im guessing i need a micro controller

very new here

i have a project. 2.5" diameter circle housing.

i need to put the power supply, 12 or more leds along the circumference and something to run a loop where the leds chase pattern with increasing frequency.

it has to be contained inside that housing

i read Gammon’s write up that i found searching so im putting together that a micro controller needs to be purchased which i can then program with my uno then mount into my housing with my power supply?

im trying to learn here. most of the write ups i see are basically letter-number combinations of products that new kids like me wouldnt even begin to really be able to move forward with

kinda like me telling you that the cfm of your block probably matches a large TD04 or a clipped gt25… if you said you wanted to go fast in your car. its everything… but nothing.

  1. am i on the right track? code a loop with high/low led states ascending through the pin locations but without a hold, burn it to a micro controller with uno, put in housing

  2. where does someone like me go to begin learning these products so im not constantly asking someone if something i need to do something exists? oris there so much here that that is exactly how its done?

  3. i saw the lilipad but was trying to push myself to not use it solely because of its circular shape. seems like a short cut and i also dont know how big that unit is

Arduino is a microcontroller, so you'll likely get answers here that "yes, you should use a microcontroller, and an arduino will work fine."

What's your third dimension? A "pro mini" or "pro micro" will fit inside a circle that sized with no problems. Lilypad is 50mm diameter; it would fit fine as well.

code a loop with high/low led states ascending through the pin locations but without a hold, burn it to a micro controller, put in housing

Sounds about right. I'm not sure about that "without a hold" part, though. Without a delay, most microcontrollers will scan your LEDs so fast that they will all appear to be continuously on...

where does someone like me go to begin learning these products

There are a relatively small number of vendors that actually develop "new and different" products. Arduino themselves (, Adafruit (, Sparkfun (, and PJRC ( come to mind (Some of these are manufacturers and/or distributors for other smaller "designers" as well...) (Of course, that's just for arduino compatibles. If you want to look around for microcontrollers in general, the space is much larger.)

i was looking at millis() instead of delay() so that pattern could be sped up with each loop. at least i was thinking it could be used with some sort of multiplier where delay seemed like i would have to rewrite each "track" with a different delay

im speaking specifically about components.

microcontrollers, shields, potentiometers etc.

if you look at the forum or blogs or writeups its "i used the rt34gx. because it doesnt have a 34n doodad youll need a tgs12 or equivalent"

great. it gives me everything but it gives me absolutely nothing. if you search every technical name for every component and sub component for every writeup youll be doing research almost indefinitely.

im reading through the basics all the time. but the intermediate is missing or im missing it. lol.

so im looking for a way to learn the practical specifics you guys use here and in writeups

i have about 5/8 without modding the housing. doing so will not be that hard

i just look at small toys like balls that flash internal lights when they bounce.

2 batteries, leds, some kind of accelerometer and im guessing a rom or microcontroller in a 1/2 ball. im looking for that kind of compact system. most of the stuff i see you guys are using an arduino and leaving the whole thing connected to the project.

but you dont see that in the control boxes for electronics. its an eprom or the like on a board inside the product or in a control box.

thats the intermediate or practical info im not seeing a lot of or when its there its greek

Just buy an Atmega328. It costs about $4-5 and it is small (the size of the chip on the Arduino)

It can be programmed with an Arduino and has a built in clock generator.

i just look at small toys like balls that flash internal lights when they bounce.

Yeah; I've taken them apart... The "accelerometer" is usually a spring positioned around a wire; when you bounce the ball they make contact. The "microcontroller" is a dedicated "LED Flashing circuit", usually directly mounted on the PCB and covered with a blob of epoxy (and NOT reprogrammable.)(You can do things like that if you make a couple million a year...)

You can control 12 LEDs with as little as 4 pins, using something called "charlieplexing" (Gee... 10years old!) (This could be done on something like the Adafruit Gemma or Trinket boards.) This does mean that the software gets more complicated, though. The advantage of a larger arduino-like board is that you can just connect your 12 LEDs to 12 output pins, and write your software in a very obvious way.

If I understand your requirements right, you don't need MC at all, all you need is 555 timer and decade counter 4017, some resistors and capacitors, total parts value is less than a dollar, in my town 4017 is 25 cents and 555 is 15 cents. If you need frequency to change you can include variable resistor in place of R1 (trimmer or potentiometer) so you can control chasing frequency. Just google electronic roulette circuit and explore one which suits you

Here is an example

another solution: If more than 10 LEDs is a must then you need binary counter 4060(25 cents) and 4to16 decoder like 74HC154(1 dollar). You take O3 O4 O5 and O6 pins from 4060 to decoder input and you get 16 outputs on decoder output, so that would light you up 16 LEds. 4-16 decoder is pretty straightforward piece of hardware, and if you need to learn more about 4060 and how to properly set the RC time constant (chase frequency) here is the link

^^ Microcontroller would be simpler and more flexible

The "classic" 4017 circuits won't do the "increasing frequency" effect that the OP asked for. A microcontroller will do it easily.

thank you everyone who responded. This helped A LOT