How many super bright LEDs can I power from an Arduino?

I want to create a project based on using super bright LEDs reacting to music. I would like to use as many as possible. My question is three fold

1 - What are the brightest LEDs available?
2 - What is the board with the most outputs to control them? - I looked at the mega but most of the outputs are not PWM so I can't dim them.
3 - Does anyone have a circuit for this?

Thank you so much for any help!

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Typically a "super bright" LED is electrically similar to a standard LED, running at about 20mA (and about 40 mW). So you can power one or two per I/O pin and a handful directly from an Arduino. (But, if you drive two, from the same pin they are obviously not individually addressable).

2 - What is the board with the most outputs to control them?

It depends on if they need to be individually addressed and/or individually dimmed.

I made an 8-foot "giant VU meter" (that also does some other chasing/sequencing effects) with 48 individually addressable LEDs (24 on each side, spaced 3 or 4 inches apart) driven with six [u]MAX6968[/u] driver chips. Those drivers are serially addressed and they can be daisy-chained so it only takes 3 or 4 output pins from an Arduino Uno. One nice thing about that chip is that it's internally current-controlled so the LEDs don't need resistors. However, the LEDs are not dimmable. That's just an example of what I used... There are other driver chips, depending on what you want/need.

The super-bright LEDs are plenty-bright enough for a good effect in a fully-lit room. If they were any brighter they would be annoyingly-bright and the light would have to be diffused. But, it's not the kind of effect that projects light to "light-up the dance floor".

DVDdoug:
Typically a "super bright" LED is electrically similar to a standard LED, running at about 20mA (and about 40 mW). So you can power one or two per I/O pin and a handful directly from an Arduino. (But, if you drive two, from the same pin they are obviously not individually addressable).
It depends on if they need to be individually addressed and/or individually dimmed.

I made an 8-foot "giant VU meter" (that also does some other chasing/sequencing effects) with 48 individually addressable LEDs (24 on each side, spaced 3 or 4 inches apart) driven with six [u]MAX6968[/u] driver chips. Those drivers are serially addressed and they can be daisy-chained so it only takes 3 or 4 output pins from an Arduino Uno. One nice thing about that chip is that it's internally current-controlled so the LEDs don't need resistors. However, the LEDs are not dimmable. That's just an example of what I used... There are other driver chips, depending on what you want/need.

The super-bright LEDs are plenty-bright enough for a good effect in a fully-lit room. If they were any brighter they would be annoyingly-bright and the light would have to be diffused. But, it's not the kind of effect that projects light to "light-up the dance floor".

Thanks for getting back to me - it doesn't need to light up a dance floor - more like highlight small objects in a room - I would like each to be individually addressable and dimmable. I have looked at shifting which I could do, but I was wondering if there was an easier option i.e a version of mega where all the outputs are PWM?

Thanks again

@Noisey_Parker, don't be that cocky! @spycatcher2k just gave you a perfect answer! Without drivers (which includes using shift registers and Neopixels) the Arduino drive that much. From the top of my head, 200mA absolute maximum combined of all the pins with 40mA absolute max per pin. That's it.

And depending on what you want to light a driver can be as complex as a transistor, a Neopixel or a whole module if you want to drive a 100W led...

Noisey_Parker:
i.e a version of mega where all the outputs are PWM?

Sorry, no. Use a driver like spycatcher2k suggested :wink:

septillion:
@Noisey_Parker, don't be that cocky! @spycatcher2k just gave you a perfect answer! Without drivers (which includes using shift registers and Neopixels) the Arduino drive that much. From the top of my head, 200mA absolute maximum combined of all the pins with 40mA absolute max per pin. That's it.

And depending on what you want to light a driver can be as complex as a transistor, a Neopixel or a whole module if you want to drive a 100W led...
Sorry, no. Use a driver like spycatcher2k suggested :wink:

Thanks for your input I really appreciate any advice on this subject...I can assure you I'm not being cocky, however, I am weary of truculent, sarcastic forum replies. If you don't like the question don't answer - it's really easy. I should take my own advice and not answer, but i'm slightly piqued that he decided to reply to both my posts in a silly, condescending way.

I can assure you I'm not being cocky,

That is how you come across though.

but i'm slightly piqued that he decided to reply to both my posts in a silly, condescending way.

spycatcher2k is a she, not a he.

It wasn't silly :wink: You left the door wide open for vague answers because you didn't post what research you did, what you really want to do (as stated in How to use the forum you most do). It's you that has a problem/question, not us. And the answer is only as good as the question. So if you think the answer is "silly" then the question was "silly" :wink:

Note the term super bright has a specific meaning, it referrers to an LED made with a high efficiency output so that you can get the same brightness as normal LEDs but with less current. At normal LED current ( 20mA ) it is brighter than a normal LED.

However in popular parlance super bright could legitimately mean a high power high brightness LED. These are far brighter than the super bright LEDs.

So your question was ambiguous.