Design assistance required for a complex LED flasher

Thread Starter


Joined Mar 11, 2012
Hi Folks,

I started out life as an electronics engineer 35+ years ago. But for the last 30 years I have been in computing (primarily networking). So my knowledge of electronics today is just a little rusty.

I am seeking help to design a suitable circuit for use in modelling. My mate and I primarily model SCI-FI. The circuit we are looking for will enable us to light our models.

What we require is a fairly small layout (ideally no bigger than 2cm by 2cm) that can, strobe, flash and flicker LEDs'. The LEDs are mounted throughout various parts of the model and connect back

For example On our Millenium Falcons, we need to be able to:
Strobe 6 sets of 2 LEDs (red & green)
Flash 6 LEDs (white)
Flicker 14 LEDs (orange) (for the engines)

Ideally it would be great if the timing of each could be adjustable.

Any help, suggestions or full on designs would be greatly appreciated. We do have the ability to make our own PCBs. Please fell free to ask for more details.



Joined Apr 30, 2011
This would be a good application for a microcontroller. Of course it could be done with hardware but with that many outputs and effects it would be easier with a microcontroller.


Joined Apr 2, 2009
I think I have the same thing some where here.

Can you show a graphical explanation of what u wanna do. it's pretty easy to flash LED's with PIC's u know

U can use a microchip for that purpose. It will make everything a whole lotta easy and small.


Joined Apr 24, 2011
I built a LED controller inside a metal tube smaller then the metal end of a pencil. From 10 to 28V it gives the same brightness as an incandescent lamp it is replacing.

It's built on a PIC12HV615. The important part of the part number there is the HV, meaning it makes it's own 5V to run on from a higher voltage. The LED was either on or off at a constant current and controlled by a transistor.

So my questions back are is a PIC micro controller good for you? What voltage will it run off? How many LEDs will it run at the same time?

Keep in mind if you use a micro you can make 1 push button (small black post or tiny hole for a pin) turn it on and off... even turn it on for some time and then turn itself off.


Joined Aug 7, 2008
For me [ programming illitorate] , would use the ever faithfull 555 IC which can give adjustable indipendent on & off time & with drivers can controll any number of LEDs. For flickering there is the flickering LED which can be used as signal source to drive again any number of LEDs, but not adjustable?? Specs on various contiplated LEDs would be helpfull, as would def. of strobe & flash. Sounds interesting.

John P

Joined Oct 14, 2008
This would be so easy with a PIC processor. You could drive the LEDs directly off the processor pins, and conserve pins by setting them up in a matrix form. You could even have a serial port coming in on 2 tiny wires, and command whatever flash rate or sequence you want, and store it in on-chip memory so it would be there the next time you run the system, so you wouldn't need the serial port full-time. That's all assuming you've got the software in place to make it happen!


Joined Feb 14, 2010
I agree with John. It would be "relatively" easy to do with a microcontroller. You could also add such niceties as (a) smooth fades, (b) Sony SIRC remote control, etc. Caveats; fitting a μC, a regulator, and headers for the LEDs might be a tight squeeze on a 2cm x 2cm board.

Cheerful regards, Mike

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