Help with ordering components.. (getting a nice hobby selection going)

Im hoping you kind souls can shed some help (not more questions) LOL.. on my quest to finally order some parts. (Digikey, mouser..wherever)

I also seem to forget 'something' after I order.. so maybe you can give suggestion as well as ensure I order the correct part(s).. since those sites can be quite daunting with all the options for the same part..etc

First.. since I would like to play with controlling large amounts of leds.. (in a strip.. not a matrix cube or anything)..

I need to look for a 'shift register chip'..

I have zero experience.. this will be first time ordering one.. so any help is appreciated.

I was thinking of these: The MAX7219 and MAX7221 Led drivers

as they can control up to 64 leds each.. (and stuil be daisy chained for more if needed)

I think there are other kind available as well that control up to 8 leds...yes?

question: do these chips just allow 'control' (bit addressing?) to all the leds? or do these actually 'drive' them as in some sort of power management as well?

ie: do I need OTHER stuff besides these chip(s) to make an led strip of xx leds work? (besides Arduino and shift reg chip?)

anything for 'driving' them.. with correct power?

Alternately.. I need to stock up some regular components..

caps & resistors.. to make sure I have a large enough range of values.

I am need of:

Ceramic SMD (0603) Ceramic standard type (breadboard prototyping)

Electrolytic SMD Electrolytic standard type (breadboard prototyping)

Anyone have suggestions on getting assorted kits? with good value ranges? (and affordable?)

I was just surfing Ebay?? as the assorted kits help me better then trying to source each individual value..


You want a lot of LEDs that you can access via simple commands? MAX7221 is good one, SPI.transfer to 1 of 8 registers. MAX6853, can control for 5x7 matrixes, (140 LEDs), use wire.transfer commands. Both drive/control the LEDs, no other parts needed. If using a Matrix chip, ensure you get the 'right' kind (read datasheet, I think both are set up for common cathode).

Why use such little caps (physical size?) Get a bunch of 0.1uF caps power supply decoupling. Get some 1uF, 10uF for same.

Browse here too You can get a lot of parts to play with for not much money. Shift registers, NPN transisitors, resistors, 16-channel PWM drivers, etc.

Or a board like this

and an AVI ISP like this for burning bootloaders, or sketches

Something else to consider. TI allows you to order up to 5 free samples of many of their ICs, including (but not limited to) shift registers, LED drivers, regulators and many more. When I say free, I mean free. Just browse their site, find what might interest you in the package of your choice (if available) and order your samples. It gives you something to play with at least, without having to spend money before you're sure of what you want.

thanks for the tip about TI … (I think maxim does the same…no?) (was many years ago)

noob question:

I see a lot of talk about ‘SPI’

Is this a specific ‘PIN’? or a protocol?

I believe I have seen it in reference to SD card… and/or Audio as well??

Re: shift registers…

yes easy to code/command (target) would be nice…

I am hoping I can make some nice animations/patterns with it…

another noob moment…

MAX7221 is good one, SPI.transfer to 1 of 8 registers.

does this ean the chpi has 8 leads… and each pin can control/have up to 8 leds on it?

8x8 = 64 leds in total?

(again…only because Im not 100% sure…I do not want to do anything with cubes or matrix’… just led ‘ladder/strip’… where I can target as many/all leds if I so choose for on/off patterns.


I dont understand the physical size comment?

I am looking for several different sizes of caps… (both SMD and traditional style/package…for breadboard)

MAX7219 and 7221 are designed specifically for multiplexing multi-digit seven-segment displays. If you're not planning on creating numeric displays then they're a very expensive option. They also cannot be chained as a shift register would be; you need one dedicated I/O line per chip in addition to the data and clock I/O lines. has good buys on SMD caps and resistors. They also sell the handy little plastic boxes to store them in. I don't think I've ever seen anyone selling an SMD electrolytic assortment, though. 0805 size is small but manageable; 1206 size usually has the value of the cap/resistor printed on it. The numbers refer to the dimensions of the chip; 0805 is .08" x .05".

SPI, or Serial Peripheral Interface, is a protocol on many of Atmel's AVR ICs. It allows high-speed synschronous data transfer between the IC and peripheral devices or between other AVRs.

There are four pins used for that, MOSI/MISO/CLK/SS (on an Uno, those are pins 10, 11, 12, and 13). Fun little protocol to play with actually. :)

I forgot, as far as SMD parts ... I stick with 0805 sized stuff. 0603s and smaller are just too dang small for me. As it is, I'm fairly certain my cats have swallowed several 0805 over the years. Surprised their eyes aren't glowing yet ... or their poop.

I have never ordered anything from Sure Electronics but they're now on my bookmark *. I tend to stick with Mouser, Digi-Key or Jameco. I can get 100 0805 resistors from Jameco for 99 cents. The only problem is, they don't have a vast assortment like the other guys do.

I do see that Sure Electronics has value packs consisting of different value resistors and such. Might be a good way to start your collection.

* Now I know why - they're in China and shipping can take a while. The other guys can get stuff to me over night if I need to and it won't cost me an arm and a leg.

sureelectrojics and sunpec are both ebay sellers I have been looking into..

the link/page on these located here.. states it can drive 7-segment leds..or 64 individual leds??

is this not the case?

question (as Im confused)..

if one had an SD card hooked up to the mix/Arduino... would THAT take up my SPI 'line/pins'?

what about having Audio playback? (not using PWM..but more real Audio output....DAC, SPI interface...yes?)

does that mean someone can only do 1 of these things at a time? drive the MAX7219 and 7221 for large amount of ARRAYS..


have an SD card in the mix..


be playing .wav files?

or can all these be done on he same board/project?

(sorry Im getting a bit off track...but was confused again)

back ON topic..

if not those chips.. than which ones?

large amount of leds.. possibly need two (or more)..

Im not 100% sure if 64 leds would be enough for me or not at this current time.. so Im exploring the options.


The beauty of the SPI interface is that it can communicate with several devices on the chain. Have a read here:

Keep in mind just because a vendor sells items on eBay, doesn't mean it's not being shipped from the other side of the world. It's also harder if you need to send something back because it's the wrong part.

As for your chip selection, I will let someone who knows more about them answer that question. I just haven't had time to read up on them.

xl97: if not those chips.. than which ones?

Visit an electronics distributor (DigiKey, Newark, Mouser) and search for "led driver" and look for those with 8+ outputs in (assumedly) a DIP package. The advantage is that these drivers will control the current for you -- no need to tie each LED to its own resistor. Specs to look for are their output current and output voltage and of course verify that their pinout matches that of what would be considered a "shift register".

If you're looking for an example to start with you can try the TLC5917.

A non-shift-register but very popular chip is the TLC5940; lots and lots of examples if you google it.

Hopefully you got the SPI idea - all parts connect to the MISO, MOSI, and SCK pins - then each get their own chip select line that you take low when to write/read them.

Chagrin: If you're looking for an example to start with you can try the TLC5917.

A non-shift-register but very popular chip is the TLC5940; lots and lots of examples if you google it.

And .... you can get both for free from TI. :) Five each!

hey guys..

I am going to order a few free samples today..

I have the

MAX7221 & MAX7219 from Maxim-ic in there so far..

before I hit 'send' any other MAXIM specific parts I should get?

I know nothing of DAC's (yet).. do they offer a DAC that is in a usable breadboard/dip package for testing with?

a list of part#'s would be helpful.. since Im always scared Im picking the wrong 'version' of the chip(s)

TI is next!! thanks

Maxim has a good parametric search function - use that to find parts in DIP packages.

Another source is analog devices,

Are there no DAC's..?? (I would eventually like to get into playing 'decent' I believe a DAC would be needed)

I have never used one, played with one..nothing.

I guess at this doesnt matter. I already order free samples from TI..

I have maxim left.. (do they have DAC's? hmmmm)

hi..thanks for links.. I will check them out. =)

Also.. what does: X7R mean? when in regards to capacitors? ceramic SMT type?



It's a specific kind. That's information you can gleam from reading the actual datasheet for that product. There are several types for the same brand, size, and value. They each serve a purpose.

Thanks.. guess I'll stay away form those. =)

also.. are these normal caps?

Coupling Multilayer Ceramic Chip Capacitors 10nF 100pcs

I see it says 'coupling'?

was looking for some 'ceramic' type caps in

10nF 0.1uF 1uF

actually I hope I didnt screw up! lol

cause I ordered these:

100 Pcs 0.1uF Radial Lead Monolithic Ceramic Capacitor

100 Pcs 10nF Coupling Multilayer Ceramic Chip Capacitors

100 Pcs 1uF Radial Leaded Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors

to have some for prototyping on breadboard projects..


is there a difference in those caps I ordered? Was trying to pick up some non-smd CERAMIC caps for prototyping on a breadboard…

I dont know much about components (hence the thread)… so I saw ceramic and figured there were ok…but now Im second guessing.

got these:

100 Pcs 0.1uF Radial Lead Monolithic Ceramic Capacitor

100 Pcs 10nF Coupling Multilayer Ceramic Chip Capacitors

100 Pcs 1uF Radial Leaded Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors

the ‘names’ are stressing me out…

Radial Lead Monolithic (Ceramic)
Coupling Multilayer (Ceramic)
Radial Leaded Multilayer (Ceramic)

help!? =)