LED Controller


My brother works as a technician in a theater and needed some LEDs for lightning effects. As i know a bit about electronics, i looked into my parts bin and found a TLC5940 chip, which is a LED drivrer for up to 16 LEDs with PWM control. This chip is really easy to connect, it talks over serial with a microcontoller and only needs one current limiting resistor for all those LEDs.

So i made a small board for it, with the neccessary connections and pins to put it as a shield on a Arduino. You can see a few pictures of that here:

The big black chip is the LED driver, the plugable resistor controls the maximum current through the LEDs, and the pin headers connect to the Arduino board. I was missing connectors for all those LED-cables so i soldered them directly to the board, and to make it more durable, i printed a strain-relief for those cables.

The Arduino and the additional shield also got a nice printed case, which you can see here:

This box is closed off, with a nice cover with the name of my brother on it. Its very nice to have a 3D printer, no need for those ugly project boxes anymore :-)

A little program on the Arduino can now control the state and intensity of all those LEDs. This got even easier as i thought, because there is already a Arduino library for this TLC5940 chip. So i only needed to include the correct header, call the init function and send LED values to the driver. A little example:

#include "Tlc5940.h"
void setup()
   // Init LED driver

   //set some LEDs
   Tlc.set(0, 4000); // LED 1 is (nearly) full on
   Tlc.set(1, 2000); // LED 2 is half on
   Tlc.set(2, 0);    //LED 3 is off
void loop()

So now i hope my brother likes this and it gets some nice use in the theater.

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