Home LearningBasics Interfacing the 74HC595

Interfacing the 74HC595

by shedboy71

Sometimes in your projects you simply do not have enough I/O lines available, take for example a lot of the multiple LED examples, these use 8 outputs to control 8 LEDs via your Arduino UNO, that can restrict the amount of outputs you would have available to drive other devices. Instead of this we can use a shift register, in this case a 74HC595 and using 3 I/O pins we can control 8 LED's, thats a saving of 5 I/O pins for other uses.

You can use it to control 8 outputs at a time while only taking up a few pins on your microcontroller. You can link multiple registers together to extend your output even more. The 74HC595 has an 8 bit storage register and an 8 bit shift register. Data is written to the shift register serially, then latched onto the storage register. The storage register then controls 8 output lines

Lets look at the 74HC595

595 pin diagram

595 pin diagram

PINS 1-7, 15 Q0 to Q7 Output Pins
PIN 8 GND Ground, Vss
PIN 9 Q7″ Serial Out
PIN 10 MR Master Reclear, active low
PIN 11 SH_CP Shift register clock pin
PIN 12 ST_CP Storage register clock pin (latch pin)
PIN 13 OE Output enable, active low
PIN 14 DS Serial data input
PIN 16 Vcc Positive supply voltage usually 5v

This is a link to the 74HC595 datasheet


This is the schematic on how to control the 74HC595 from your Arduino and how to wire up 8 sets of LEDs to the 74HC595.

  • DS (pin 14) to Arduino DigitalPin 4 (yellow wire)
  • SH_CP (pin 11) to to Arduino DigitalPin 6 (purple wire)
  • ST_CP (pin 12) to Arduino DigitalPin 5 (orange wire)
595 shift register schematic

595 shift register schematic


In this example we will simply display a random value on the LEDs, this will also show how to generate a random number.


int latchPin = 5;
int clockPin = 6;
int dataPin = 4;
long randNumber;

void setup() {
//set pins to output so you can control the shift register
pinMode(latchPin, OUTPUT);
pinMode(clockPin, OUTPUT);
pinMode(dataPin, OUTPUT);

void loop()
randNumber = random(1, 255);
// take the latchPin low so
// the LEDs don't change while you're sending in bits:
digitalWrite(latchPin, LOW);
// shift out the bits:
shiftOut(dataPin, clockPin, MSBFIRST, randNumber);
//take the latch pin high so the LEDs will light up:
digitalWrite(latchPin, HIGH);
// pause before next value:


10PCS SN74HC595N

30pcs SN74HC595N 8 Bit Shift Register


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