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Shift Register Business Sign

Making a sign to catch customers attention to a survey promotion.

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The sign that I am making is going to be used to remind customers to do a promotional offer on the bottom of their receipt. In total about 60+ leds line the border of the message and right next to the message will be a copy of a receipt with the promotional offer encircled at the bottom.

This project was intended to be coded. However due to the fact that I am fairly new to the world of AVR - C controlling the shift registers was a bit complicated for me.

However not all is lost since this is my first time creating a project out of nothing but IC's and glue logic. Instead of an avr controlling the clock, data, latch. I left it up to a 555 timer to control both latch and clock. For the data I have two options, it is either user data input (via push button), or a default pattern (via second 555 timer).

All the files has been licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0









For now this project will be shelved, I will continue this project once I learn more about programming in AVR. Instead of going through the headache of soldering my own leds one by one, as well as soldering the shift registers and other ICs, I will be using an addressable RGB ledstrip. This along with programming everything with the AVR, will save me a lot of time and will also reduce the space taken up on the sign. For my first time using just logic and hardware it was a great experience!

  • Status Update for V2

    Alvi Ahmed08/11/2017 at 16:07 0 comments

    It has been about a week that the sign was in the shop, it was successful in getting the customers attention however there have been a few downsides: 

    • It is heavy and bulky due to the huge battery pack and perboard 
    • Sometimes it can be a bit finicky, when ever it gets slightly bumped or the wires are touched, the pattern jumps a little bit 
    • drains through power quickly 

    My next plan for this project will be to buy an addressable led or even an RGB led strip and program it with an atmega328p. It has been fun building this whole sign from scratch but the sign is unreliable and doesn't last for long. Hopefully with being able to use a microcontroller and an led strip I will be able to save on power and make everything more stable and less finicky.

  • Showcase V2

    Alvi Ahmed08/11/2017 at 15:43 0 comments

    You may have noticed that in the previous showcase, the leds are very bright. To make this sign more user friendly I added foam on top of the leds in order to diffuse and dim the light. Also everything is now attached to perf board and the result is a small control board for the sign. Unfortunately, my AND gate was damaged so I couldn't use the repeat function for the user input, but the default mode works fine. 

  • Showcase V1

    Alvi Ahmed08/11/2017 at 15:39 0 comments

  • Having a User Input and Default Mode

    Alvi Ahmed07/16/2017 at 21:10 0 comments

    Since I ditched the idea of using an AVR to control leds, I opted to just use a 555 timer to control the clock and latch pins of the shift register and just have the user put in their own patterns via a push button wired up to the data pin.

    To have the pattern constantly repeating, I added an AND gate to the whole circuit. One of the AND gate inputs is wired to high, the other input wired to the last led and the output wired back to data.

    Thus repeating any pattern the user decides to input into the shift register. Since 1 and 0 is 0, and 1 and 1 is one, therefore any bit on the last led will be copied and the value will be sent back to the first serial pin.

    The clear pin is also wired to a push button, so that the user can clear the register whenever they want.   

    There is also a potentiometer wired to the clock and latch timer, to give the user the ability to control the speed of the patterns.

    Off course since this is meant for a business, there may not be enough time for the user to input there own pattern, therefore I added a default setting. I added another 555 timer at a fixed frequency and wired it to the serial pin, therefore adding bits to the shift register at a constant frequency, which will also be able to be repeated as well. 

    The user has the option to be able to switch between user input mode and default mode, via a toggle switch. 

    The whole circuit is powered by 2 AA batteries. 


    For this picture, ignore the transistor since that was a failed attempt in to accomplish something else. The empty ic socket is supposed to be for the AND gate

  • Soldering the LEDS

    Alvi Ahmed07/16/2017 at 20:57 0 comments

    The sign's length is 18 cm and the width is 15cm. I designed the sign in order to house an led per centimeter.

    Therefore in total there will 66 leds on the sign, 15 leds on the width and 18 leds on the length.

    Obviously I am not planning on controlling each led seperately, so to reduce the amount of shift registers I have use/solder, I divided the sign in to two sections.

    One section contains one width and one length of the square, so in total 33 leds will be hooked up to the shift registers.

    4 shift registers with a total of 32 outputs will be used. Instead of just another whole shift register the 33rd led will be soldered to the 32nd led.

    The positive sides of the leds will be connected to opposing led on the opposing side of the sign.

    This is to ensure that as the bits are shifting down the shift register, the display on the sign will look as if the leds are trailing each and seamlessly on all sections.  

    So for example if one bit was travelling down the shift registers, on the display, one led will be lighting up and travelling along one section, while another led will be travelling in the opposite direction on the other section. 


    Each Section includes one length and one width.

  • Creating the foundations of the sign

    Alvi Ahmed07/16/2017 at 20:46 0 comments

    The goal of this project was to create a sign that could catch the customers attention and direct the customers attention to the promotional offer.

    Therefore the sign will have two areas, the main square part where all the leds and the main message will go.

    And a second part off to the side of the main square, which is a bit longer than the message square in order to fit the size of the receipt.

    I made the sign orange in order to match the colours of the company, and I chose blue leds, since blue and orange complement each other. Thus making the sign stand out more. 

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