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Interested in starting to learn to make LED signs (Basic Q's)

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Chris M, Nov 4, 2014.

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  1. Chris M

    Chris M

    Aug 7, 2014
    I want to start learning to make LED signs. I want to start simple, making something like this:


    Would I be better off buying resistors and LED's and just start experimenting?

    Or would a breadboard kit be a good investment to start playing around? Something like this:


    I am a total noob with this stuff, but want to start learning by experimentation.

    Eventually I want to play with Arduino, but I am too inexperienced, and wanna start just with LED's.

    Note* I am wanting to learn this for my amusement/hobby, not for making stuff to sell.

    Any advice?
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2014
  2. Rui Monteiro

    Rui Monteiro

    Nov 3, 2014
    Hello Chris M,

    I'm not an professional and like you I'm an hobbiest to. I started with electronics few months ago, but I feel free to unswer you some points I feel you should know.

    For that kind of signs you showed on the first photo, there are some points to take in account:
    1. your knowledge about leds.
    2. each led consumes aproximatly 20 mA. Only for the V, you have 25 leds, so the total consumption will be very high ( 25 * 0,02A = 0.5A ).
    3. i suggest you may start with the protoboard you showed later and with simpler circuits.
    4. In practice there are ways to work with so many leds simultaneously but the tecnology behind it it is a little bit hard to understand with so low knowledgment you have so far.
    Start to understand some electronic basic principles like:
    1. voltages, currents (dc and ac)
    2. resistors and basic circuits
    3. diodes
    4. capacitors
    5. transistors (bipolar ones for start)
    If you google, you'll find many tutorials. If you feel I can help you more, feel free to ask.

    Good luck.
  3. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

    Nov 28, 2011
    Hi Chris M and welcome to Electronics Point :)

    I like the look of that VOLT sign.

    There are several board options for the display boards. Many of them are described in a good article at and shown at and and Here's a summary.
    One or more breadboards are worth having for prototyping the control and driver circuitry, but breadboards are not designed for permanent construction. Once you have it working, you can transfer it to any of the types of prototyping board listed above, to free up the breadboard for further experimentation.

    You will probably need to start using microcontrollers if your requirements are more than very basic. There are many options. PICAXE is a range of ICs that you can program in their own nasty BASIC-like language (see There are many small microcontroller-based boards that include a USB port and various extras and are constructed on a small rectangular circuit board with two rows of pins that can be plugged into a breadboard or soldered into a prototyping board (see and and There are full microprocessor-based boards with various peripherals and application-specific add-on boards (see and

    That's only a small selection of what's out there. Google is your friend!
    Arouse1973 likes this.
  4. Arouse1973

    Arouse1973 Adam

    Dec 18, 2013
    Love the sign, see if you can get a book on LED projects, that might be the way to go.
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