Introduction: LED Sign

Picture of LED Sign
Here's how to make a microcontroller based 7 letter (or less) LED sign.  Each letter is individually controlled and so you can program it to display many different patterns.  It uses the darling transistor array ULN2003A to switch letters on and off.  The DC voltage you use will determine the maximum number of LED's in series.  For example, I used a 9 volt DC adapter and since each  LED drops 2 volts, I used at most 4 LED's in series (9/2 = 4 rounded).   You then connect an appropriate resistor in series and extend the number of LED'S per letter by connecting additional series sets in parallel.  For example, using a 9 volt supply, a letter with 9 LED's would consist of 3 series sets: 4, 4, and 1 which are then connected together in parallel.  A resistor of 50 Ohms is connected in series for each of the 4  LED's to allow 20 miliAmps of current.  (9 - 2*4)/0.02A=50.  The single LED gets (9 - 2)/0.02 = 350 Ohm resistor in series.   As long as your power source can deliver enough current, your letters can include more LED's if necessary.
You will need to design your LED board separately since the sign will be any word or name you choose.


Step 1: Bill of Materials

Picture of Bill of Materials

Components
  • Capacitor .1uf
  • Capacitor 10uF
  • Capacitor 1uF
  • PIC16F88
  • 7805T TO220H 
  • Resistor 4.7K
  • 5MM LED's
  • Several resistors: 50, 150, 250, 350 Ohms

Hardware
  • Wire 
  • Single sided copper clad board large enough for the LED sign
  • 3" x 3" Single sided copper clad board
  • PIC burner
  • 9 Volt DC adapter
Software

PCB making

  • Paint thinner
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Meuratic acid
  • Laminator
  • Laser Printer
  • LEDSign.sch and LEDSign.brd

Step 2: Build Controlling PCB

Picture of Build Controlling PCB

There will be 2 PCB's: the controlling PCB and the LED sign PCB.
The controlling PCB houses the microcontroller, the darlington array,
and the 5 volt regulator.
Download and Print LEDSignBoard.pdf using a laser printer on glossy paper.
You can download and import LEDSign.sch and LEDSign.brd into Eagle
to further modify the schematic and board.
Transfer the image to a copper clad board using a laminator.  Drill holes
for the components.  Etch the board with an acid solution. 
Remove toner using paint thinner and solder in the components.
Reference other instructables on how to manufacture a PCB for more details.
The board I designed provides for 7 letters and uses 7805 to provide 5 volts
for the microcontroller.  It also provides for a push button to turn off and on the lights.

Step 3: Build LED PCB

Picture of Build LED PCB

To design theLED sign, I wrote large letters in Eagle as a guide to where the LED's should go.
First draw a schematic of your LED's in series and parallel for each letter with appropriate resistors and then
design the board by rearranging the LED's to coincide with each letter.  The idea is for your board to have
1 pad that receives 9 volts, or whatever voltage your power supply provides.  This then is routed to
the positive side of each and every letter in your LED sign    The negative side of each letter is then routed
to a seperate pad.  These ground pads each get connected to the controlling PCB.  A letter gets lit
when ground is supplied by the transistor array as controlled by the microcontroller.

Step 4: Programming the Controlling Board

Download and burn LEDSign.hex to the PIC16F88.  It will control 6 letters in different patterns.
The programs uses the push button for going to sleep (off) when pressed and is awakened (on)
when pressed again since pushing it triggers an interrupt which wakes up on change.
Download LEDSign.jal and you can easily modify the code to create your own patterns or work
with more letters.  The program itself is very basic and so it should port easily to other platforms.
If you do port it, feel free to post back and share.
JAL is a free and easy to use language for  PIC's. 
You can download the compiler from here: http://www.casadeyork.com/jalv2/
So there you have it.  I hope you see the light.  Now go and build your own signs.

Comments

vishnu.prasath.94 (author)2014-08-13

Hi,

Good evening,Sir!

Hope there this message find you well,this I'm Vishnu from srilanka,Colombo.currently present working in Saudi Arabia at Saudi Aramco as media technician,I'm a electronic technician I has very good knowledge in to it,when it's comes to electronic equipment devices repairing,e.g tv,radio,hi-fi set up ect..

And recently I saw the web site www.instructables.com,and I find your project led sign as cit rix ,I'm very existed to make one my Owen,since your project very clear to anyone make it as well,but as for me i still needs your support and confirm the below points,

how could i exstend more letters like this name " VISHNU ELECTRONICS"?

with this http://www.casadeyork.com/jalv2/ page where i should find your project compiler,i tried and its seem corrupted.and also the diagram or sechmatich led sign and controlling board cant find it,i mean no file to download,

please kindly give me your cellphone number in case,

i really much apprecate your supportm

I'm looking forward your positive reply soon! Have a good day

Thank you!

Here it's my mobile:-00966535650998,

Email:-vishphic@gmail.com

vishnu.prasath.94 (author)2014-08-13

Hi,

Good evening,Sir!

Hope there this message find you well,this I'm Vishnu from srilanka,Colombo.currently present working in Saudi Arabia at Saudi Aramco as media technician,I'm a electronic technician I has very good knowledge in to it,when it's comes to electronic equipment devices repairing,e.g tv,radio,hi-fi set up ect..

And recently I saw the web site www.instructables.com,and I find your project led sign as cit rix ,I'm very existed to make one my Owen,since your project very clear to anyone make it as well,but as for me i still needs your support and confirm the below points,

how could i exstend more letters like this name " VISHNU ELECTRONICS"?

with this http://www.casadeyork.com/jalv2/ page where i should find your project compiler,i tried and its seem corrupted.and also the diagram or sechmatich led sign and controlling board cant find it,i mean no file to download,

please kindly give me your cellphone number in case,

i really much apprecate your supportm

I'm looking forward your positive reply soon! Have a good day

Thank you!

Here it's my mobile:-00966535650998,

Email:-vishphic@gmail.com

About This Instructable

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Bio: I like figuring out how things work and learning new skills. I am a software engineer and so making things is an outlet for me.
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