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.

A portrait of Malcolm Ocean

I'm Malcolm Ocean.

I'm developing scalable solutions to coordination between parts of people as well as between people. More about me.

Become more intentional
Check out Complice, a web-app that I built to help people achieve their personal & professional goals. Complice logo
Follow me on Twitter!