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I Need a Little Help with Shift Registers Answered

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Hello, I'm both new to Instructables, and Electronics in general.
I'm trying to make a Divergence Meter, but I'm going to be using LED's and etched acrylic instead of Nixie tubes.

(It's safer for having my little cousins around.)

I'm hoping to control each tube with one shift register per tube. Each tube will have 11 inputs and 1 output (11 LED's 0402 type). I was curious if you guys had any tips on how to do that with the standard 16 pin registers, or if you could direct me to one that could do it.

Thanks.

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caitlinsdad (author)2018-01-19

I see the challenge and learning opportunity in basic discrete electronics but I would take advantage of new tech like microcontrollers - arduino and neopixels. Have you seen the Lixie tube https://hackaday.io/project/18633-lixie-an-led-alternative-to-the-nixie-tube which is what I think you are trying to do? Good luck.

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gmoon (author)2018-01-19

Have you looked at old-school 7-segment LEDs with "retro" BCD (Binary Coded Decimal) shift registers? I'd imagine any modern register would still do BCD anyway, Steve's MAX7221 (or that SN74HC595) would (or make your's hex for a change..). Should be loads of info on that stuff online--and it's a only a (temporal) step removed from nixie tubes...

'Course I can see why a hacked LED display might be a fun project...

When I was a kid, my cousin worked for Wang electronics, and brought home an early calculator they made -- with nixie tubes, a punch-card reader and 64 bytes of memory! Wow, that makes me old...

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steveastrouk (author)2018-01-10

The MAX7221 has 64 outputs, and only needs three lines to drive it. You can cascade multiple devices, over the same three lines. If you look at my project "CarBarduino" you'll see a custom board I built with the same chip

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PS118 (author)2018-01-09

For more I/O for the LED's, before resorting to bit-shifting, I'd first look into charlieplexing:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlieplexing

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Thanks, I'll take a look at it.

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