remote controlling LED display/status panel?


I'm interested in having a LED display panel in the kitchen that I can write to via a custom program on my PC (that I write). It could either be say (a) simple panel of LEDs which I label myself for each one, each one representing the status of certain thing, or (b) an LED display that might consist of 10 characters say that you could set to be whatever you want from your program.

Question - Is there an Arduino device that I would use to accomplish there? That is is there a remote LED display that exists that could be written to from my PC program (e.g. VB, Java, C etc). The panel/display could could be connected to my PC via either a wired connection (through the ceiling) or otherwise (e.g. wireless).

Regards Greg

You could do this with any arduino device, it is just a matter of wiring up the external hardware display drivers and writing the program to drive the LED. Have a google search for ' arduino LED matrix'

just did the search - there seems to be lots of options and hardware types available - I'll dig in, but can I ask for some advice re what the most basic models/types would be to start looking at for my purpose, so:

a) Arduino PC USB module (i.e. that stays connected to my PC, so that my PC program can send the on/off commands to my remote unit) - also what software/SDK would I use on the PC? Would it be a C program? So the software on the module wouldn't be very smart but merely pass on the requests that my own software running on the PC works out (in fact it would be a home automation system picking up X10 inputs from remote X10 sensors)

b) Arduino RF add on for PC USB module - to remotely send

c) Arduino RF receiving model for remote end

d) Arduino Remote end module with either (a) several on/off pin outputs to drive individual LEDs, or (b) interface to an LED display (e.g. 4 character display for example). So this device would just need to know how to receive what the display needs to show, and then drive the display to show it. So it wouldn't be very smart so to speak

e) Arduino LED display (for option b above)

Does this make sense in terms of my interpretation of what I'd require to get things working here?


a) Any software will do, all it has to do is talk to the serial port. A popular choice is Processing, it is free and has a very arduino like UI and syntax.

b) For RF if you want two way communications you are best with an Xbee system.

c) See above.


So it wouldn't be very smart so to speak

well it would have enough to do, any arduino will cope.

Does this make sense

Yes but refine the bit about the RF.

So just double checking re hardware if I got:

So one Arduino & Xbee would be the remote unit. The other Arduino (with Xbee) would be plugged into my home PC all the time.

Have I got it correct?

You don't need the arduino on the PC's Xbee board you can connect an Xbee module direct to your PC:-

thanks - now I'm getting across Arduino a bit I'm wondering whether I should try to use it for all the requirements I was trying to fulfil - I've posted this at in a separate question if you're interested in having a look