Picaxe exercises: control LEDs and learn the basics

You can do a lot with a single LED. We let them shine and learn more about pins, programming with BASIC and how signals are passed on.

Instead of void() and pointer arithmetic, Picaxe-BASIC also offers complete beginners understandable commands with many functions for controlling hardware. Our series shows how easy it is, explaining the software, hardware, and commands required to do it. This makes programming your own projects even easier than with the Arduino-C.

  • Picaxe exercises: control LEDs and learn the basics
  • Getting Started with Picaxe: Preparations for Programming
  • The board for the series: Nano-Ax with PICAXE-08M2
  • As a printed booklet: Make PICAXE Special 2020
  • Picaxe course forum
  • More Picaxe course tips


For our project we need the Nano-Axe board, the Picaxe chip and a USB cable as well as a computer with the Picaxe software for programming. Then you need to use a simple program to check whether everything actually works. When tinkering with hardware, you usually let an LED light up for this – an extra LED is therefore installed on the Nano-Axe-Board.

With this exercise you can kill several birds with one stone. If the LED flashes at the end, all components are OK, communication between the computer and the chip is working and all commands have been entered correctly in the program. You have also mastered the basic principle of programming and can start trying out your own ideas. If the LED stays dark, on the other hand, you have to look for the cause. And while that may seem frustrating, you can learn a lot by checking for possible sources of error.

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On the software side, we only need a few lines of code to light up the LED. Also on the hardware side, no further components and circuits are necessary, since we use an LED on the Nano-Axe board.