letters.. but i do not know how to do and to change it.

WannaDuino, a neighbour

WannaDuino made it! (author)2017-09-13

can you make me the arduino code with my name? scott?


because i heard you say that its not only the letters but also coding in the begin section, i still have not learnd that. please do.?

i have put bleu leds in it, is that NO problem? i still did not test it, when i turn it on, it blicks 1 time and after 10 15 sec again or so, i tryed a magnet but i do not know if it works.


jrbums (author)2017-08-13

Thanks for creating a very clear instructable. I didn't know about the hall sensor, and I used it for another spinning electronics project.

attanayaka (author)2017-06-23

no hall effect sensor. i have reed to connect it.and how to programe it

Would a 3144 Hall Effect Sensor work? Thanks for all your good work.

Not with a LiPo cell as a power source.

RealAXZ (author)GreatScottLab2017-06-21

Will button cell work?

i used one and it worked just fine !

RealAXZ (author)2017-06-21

Can i use another type of hall effect sensor like SS49E or A3144 hall effect sensor instead ?

attanayaka (author)2017-06-15

i dont have hall effect sensor

KashyapA4 (author)2017-06-05

Hey great scott. Regarding the battery management, do you have a recommended procedure/charger to recharge the battery?

UtkarshC9 (author)2016-06-28

Hey great scott.i just wabt to ask that can i use a 9volt battery instead of the lipo battery???

FamilyC1 (author)UtkarshC92017-04-06

If the arduino mini can support it, and keep in mind that it will ad a lot of weight to the wooden stick

Masud Hassan (author)2017-02-19

Can you code/programme it to act as a clock? Man it would be so cool!!

FamilyC1 (author)Masud Hassan2017-04-06

yes, but it can take hours,and you have to adjust the time every time you turn the arduino on

FamilyC1 (author)2017-04-06


tooday11 (author)2017-04-04


hot-fresh-rider (author)2017-01-24

I'd love to see this on a ceiling fan with RGB LEDs in time to music.

Jasmeeet Singh (author)2016-09-23

That was a great project!! Nice work
Can you please tell me how can I display images or animations through the LEDs??

UtkarshC9 (author)2016-06-28

Hey.i made a pov display just like u showed in the video but it isnt working.when i turns the switch on it just flashes a red led in the arduino mini.plzzz help me i am stuck

Botanali (author)2016-06-07

Great scott i want code how

GreatScottLab (author)Botanali 2016-06-08

By downloading it

HaythamL (author)2016-05-01

:s i hoped that you can explain the code and how to can make letters

ThomasVDD (author)2016-05-01

Nice build! I'm gonna try to make one with wireless power transmission to the rotor instead of the battery, based on schematics from the german Make magazine :p

AllenInventions (author)2016-04-12

The arduino code to write Hacked and Great Scott! no longer open. I have already bought all the parts and am almost done. Please fix it soon:(

Maciek. (author)AllenInventions2016-05-01

Try to delete "!" :) That'll help

Maciek. (author)AllenInventions2016-05-01

Try to delete "!" :) That'll help

There is nothing to fix. It works without a problem.

um where do i put the
can I use arduino Uno?
and can I use a 9v battery?
can I change the code part from.great Scott to
ROLLTIDE or something?

mine just says failed to open the sketch whenever I try. Any way you could copy and paste the "HACKED!" code in the comments or on the instructable? Thanks (Love your videos and have been following, learning from, and making some of them for over a year)

No, I will not do that.

OliverH34 (author)GreatScottLab2016-04-18

it dose not work for me.

the triangle wave will open but the other two won't

You can use Notepad to view the code.

Joeybloos (author)2016-04-27

Hi there! First off all, great instructable! Nicely done! But how would I modify your code to display other words or numbers to make a clock of sorts?

WisterDeisgns (author)2016-03-27

Wow that's really nice, Where did you learn how to make one like this?

I learned about electronics in university and through my job training. So when I saw other POV displays I wanted to create my own design with the concept. That is the result. Basically I learned how to make it by myself ;-)

How many years did you study in the university and what kind of job training did you do?

what name of university?

In which university do u study and what is name of course?

Person is able to learn electronics by himself? If yes how to do it?

Veda88 (author)WisterDeisgns2016-03-29

Learning something always costs some money. Go ahead and buy an arduino, some leds and some resistors. Now try to make a looplight (you know that thing Kitt has on front of the car in Knight Rider?). Just search for a tutorial on how to do it. But make sure that you understand what is happening. Now try yourself and change the way it works. Maybe you can change the speed? So go and buy some sensor that can change the speed (A pot meter? A light meter?) Search for a tutorial that uses such a sensor and learn how it works. Now try to combine these 2.

Do this a lot. Start with something small and go bigger once you have learnt some more. I personally like to see results fast. So try to think of some small things that can finish fast. Grow bigger over time. Don't try to do the hardest thing first. You will fail many times and give up soon.

RogerF29 (author)GreatScottLab2016-03-29

Could you add in some sort of wireless connector [NRF24L01 maybe?] to allow it to stream fresh information?

KazimR (author)2016-04-22

hey scott please help me i buy every thing u said but my adrino light is not blinking please reply me as i have to submit my project fast waiting for your reply

DoyDavis (author)2016-04-19

is one of the best pages of electronica, this is what I was looking for to time ... you're great.

AllenInventions (author)DoyDavis2016-04-20

Could you paste the "HACKED!" code in the comments? It won't let me open it and I've already built the project. Thanks.

NLTerminator (author)2016-03-29

Hey Scott, I have a question. I have just started to learn electronics as a hobby (I love to learn) and I bought myself an arduino. Do you jave tips/sources from where I could information so I can learn how to do it. And where did you learn how to program an arduino, and to make circuits. Thanks in advance.

Evekites (author)NLTerminator2016-03-29

Hello Scot, great project, I'll try this out soon.

Hi NLTerminator If you like some free document to learn Arduino, I've written something useful. (shortcut for ). It's about 350 A4-pages, written in English (Jammer genoeg voor jou niet in het Nederlands).

About This Instructable




Bio: Awesome Electronics Tutorials, Projects and How To´s
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