Starting with Arduino mini: Rc car + led kit

Goodday people! At first I want to introduce myself. I am Ricardo Smits, 20 years old and live in the Netherlands. I don't have any experience with arduino but this is hopefully my first project. My favorite hobby is radio controlled drifting:

These cars are in 1:10 scale and have an brushless motor.

The body you see in the first picture is a skyline R32. We spent a lot of time in the details for these bodies, and one of those are the lights. (I guess that you all can see where this is going). We have special lightbuckets which can hold multiple 3mm and 5mm leds. Normally i use an standard light kit that I can buy (photo beneath) which has an button to switch between different flashing modes. The only thing is, this thing is limited in flashing modes. I have been reading a lot about arduino, and I really want to give it a shot.

because the car i have is quite small, I want to use the arduino pro mini if it is possible. So in a nutshell, i want to have:
-a max of 20 leds (or 10 pairs of 2 leds)
-different flashing modes for the leds. (not all leds have to flash, but perhaps there are some existing databases that i can use to start from?)
-going through the modes wireless using my transmitter. My receiver and transmitter have an 3rd channel, called the aux channel. It can be used to switch light kits on and off. I have used this with succes on the standard light kit using an receiver controlled switch:

I don't know if i will need this with arduino, or if arduino can recognize the signals from my receiver, but it gives me some options i guess. Can you guys tell me if my ideas are possible? And is it possible with the pro mini or do i need an different version? powering it with 5v is not a problem, since this can be done through the receiver. I know, its a lot off newbie questions but when looking at the forums I am really submerged with info. I am reading through it but I guess I only get more questions haha

Thanks for the help in advance!

Ricardo :wink:

You need to find out what the signal on the aux channel is. That voltage and what encoding.


The aux channel on the receiver will surely be outputting a standard 50Hz servo PWM signal, and an Arduino can decode that.

If you ant to control many LEDs then I think your options are to control each one separately from an Arduino output pin, or connect them as a matrix and use a small number of pins to flash them individually (relies on persistance of vision; each LED will only flash on briefly) or use a shift register to increase the number of outputs available from the Arduino so you can control more LEDs individually. (If you want to control a huge number of LEDs you could combine both techniques - use shift registers to provide lots of pins, then use those to control a huge matrix. Whichever approach you need, you'll need a simple driver circuit for each LED; the Arduino will control the LEDs but not power them directly.