New to Arduino but I think it can power my project

I am building a set of fountains in my yard and would like to put some wow factors into them. I am wanting to put in RGB LED lighting, maybe as many as 4-6 channels of them, and would like to be able to mix from one color to another.. and would like to strobe a couple of channels to the music that is playing. I would also like to be able to control the pumps, and a servo motor to cut off some of the jets from time to time, while the others still remain....

It would be nice if it could be controlled by a RF remote....

So that brings me to my question, what board would be right for me.. I know that there are add on boards to do what I need to do (motor control...and so on...) But I would like to start by controlling the LED's (1G 1R 2B) so that I could make up to the theoretical 16 million colors?

So to get to my question, which board is right for me?

So to get to my question, which board is right for me?

Actually any and all Arduino boards will work to get started. Start with a standard Uno board if your not sure and you can always buy a mega board later if you want/need more output pins or need larger memory space. Many people us a Arduino board for development/testing/prototyping and then for the final construction build a standalone version using a AVR chip into their final project.


Ok I am getting ready to order what I think that I need. I am going to go with the Uno like you suggested, in order to get started on working with the LED color changing is there something else I should get?

What part of CA are you in?.. I am near Sac.

Ok, what you said makes sense until you got to the part about AVR chip?..LOL

The main component on a Arduino board is the micro-controller chip made by ATMEL and is in their AVR series of 8 bit processors. The most common one used is the 328. Here is one source of a replacement chip ready to plug into a standard board or used in a standalone DIY board:

What part of CA are you in?.. I am near Sac.

Hercules, East Bay near the Carquinez bridge


If you want to go wireless, you can do what I have done - your main board, Uno/Mega/whatever that will control the lights & motors & whatnot will have a receiver on it like the MO-RX3400, WRL-08950 RX from spark fun, and then have something like a promini with a keypad and a transmittter MO-SAWR, WRL-08946 TX. Depending on distance, you can use a 8 MHz 3.3V promini and 3.7V LiPo battery (I added a max1811 to control recharging it).
The Rx/Tx are inexpensive (<$10 total) and easy to implement with virtual wire

You can also do a lot with a promini as the receiver arduino also. I have a duemilanove stuck on a clipboard with some solderless breadboards for prototyping, and I build prominis into my projects.
When I run out (am working my way thru 12 or 16 of them that I purchased from I may switch over to ardweeny’s or RBBB’s to save a few dollars as I don’t use any shields and build up my own additional circuitry.

My RF remote, all wirewrapped, 1000mAH LiPO battery tiewrapped to the bottom of the board, prior to the MAX1811 charge control chip being added.
Started with the “simple remote for granny” posted here a while ago, and modified from there.
Thinking about changing to a 20 key keypad I found towards the bottom of this page

Ok will just the Uno board be able to handle the mixing of the LED’s? Do I get 1 blue, 1 red and 1 green and the board mixes to get the colors that I want, or do I need a add on board to mix and control the LED’s?

What is commonly done is to use a PWM outpin for each LED color (with appropriate current limiting resistor) and then drive the LEDs directly. If you want a big collection of LEDs to turn on then you can wire the LEDs in multiple parallel columns with a higher voltage and have the arduiono drive an NPN or N-channel MOSFET transistor, let the transistor handle the higher voltage & current like I did at the uppper right of this schematic - 20 LEDs in 4 columns of 5 each, 1 drive transistor, 1 arduino pin to turn the transistor on & off.