Please show me how to achieve REALLY BRIGHT COLORED LIGHTS with Arduino & LEDs?

Hi Forum,

I am using Arduino and Async's WiShield to grab RGB color codes from a website, and then light up my single red, green, and blue LED on the Arduino. Everything works great thanks to some awesomely helpful people on this forum. Now, I am at the point where I just want to MAGNIFY the brightness from the Arduino board, so that instead of just 1 red, 1 green, and 1 blue LED, I want to quintuple the brightness. How do I do this? What is the best way?

Do I get 5 reds, 5 greens, and 5 blue LEDs and wire them together? If so, how do I do this considering that my WiShield might be subject to the following pin limitations: http://shieldlist.org/asynclabs/wishield-v2

Currently, I am using pins 3,5, and 6, for red, green, and blue. Any guidance on how I can quintuple the brightness would be greatly appreciated. I will encase my Arduino in a frosted glass orb from IKEA later...so any tips on diffusion for a "solid color" look would also be appreciated once I successfully quintuple the brightness. Thank you Arduino Forum!

Getting fivetimesthe brightness is not just a matter of having five LEDs, this is because the eye's response is logarithmic so you need more than just five. To get more you need to use a transistor to drive more LEDs from the same pin. Each needs it's own resistor.

styrofoam works well for an interesting diffusion effect, the thin flexible stuff. careful not to set anything on fire...

Hi Grumpy Mike,

Thank you for your response. I am embarrassed to admit that I don't know what a transistor is. Arduino is pretty much my one and only introduction to electronics, so I am learning everything for the first time.

So far I have 3 resistors that precede each of the red, green, and blue LEDs. Do you think you can outline how I need to "use a transistor to drive more LEDs from the same pin"? I really need to start from the beginning. Thank you.

here is a good example of driving multiple LED's with a transistor. http://www.arduino.cc/playground/uploads/Learning/multiple_leds2.jpg

i searched on google for 'arduino transistor LED' and found some good information.

here is another spot for lots of tutorials. http://www.freeduino.org/

so the idea is to use a transistor as a 'switch' because a transistor can handle a lot more power going through it. the arduino controls the 'on/off' of that switch, so you control the transistor, and the transistor powers the LED's. the 'on/off' of the transistor is the "base"

Hmm, ok. It will take me a good amount of time to process all of this info. Thanks.

also rather than multiple led's maybe you would want to pick up something like this http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-3W-Star-High-Power-RGB-LED-Lamp-Beads-30-45LM-350mA-/160582419768?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2563754538#ht_2878wt_952 ? You would still need to use a transistor though, this would pull too much power for the arduino pins to handle.

You can treat an LED / resistor the same way as any other load. For example this link shows how to turn on a relay with a transistor but it could equally well be an LED / resistor as the load:- http://www.thebox.myzen.co.uk/Workshop/Motors_1.html

Iggy and Mike,

Thanks for those ideas and links. I am reading up on transistors...and that myzen website has a lot of good & interesting tutorials as well! Perfect for someone like me learning this stuff for the first time. Hopefully I'll "get it" in the next few days and begin to ask more direct, pointed, and technical questions. Thanks for the guidance!