Wiring an Arduino with one button and one LED

A basic assignment you may want to do with your students is the wiring of an LED to a button. This helps to illustrate the flow of electricity, shows them how to use a button and gives the a little control over the circuit. As simple as it is, they’ll enjoy being able to see the LED light up when they click the button. You can challenge those students that are ahead of the group to help others with their wiring or to try wiring up two, three, four or more LEDs.

To start you’ll need to get your Arduino and the power/ground wires. This is pretty much the same for all projects. You’re going to always need a way to power up and ground the breadboard.

one led one button (1)As usual you will plug the power (red cable) into the +5V on the Arduino board and into the + column on the breadboard. The ground (black cable) gets plugged into the GROUND on the Arduino (there are 3 holes for this) and into the – column on the breadboard.

one led one button (2)

Once you’ve wired up the board for power you will need to find a button. Notice the button cross over the middle well/space in the breadboard. This is to ensure the top two prongs of the button don’t receive power/ground. There are two other things you will need besides the button. You will need a resistor wired from the +’ve row (or column, depending on the orientation of your unit) to the left-most prong on the button. This helps to ‘resist’ the flow of energy going to the button and ensures you don’t burn out the LED when the button is pressed.  You also need to wire up power from the right most prong of the button to power up the LED.

one led one button (4)

one led one button (5)

Once you’ve wired up the power to the resistor to the button and then a power wire you need to add in the LED. Plug the long prong of the LED into the same column as the red wire from the button is plugged in to.

one led one button (6)


You can see the flow of electricity from the breadboard’s +’ve, to the resistor and then to the button. Electrical flow stops until the button is pressed down. Pressing the button down allows the electricity to flow to the LED.

one led one button (7)To complete the circuit the LED needs to be grounded. This can be accomplished by wiring up the shorter prong of the LED to the -‘ve ground row on the breadboard.one led one button (8)

With the LED grounded you can click the button and see the LED come on.

one led one button (9)

This tutorial only covered the wiring aspect of this project. There is also some coding that is necessary. A tutorial on the coding of this will be provided shortly.

If you’ve got any questions, comments or suggestions as to how I can make this tutorial better please send me an email or comment below.

Have a great day!



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