Is the Arduino board right for my project?

Hello, I’m new to programming and electrical, but i have a project idea that i want to try for my engineering class in my high school (I’ve been working in mechanical engineering mostly). I’m trying to make one of those fancy Daft Punk helmets, and what i need help with is both wiring and programming (my teacher has no experience in electrical engineering and can’t help me out… it sucks). So let me outline the project:

A five-by-twenty matrix of red LED lights. I want to be able to program them to say words, and maybe other patterns that scroll across the grid. (Just a thought, would it be helpful to have the LEDs that turn on in the first row automatically go to the next after a set time, and form the next one to the right, after that set time, keep on going down the line? I figure that way i would only have to program one column of five and it would automatically scroll… Is that possible? Useful?)

Now, as I said, I have no idea what to do for any of this, and before i purchase a board, I want to know if that would be a move that can get me to my project’s goal.

Any input on this would be greatly appreciated–I’m at a loss when it comes to this kind of stuff.

It is possible, and if you’ve never worked with programming, the Arduino IDE seems to be made for you!

You are going to have some interesting challenges. The biggest one is that you indivisually want to control 100 LEDs. The duminalove has 20 IO pins and the MEGA has 70 IO pins, so you are going to need to use a shift register to multiplex or a LED driver (you can read up on these on the Arduino playground, there are tons of examples there).

If you think the external hardware is beyond you, or learning about them would take too long, see if you can reduce your matrix size to something like a 5x12 matrix and then use the MEGA board. If you do choose to go this path, the only additional hardware you will need are the LEDs and the resistors for them.

Also, the scrolling can be done in software and is fairly easy. If you decide to get with the Arduino and get all your harware sorted out, the code is super simple. If you have any problems with the code you’d be abelt o get tons of help on this forum

good luck!

It’s probably easiest to use a matrix configuation for the LEDs. You can drive your 20x5 LEDs as a matrix with 25 IO pins, so you would need an Arduino mega to do it without external hardware.

Or if you can visualize it, imagine every two columns in your display as a single 10-LED column electronically – just broken into two physically. Then you would need 20 IO pins, so you could get away with a classic Arduino.