Introduction: LED Head Arduino TED

LED HEAD TED meet the world.

I have always been interested in a bare-bones Arduino but never really saw the point if it was not practically useful, This is my entry into Little Bits contest, I tried to stay true to the " little bits" theme and use...well little bits that I had lying around the house. So I introduce to you my bread board companion called Debug TED.

Here is a short video of him in action, when you start the board up the leds run in order from bottum to up to show they all working and when code is loaded onto the board the eyes flash( connected them to TX0 and RX0)

once they where up and running i connected his probe to the 5v line and he indicated that it was in the 4volt range (actual reading 4.6v) and when connected to 3.3v (after accidentally connecting to Gnd) he shows LED3 indicating the 3volt range.

He is made up of a barebones

x1 Arduino 328p ,

x1 Voltage divider,

x5 LEDs


x3 220ohm Resistors

x1 1kohm Resistor

x1 2.2kohm Resistor

His function

He is a breadboard hardware debug tool , made to be used as a very crude voltage meter, the output of the measured voltage is displayed on his tummy from bottom to top in steps of 1v steps all the way to 5v.

His eyes is two SMD leds with leads that "T" joins and serial communication and flicker when serial communication is active.

His legs is the main power feed into his body and needs to be supplied with 5v to power him up.

His Glasses and head is the negative to the system and all other negatives is connected to the skull for a GND.

His arms indicated by RED and Black leads is the Volt meter probes for testing voltages in the circuit being built.

The only non functioning part about TED is his smile which he was missing badly ;-)

Hope you guys like Him if you do and want to see more please vote! I am planning on making him into a kit with more features !

Tutorial guideline to follow, please take note that this is not clear cut tutorial as everyone will have there own why of doing things but i will explain with Lots of photos.

Step 1: Building the Light Bar

The light bar is made up of 5 LEDs

x1 RED

x2 Amber

x2 Green

To give the light bar some strength I ended up using hobbywire to connect all the negatives together which would later be connected through a common 220ohm resistor to ground ( 220ohm is enough because one one led will be switched on at a time) and on the positive lead i soldered different color wires. from top to bottom they were soldered in the following order.

Green = 5v

Green = 4v

Amber = 3v

Amber = 2v

Red = 1v

But this is open to your judgement and choice.

Step 2: Creating the Eyes (TX and RX Indicators)

The eyes is two green and blue SMD 608size LEDs connected to 220ohm resistors, the glasses was made form hobby wire and soldered to the common negative rail between the two LEDs for a negative feed. the other ends is soldered to two jump wires for use to connect to the bread board TX and RX lines ( not that the face does not integrate into the on board Arduino)

Step 3: Burning the Bootloader and Loading the Code

What you need.


Atmel 328p Chip

Arduino UNO

AVR MKii programmer


Atmel Studio

Arduino IDE

This is one of the only project you will probably ever find that you load the code first ! then build the project, This is because i never plan to reuse, reprogram this chip as it is used as a tool.

I followed the instructions of This Video to load the bootloader and then from there proceeded to load my Arduino code onto the board.

the code is attached in the step, please take careful note in the code where the pins are connected you might want to change them or use them as is but default they are as follows.

D5 = 1V LED

D6 = 2V LED

D7 = 3V LED

D8 = 4V LED

D9 = 5V LED

A0 = Voltage divider input.

it is advised to first build this circuit on a breadboard and make sure all components work as intended before continuing with TED.

Step 4: Starting to Build the Body (painful Process)

The barebones arduino has been convered by many tutorials so I am not going to repeat it here but instead I say thank you to the people at Freetronics as they have a very nice tutorial of you need and how to build your device.

here is the link Here

After you are done with the basic arduino you can start by adding the "tummy" LEDs and soldering them in order from the previous step. once this is done it is time for the voltage divider.

the voltage divider is connected as follows.

GND-------R2 -------A0--------R1--------5v(input voltage). The two probes which form the arms are connected to the GND and 5V sides of this circuit and allows Arduino to read the voltage of any circuit between 1-5v.

Step 5: Now for His Face and Legs

Hi Face has been stuck onto the back of the 328p with glue gun but I made sure that it did not short out and of the other pins.

His legs is made from hobby wire and coated with black and red heat shrink to show positive from negative and they are soldered to the main power feed into the Arduino namely 5v and GND.

Once all the soldering was done it was time to make him stand up and be strong , the only way I saw how was to glue gun his whole body.

I didnt want todo this becuase he looked very cool but now atleast I can use him.

But hey LED HEAD TED was born !

Future for this project.

If there is enough interest, i want to swop all components to SMD and make TED from a PCB with more features for bread board debugging, breaking up voltage into 0.5v step instead of 1v steps and maybe adding a speak jet chip for voltage promps and serial.print outs

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