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radio shack shows these shift registers on their web site.
 what one would be best for a noob like me to use / learn with?
and is there any good tutorial for the ic you recomend?

NTE4094BT CMOS 8−Stage Shift/Storage Register
NTE4035B CMOS, 4−Bit Parallel−In/ -Out Shift Register
NTE4031B IC-CMOS, 64−Stage Static Shift Register
NTE4094B CMOS 8−Stage Shift/Storage Register

I am using uno and I also have 2 breadboards and a small pile of electronic parts and the sidekick basic add on kit

thanks all for the help!
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start with the 74HC595 or equivalent, there are plenty of examples for it.
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If you want to drive LEDs the '595 is good.  For a more general shift register I've used the 8-bit 74HC299 - it doesn't latch like the 595 (so would
flicker if driving LEDs), but does do either serial->parallel or parallel->serial conversion and can shift in either direction - so plenty to play with.
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If you want to drive LEDs the '595 is good.  For a more general shift register I've used the 8-bit 74HC299 - it doesn't latch like the 595 (so would
flicker if driving LEDs), but does do either serial->parallel or parallel->serial conversion and can shift in either direction - so plenty to play with.

this flicker that you speak of, can it be overcome with capacitors to keep them lit instead of "flickering" during the high or on output of each pin?
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this flicker that you speak of, can it be overcome with capacitors to keep them lit instead of "flickering" during the high or on output of each pin?
Maybe, as long as you put the capacitor directly across the LED (on the LED side of the resistor).   Otherwise the capacitor will be "fighting" the chip when it tries to switch quickly.  (Not really a "standard solution", but good creative thinking!!!!)

I wouldn't even worry about that right now.  Depending on how you drive the shift register, if you shift the data quickly enough, you should never see the LED come-on (or off) as the data shifts-through the shift register in microseconds.  And, since you are just experimenting and learing right now, it's no big deal.  If you do slow it down to see the blinking/flickering, it might even help you to understand what's going on!
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4094 is quite comparable to hc595.

However, if you were to get it, avoid the regular cmos types (cd4000 series) - they have limited drive capabilities. You should get HC4094 or HC595. In cases where you don't need a latch, try HC164 too.
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