LED Matrix Kit

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

A new spin on a great kit. Have you ever seen the dot-matrix displays that can display letters, numbers, or even icons Once you know the basics for how to display something on one matrix, you can daisy-chain the Maxim Max7219 ICs and LED matrices to display a greeting, the time, a count-down, or a scrolling statement. Besides needing some

LED Matrix Kit
Click here to download the full size of the above Circuit.

kind of microcontroller, such as the Arduino Nano v3. 0, you will also need an LED driver chip to communicate to the LED dot-matrix display. Depending on the size of the matrix you are using, you may use all of the I/O pins of the microcontroller, but you might not have any available pins for other sensors or devices. Using an LED driver IC is a much more efficient use of I/O pins and will only require three I/O pins on the microcontroller. The Max7219 is a serial input/output common-cathode display driver that can either control a 7-segment numeric display of up to 8 digits, bar-graph displays, or 64 individual LEDs. This is perfect for our 8x8 LED dot-matrix display because there are 64 individual LEDs. As shown in the wiring diagram above, there are 16 connections to make between the LED matrix and the LED driver chip. The matrix included in the kit is of the anode-row/cathode-column variety. Alternatively, you could make your own matrix with 64 LEDs as Collin briefly demonstrates in the video. You can also see there are only three wires to connect to the Arduino Nano. To make all of this work together harmoniously, it will take some elegant programming. Thankfully, some people were nice enough to write a Max7219 library for the Arduino; it`s called LedControl and is available for download as a (. zip) file. Basically, the LedControl library tells the Arduino how to communicate with the Max72XX ICs. Once you`ve...

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