How to Easily Modify a "Light/LED" Sign for Easy Arduino Programming




Introduction: How to Easily Modify a "Light/LED" Sign for Easy Arduino Programming

About: UW-Madison engineer student

In this instructable i will be showing how anyone can turn something with lights into a programmable arduino flashing lights or "Moving Lights"

Step 1: Gather Your Sign and Simple Resources!

First, find the sign you would like to be able to easily program.

For this Instructable i used a arrow sign that just turns on and off.

You will need your standard Arduino Uno and helps to be attached to a breadboard and a

power source of you own, this can be a wall plugin or some batteries.

you will also need male wire jumpers. i needed 7 for this project.


-Soldering iron



Step 2: Remove, Cut, Untangle

Next, remove the back of whatever sign you have and find the wires

next, cut each wire so all the lights just have two cut leads coming from the lights.

it helps to single these wires out by untangling them.

Step 3: Attach Jumper Wires

so make plugging into the Arduino and breadboard simpler, we will solder the ends together and attach electrical tape to prevent wires from touching on the conductive point.

Step 4: Attach Arduino and Battery

Using sticking two sided Velcro, attach the Arduino and power source to the backside of the sign!

Step 5: Connect the Pins

Next, attached all your negative leads to the ground in the breadboard, and attach a pin to the ground of the Arduino and the breadboard so all the lights are grounded.

Next, give each light a digital female end and and attach the male pin to it.

(I put mine in order from left to right, so i put the far right light pin 2, and the one next to it 3 and so on...)

Step 6: Arduino Program

This program is super simple, its basically a loop, mine has a switch to turn on and off, otherwise if you have a loop you can just disconnect the power source :-)

Step 7: Enjoy and Place Somewhere Appropriate :-)

The program i wrote makes the lights create a arrow sign :-) you can program for them to do anything you want!! Good luck and enjoy!!!

Arduino Contest 2017

Participated in the
Arduino Contest 2017

Homemade Gifts Contest 2017

Participated in the
Homemade Gifts Contest 2017

LED Contest 2017

Participated in the
LED Contest 2017

Be the First to Share


    • Origami Speed Challenge

      Origami Speed Challenge
    • Electronics Contest

      Electronics Contest
    • Trash to Treasure Contest

      Trash to Treasure Contest



    4 years ago

    You might want to use an LED driver (MAX7219, TLC5940, etc.) with the Arduino. It's not really suited for driving many LED's. IIRC it has a per-pin max of 40ma, and combined max of 200ma. It doesn't appear that you're using current limiting resistors, so you could be damaging your Arduino.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Thanks, ill look into it! do you think a 270ohm would be good?


    Reply 4 years ago

    You can use Ohms law to choose the right resistor using R=E/I. R is resistance in ohms, E is voltage (5v), and I is current in amps. You can figure out how much current a resistor will draw by rearranging it as I=E/R. e.g. 270 ohms would result in 18ma.

    Hope this helps!