How Shift Registers Work

How Shift Registers Work
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Kevin Darrah explains how those clever shift registers can trigger 8 LEDs with just two pins. [via Anton Olsen]

8 thoughts on “How Shift Registers Work

  1. chuck says:

    OK I’m a bit of a noob with some stuff. Can someone give a few examples of real world applications of this circuit? Once I see how it works to actually do something I’ll understand a little better.

  2. Justinius says:

    Well the first use would be to convert serial data to parallel for processing. SPI or I2C comes in and has to be worked on. So you can latch the data into one of these and read it out as whole bytes. Arithmetic and Logic Units (ALUs) would use the shift register for its ROT commands, in multiplication, and then dump to the data bus as parallel.

  3. Adrian says:

    The most common real-world application for a hobbyist would be to drive lots of outputs from an arduino or similar without using up all your I/O pins.

    e.g. you could have a dozen sets of Christmas lights that you want to sequence and a bunch of sensors to activate them, but you wouldn’t have enough pins on a regular arduino board to hook them all up. Instead you connect them to a shift register (or two, or three…) and the arduino sends commands to the register to turn them on and off.

    There are also registers that work the other way around, so you can have extra inputs as well!

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