Struggling to figure it all out

Hi guys, i was looking for some help from some more experienced people as im hopeless with electronics, im just gonna shout out what im aiming to do, hopefully someone will take the challenge to help me get my head around it (or at least point me in the right direction)

what i am trying to build is a relay controller with an LCD screen and LED's to show you whats activated and whats not...

it's for the dash of my race buggy/sand rail (an Edge Barracuda)

i need a large backlit LCD screen to display the status of a few things..

Lights Door (reed switch) Relay which is wired up to my modified Go-Pro Helmet camera to record all the carnage. starter relay Fan RPM (maybe a engine temp sensor would be handy too)

so basically, i want five buttons on the dash, with status LED's just above, when you turn the ignition on they're red, and that specific button is pressed, it turns green.

obviously when i press the lights button, i want them to stay on, and when i press the button again, it turns them off. but when i press the starter button, it will only stay on for the same time that i'm pressing it.

the five buttons need to be...

Lights (push-on, push-off) 12v 240mA Door Latch(momentary) 12v 400mA Camera(push-on, push-off) 12v 350mA Starter(momentary) 12v 240mA Fans (push-on, push-off) 12v 240mA

thats about it, i have no idea where to even start, ANY help at all would be much appreciated, thanks. :)

my Email address is

Hi Shane,

Your project appears to be reasonable to start out even without much knowledge about programming and electronics. Just work through a few tutorials to give you the basics:

Blink: so you get anything going and learn how to turn on led. Later extend it to more Led to learn about curent limiting resistors. For added benefit you can play around with dual-coloured or RGB led. Button: to learn about input and how to read the button state. Next step is to learn about debouncing. Solenoid / relay: How to connect a relay. Here you'll learn about why you need a transistor and protection diodes.

Once you have tried those out on your kitchen table and things do what you want, you can start off it have a first try with your buggy. Perhaps start with the helmet camera or whatever.

After that you can think about Getting the light status, attaching a display etc. But better leave those decision for later when you know the basics a little better. If you need to attach many led, you might need some way to multiplex the ports (either shift register or a dedicated led driver chip). But at this point, you'll be along far enough to work through those tutorials too.

To sum it up, take it slowly, figure out the tutorials that seem relevant and take your time. This will give you better and quicker results than rushing it.