I have a few arcades and pinballs that I enjoy as a hobby and have repaired over the years, but admittedly my knowledge of raw electronics is only a step above novice. I do have extensive experience as a programmer, so my interest in the Arduino’s comes really from that end and a strong interest in trying to learn the other half of it.
I came up with a neat idea to build a coffee table with a glass top that beneath contains an old pinball playfield with all the targets, flippers, bumpers, etc… still intact, but all the electronics and wiring have been stripped from beneath. What I would like to do is run LEDs to all the old lamp sockets and use code to simulate a random on/off pattern for the lights – the latter of which I have no problem coding up.
There are roughly 50 lamps on the playfield. I have purchased a lot of warm-white LEDs to best mimic the old incandescent bulbs and appropriate resistors. I have read there are ways to control their brightness digitally by tricking the eyes with the on duration, but I’d rather just use an appropriate resistor for each LED from the get go and simply send an on/off signal to each LED for the duration I wish to have it lit.
My question is rather one of power. Since this is a free-standing coffee table, I was hoping to avoid running a power cord to an outlet. I bought an Audrino mega (still enroute) because of its vast number of pins and my thought was that each LED/resistor would go to a pin. What I don’t know is how much current draw there will be. If we say roughly 20mA for an LED, then a 4 pack of AA batteries (~2000 mAH) to supply the voltage would give me roughly 100 hours of “on” time. However, is this the wrong thinking and that 50 LEDs would be added up and use 1A total and run my batteries dry in just a couple hours?