LED Marquee

led marque

[Ben Kokes] put together this guide for building an LED marquee. The design uses two 555 timers plus a bunch of shift registers. The first 555 handles the rate at which the LEDs turn on/off. The second controls how fast the sequence advances. The shift registers cascade through each row of LEDs. Here’s a CoralCDN of the video. The project is pretty simple, but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere. It does fit well with our “LEDs whee!” attitude.

41 thoughts on “LED Marquee

  1. like i say can we not have somthing a bit more intresting other than flashing leds plz love this site but projects that have been shown lately r very boreing and stale dont mean 2 be rude how a boute some new computer hacks or remote model building hacks or cd burning hacks firm wear hacks plzplz thank u urs sincerely mr s.preece

  2. i have to agree with 1, I do really love this stie but it’s getting a little mundane. This one though was acutally kindof cool, allthough it was the first one in the last couple of weeks that really got my attention. Not from a technically aspect, I just really like led stuff.

  3. @steve: Well, write your own bit about that cool hack you did just recently! That’d be great. Man that project was really awesome!

    Ben Kokes, nice job. Start easy and work your way up, that’s my motto. Next up is a programmable LED marquee, get to it!

  4. wtf is with you people, i watched the video and its a clever hack, and i feel somewhat drawn to watch it over and over again. So if you can’t add to this, for example; things you would improve on, problems you had building it, etc…, then please don’t comment.

    And you are not welcome in our hackaday community, go troll over at i-hacked for that.

  5. Hack a day is a great site. They’re much better than Make where all they do all day is post links to crappy instructables. I remember seeing a link to an instructable for a “laptop shade” that was a cardboard box turned on its side with the laptop in it.

  6. What steve fails to see is that it isn’t always about the hack as it is presented, but what one can DO with said information to meet their own nefarious ends.

  7. “Freedom of speech” does not imply that the operator of a server/website must use his machine to assist you in the communication of your free speech. Even if not, you would be free to say as you wish; and we would be free to voice our opinions that the manner you are doing it is disrespectful and the content is not useful.

    Also, this tends to be an area where the respect to use proper english and not childish “1337”-speak with abhorrently poor spelling is appreciated, and failure to put in the effort to communicate effectively in such a manner is sometimes met with rightful annoyance. It really is disrespectful to not put in the effort to use mature english when in a relatively intellectual forum. (provided that it is an english-speaking forum, of course. Otherwise it would just be silly, like me writing this whole post in Lojban.)

  8. Neat hack. I like it a lot.

    Too much effort with the wiring, though. Next time for a project like this you want a wire-wrapping tool, trust me. If Rat Shack still has them in stock, they were only a few dollars last time I bought one. I’m sure you could google for one too.

    Get the manual tool to see how it works for you, then if you like it you can buy the powered one with the slitter (when I was a kid that was not an affordable option for me.)

    While you’re shopping, buy a handful of 16-pin wire wrap sockets to keep around. Really handy things. You should be able to wrap directly to the LED leads and probably the other components, too, but if not you can always plug them into a spare socket and wrap to that.

    I uesd to have a very old CPU that was a set of four large boards that were all rows of wire-wrapped 16-pin chips! The layer of wires was almost half an inch thick on the back. I kept one of the boards; it’s a 16kb RAM board made of wirewound core. I have it hanging in my cube. It’s a work of art.

    Wire wrapping goes amazingly fast. Sometimes old-school still rules.

  9. “i thought the internett was all aboute freedom of speach boy was i wrong”

    indeed… get your own website and you might have a bit of free speach ;)

    “look just whant somthing a bit more intresting than flashing leds whats wrong with that”

    The wrong part was complaining about it here ;) Want something different? ’tis but a google search away. Find something new? you could send in a tip and it might end up here.

    In any case, it’s not too bad :P Not a big fan of rat’s nest wiring, but I’ve done worse in the past :p

  10. you guys can cool your jets over the supposed ‘lame hacks’. Im in the midst of pimping out my wireless router in ways youve never imagined. I should be done within a month :D

    oh and by the way, flashing LED’s are awesome. Except the more colors, the better!

  11. Stop your whining steve

    This website is free to view, and not once have i seen it ask for donations, so techinally your not losing anything by being here, but posting ignorant, stupid comments that nobody really wants to hear makes it less enjoyable for the rest of us..

    By the looks of sites going down with bandwith, Hackaday is fairly popular, so pleasing everybody at once is not possible, some people choose to build a bridge, and others choose to be complete wankers like your last 4 or 5 posts. We do not like your kind.

    Seriously go find a brick wall, and bang your head against it a few times.

  12. wow all this arguing is really childish. Seems to happen with every hack. i happen to like this hack, even if it’s not technically a “hack”. if you don’t like the recent projects here on hackaday, then build something yourself!

  13. Great idea!

    Even though its a simple concept its all some people need to get them started on an LED project. Would be great to see a project like this which takes it all a little further. Such as a ‘Manual Input’ Dart board scorer. which allows you to use the LED array (or even better LCD, but may be too technical for this sort of project) along with some PIC based maths to work out the scores!

    Anyways, Stop bitching and take the project at face value! Every one starts somewhere and need a kick in the right direction sometimes!


  14. That’s a pretty cool project. It’s Strangely mesmerizing. Lots of other uses for it to… getting familiar with shift registers can help you build discrete logic for dealing with serial data (and thus, more involved hacks).

    As for the whiners… If you don’t like what you see do something to change it, submit something you think is a more worthy hack, hack something yourself and submit it. If you have a serious complaint send one of the site admins an email… don’t post comment spam. Not only is it annoying for the rest of us but it’s insulting and rude to the person who’s hack you’re commenting in; it makes you look like a lazy insensitive prick.

    If you put half the time you spent writing complaints in the comments with actually finding new and interesting hacks to submit maybe you wouldn’t have anything left to complain about.

  15. Hello all,
    Thank you for your comments. The constructive and destructive ones are all helpful for my future projects. Yes, the marquee is simple and pretty straight forward in design. The point was to use it as an office sign, and to make it relatively un-modifiable. I didn’t want my friends and co-workers taking a PIC/Microcontroller out of the sign and reprogramming it, or removing wire-wraps. I do appreciate the suggestions though.

    A Note: The last picture on the page is a link to the video. If the hosted video link is offline, just click and view.


  16. aghh.. the point of something like this is to show people they dont need horsepower for something useful. I would bet that if you asked several hackers how to use a shift register, they would look at you funny. It is always important to not forget the humble 74xx and 555 chips out there.

    As a followup suggestion, I am going to contradict myself and post 33 by sugesting another hack using LED arrays. Simplifies wiring, its rather small, and would likely require a small pic.. but would be a fun project.

  17. Ben! Good Job :) Very neat little hack. Could you possibly increase the brightness of the B and K by driving each ‘level’ with a transistor and single current limiting resistor, or even simply redusing the value of the resistors you have used? Cool anyhow.

  18. it was a great hack LED’s rule i can see all the flaming of it if it just sat there but the LED’s chase eachother so its a great hack so “steve” shut up and every one else that is complaning about the hacks on hack a day go out and make your own hack and stop complaning about none.

  19. What I like about things like this is that it gives good ideas for beginner to intermediate level hobbyists. Every single thing on here doesn’t have to be a jet pack or something. An LED marquee is really cool, especially if you make it yourself.

  20. I think it’s pretty cool how you did that by strobbing a couple of 555 times through an array of shift registers. All emergency Vehicle Lighting has turned to LED Lighting. Those run on the same theory with the addition of adding output Transistors to give it a bigger push. Nice Approach.

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