I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — it’s amazing to me how one thing leads to another in this life. Just a couple of weeks ago, for example, I posted a Cool Beans column on LED Effects with Toggle Switches.

The original idea was to prototype the effects I’ll be using with my Prognostication Engine. Each of the toggle switches and pushbutton switches on this bodacious beauty has two tricolor LEDs associated with it, which provides us with the ability to flaunt our creativity.

But then I started to think. What if we had only a single unicolor LED to accompany each toggle switch (just saying the words “single unicolor LED” brings a little tear to my eye, but I’m trying to be brave). The obvious solution is that if the switch is On or Off, we turn the LED On and Off, respectively. While functional, however, this would be a tad boring; surly we can add a little pizazz.

As a result of my cogitations and ruminations, I’ve started to write a mini-series of articles about these LED effects for my monthly column in Practical Electronics, which is the UK’s premier electronics / computing / maker / hobbyist magazine.

The first of these columns will introduce some of the effects we could implement using a single unicolor LED with our toggle switch (this column will appear in the March 2020 issue, which will hit the streets the first week in February). For your delectation and delight, I’ve launched a Cool Beans Blog YouTube Channel, and I just created this video showing the toggle switch and unicolored LED in action.


In subsequent columns, we will experiment with bicolored LEDs and tricolored LEDs, and also having two LEDs associated with each toggle switch, but we digress…

In a follow-up Cool Beans column, I introduced the LogiSwitch Arduino Uno Workbench Proto-Extender Kit in the context of my Prognostication Engine LED effect experiments. This led to a more in-depth Say “Hello” to the LogiSwitch Workbench column on Altium’s website.

This past weekend, I found myself with a little free time on my hands, so I decided to recreate an experiment that was originally performed by my chum Mike Pelkey, who is the creator of the Workbench board. Mike used his Workbench to drive three breadboards, each carrying nine LEDs. Not to be outdone, I decided to use 15 LEDs on each of my breadboards, giving me a grand total of 45 LEDs.

Yes, of course I created videos and uploaded them to the Cool Beans Blog YouTube Channel. I started with this video in which we connect the Arduino Uno to the breadboards using flying leads.


The problems with flying leads are that (a) things quickly get confusing and (b) when I’m moving stuff around I almost invariably inadvertently pull some of the leads, after which I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out which leads go where. The solution is presented in this video in which we replace the flying leads with one of Mike’s Workbench boards.


The Workbench plugs into the Arduino Uno using standard footprint headers, thereby allowing us to plug more shields on top. The great thing is that the Workbench also brings all of the Arduino’s digital (D0 to D13) and analog (A0 to A5) input/output pins (plus 3V3, 5V, and GND) out to three of the board’s edges, from whence they can be made available to our breadboards. The result is to allow us to drive our 45 LEDs without using a single flying lead.

Even better, the Workbench itself comes equipped with three uncommitted LEDs and three uncommitted tactile momentary pushbutton switches. These switches are debounced using your choice of LogiSwitch.net’s LS18 or LS118 debouncer chips, whose operations are detailed in my recent Quit Bouncing Around column.

So, there you have it — a bunch of columns and a brand spanking new YouTube Channel. Are you as excited about all this as me? (Hint, the answer I’m hoping for is “Yes,” but please feel free to let your creative juices flow in the comments below.)