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LED Industrial Scene Circuit

Pre-programmed microcontoller for controlling LED special effects

This microcontroller is used to simulate an industrial or rail yard scene on model railroad layouts. It is used to drive LEDS only.

This circuit contains 4 different effects build into the same microcontroller chip. You get 4 related effects all on the same circuit.

The circuit contains:

The microcontroller comes pre-programmed so you don't need any special programmer or progamming experience to build this circuit. Basic soldering skills and components are all that is needed. The microcontroller is in a easy to solder 14 pin DIP package.


Pinout for industrial scene LED circuit

Pin Name Description
VDD +3V to +5V DC supply
MODESEL1 Mode selection pin for configuring operation
MODESEL0 Mode selection pin for configuring operation
RESETb Active low reset
FLICKNEON LED output for flickering neon effect
BLINKNEON LED output for blinking neon effect
EMBER0 Red LED output for glowing ember for barrel fire effect
FLICKER0 Yellow LED output for flickering flame for barrel fire effect
WELDING White LED output for welding effect
GLOWIRON Red LED output for glowing iron/slag on welding effect
NC No Connection. Leave unconnected
VSS Ground

Application notes:

Power supply

The microcontroller runs off 3V to 5V DC only. Using other voltages will destroy the microcontroller. For use with LEDS only. Make sure to provide the proper series resistors for the LEDS to limit the current to less than 20mA each.

You can run this microcontroller circuit off of 2 AA type batteries in series to get 3V operation. However, the preferred method is to run on 5V operation using a voltage regulator , for example the LM7805. Connect the VDD pin to 3-5V DC and the VSS pin to ground. A 0.1uF bypass capacitor is recommended to be placed across the power supply pins to minimize electrical noise.


The RESETb pin is active low. This means that when you connect RESETb to 0V or ground , the device will not operate and all the outputs will be off. For normal operation, RESETb should be connected to the same VDD voltage supply through a 10K ohm 1/4 watt resistor.

Mode Selection

This microcontroller has two mode selection pins that allow you to select different modes of operation by simply connecting the MODESEL pins to either power or ground. This allows you to chose different operating modes without having to use a computer or programmer.

Pulling the MODESEL pin to VDD (power) creates a logic 1. Connecting the MODESEL pin to VSS (ground) creates a logic 0.

The following shows the different operating modes depending if you connect the appropriate MODESEL pin to VDD (power) or VSS(ground).

Neon mostly off and neon mostly on applies only to the flickering neon output. The flickering neon output is designed to simulate a burning out neon sign by occasionally flickering.

Neon mostly off means that it will stay off but from time to time it will flicker like it is trying to turn on.

Neon mostly on means that it will stay on and from time to time flicker off for a few seconds.

Barrel fire random, means that the barrel fire will occasionaly die out and then start back up again slowly.

Barrel fire continuous means that it will always be burning.

MODESEL1 MODESEL0 Operating mode
VSS (0) VSS (0) Neon mostly off, Barrel fire random
VSS (0) VDD (1) Neon mostly off, Barrel fire continuous
VDD (1) VSS (0) Neon mostly on, Barrel fire random
VDD (1) VDD (1) Neon mostly on, Barrel fire continuous


The 6 LED outputs will drive the VDD supply to the LEDS. If you connect VDD to +3V DC , the outputs will drive 3V to the LEDS. If you connect VDD to 5V the outputs will drive 5V to the LEDS.

It is important to select a series resistor for each LED such that the maximum current is limited to less than 20mA. The micorcontroller can handle 20mA per output with a maximum total output of 200mA.

Example circuits

Below is an example circuit showing the typical way to hook up the microcontroller and LEDS. If you choose to remote mount the LEDS, use 22-24ga wire.

C1 is a bypass capacitor that helps to filter out electrical noise in the power going to the microcontroller.

By pulling the MODESEL pins up to VDD via a 10K ohm resistor, you will put a default value of VDD on the MODESEL pin. If you close the switch , it will pull the MODESEL pin to ground (VSS), selecting a different operating mode.

NOTE: The MODESEL pins are only read once when the device first gets power. Switching the value on the MODESEL pins during operation will have no effect. You need to power cycle or reset the microcontroller to select the new mode.

D1 to D6 are the LED outputs. Only use LEDS with this circuit. R4 to R9 should be selected to limit the current in the LEDS to less than 20mA. Note that different color LEDS will have different forward voltages , so R4 to R9 will most likely be different values when using different colored LEDS.

Click for a larger circuit diagram image.

LED industrial scene example circuit

SW2 SW1 Operating mode
Closed (0) Closed (0) Neon mostly off, Barrel fire random
Closed (0) Open (1) Neon mostly off, Barrel fire continuous
Open (1) Closed (0) Neon mostly on, Barrel fire random
Open (1) Open (1) Neon mostly on, Barrel fire continuous
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Page last updated: July 11, 2013.

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