First hackings with Arduino: Text on LEDs

The word "Arduino" is illuminated by red LEDs in a blur.

There are only 10 LEDs in this picture.

Last week, I ordered the ARDX Arduino Experimenter’s Kit from Solarbotics. I finally got a chance to play with it today, and it is so awesome. I’ve done a lot of software programming, but my only experience with hardware programming was the Digital Design course I took this summer. It involved using a language called Verilog, which is unreservedly my least favourite of all of the languages I’ve ever coded in (about a dozen).

This kit is awesome. It comes with a plethora of fun parts to use with the Arduino, including a servo, a DC motor, and something that relates to sound but I haven’t quite figured out what it does yet. It also includes a series of paper overlays for the breadboard that make it really easy to try their samples. It took me quite awhile to hook up a row of LEDs, so I decided I didn’t want to rip it apart immediately after, and instead I wrote some code that animated first a circle, then a word (“Arduino”). The latter is shown in the image above. Essentially, this is done with a massive array of ones and zeros, that is read by the main loop of the program onto the column of LEDs.

Photo of a breadboard to the left of a blue microchip. There is a column of 10 red LEDs on the breadboard, and they are wired to the chip.

What the circuit looks like...

Go to the source!

I’m potentially going to take a little time and make code that will turn any string into the 1s and 0s needed for this, but come to think of it, I’m not sure why. I have a tendency to generalize and abstract things, my projects being no exceptions. It wouldn’t really help me learn more about my Arduino, and I don’t plan on keeping the circuit laid out like this. Well, if someone else wants to, I think Fixedsys is the perfect font.

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