8×6 Matrix Shield



After getting a couple of flashing lights working on a microprocessor, the next fun project is generally building some kind of Matrix.  At first I built a 5×5 LED matrix which was relatively simple to solder together.  When trying to make one much larger, the task because significantly more complex.  That’s when I decided to build a LED Matrix Shield for the Arduino which did not use Charliplexing, like the LoL shield.  I wanted something that was simpler to understand and (ultimately) code for.  Unfortunately, 5mm LEDs means 8 columns x 6 rows, instead of the traditional 8×8.

This is a quick video demonstrating the LED Matrix Shield for the Arduino.  This Matrix is an 8×6 “Normal” matrix.  (It is not Chairleplexed.)  Blue LEDs were used to give it a brilliant hue and to provide another source of light in dimly lit apartment homes.  Only one row of the Matrix is lit up at one time.  This is done to save power and because the ATMega processor of the Arduino cannot source or sink more than 200mA of current.

Update 10/6/2012:  Project page now available.

The scrolling message can be any string of characters between ASCII 32 and 255. The font is a 8×6 font based on 5×7 characters.  Click below to see a picture of the Shield sitting on top of an Arduino.

The PCB for my very first Arduino shield arrived today from BatchPCB. At first glance everything looks good. The silkscreen with my name and web address didn’t come out so well but that was probably my fault on trying to fit in too much.

Looking forward to assembling then with some Blue LEDs!