Control multiple LEDs independently - no matrix

I have read on this board about control multiple LEDs in a matrix but I want to find out if the Arduino is right for what I want to do and any help is greatly appreciated.

I want to be able to control 40 - 50 LEDs. I want to be able to, for example, tell LED3, LED 28 and LED42 to flash and LED2, LED 9 to be on and the rest be off. I want to control this with C# and USB. I can write the C# code and I am learning the electronics right now, just wondering if the Arduino is the right board for the job. Any suggestions and information would be great.



Arduino can probably (with the right external compnents) control the LED’s to your requirement. I’m not a specialist on the LED driver IC’s, but i think that you would have to implement the “blinking” your self, in code.

Just remember that The USB port on the arduino board is really a serial (COM) port in disguise. This port only works if a special driver is installed on the computer. So in your C# code you would have to write code to interface with a serial port not a USB port, and hope that the underlying .NET runtime can understand that serial port driver. Which it probably will.


I appreciate the quick response.

I am aware of the need to interface with the serial port within C# and I have no problem creating the “blinking” within the code.

Do you know how many LEDs can be controlled with the Arduino or is there a better tool for this job?


try doing a Google search for Arduino & LED & Matrix, there is a heap of information out there. Search both the web and this forum. also has several listings for LED Matrix.

Thank you, I will search the other forum mentioned.

Will a matrix allow me to control individual LEDs within the matrix or just affect them all at once? My understanding of how the matrix works may be incorrect.

One post I read said that you can control 1 LED within the matrix at a time or all of them at once but I need to control any number of them at one time with some flashing and some solid.

Thanks for all the help and quick responses.


A matrix with the MAX7219/21 chips would be fine for you I believe.
You still have full independent control over each LED.

Although I am currently wiring up a massive mess to control 64 RGB LEDs. Thats 196 individual inputs.
I’m not using a matrix however due to technical limitations of matrices.

You can do something similar with 5 to 8 74HC595 chips. Each chips controls 8 LEDs.
They can be daisy chained together. I’m using 24 chips to control my array.


Thank you very much, that is exactly the information I was looking for and really helps me.

Thanks to everyone else who responded.


I know this is a late response, however I would recommend trying out the TI TLC5940, I just ordered some samples from TI, they got here, free shipping and product, used some test code online that i found just by searching around, and I must say, they are amazing! You can throw up to 18 I think ive heard in series, but three would be more than enough for you. Each drives 16 LEDS, with varying brightness per LED, and 4096 different brightness settings! I HIGHLY recommend these!