RGB LED matrix build

RGB LED matrix build

September 28. 2014

I've just ordered the following parts:

  • 5m Adafruit NeoPixel Digital RGB LED Strip - White 30 LED
  • Arduino Uno R3 controller card
  • 5V 10A switching power supply

The plan is to make the prototype of a programmable LED matrix that can be used for my Christmas light competition with my neighbors. Last year was all about scale, this year is about quality and style :) If this works I'm going to scale it up a couple of times.

With 5m and 30 LEDs each meter I will end up with the following dimensions.

  • 8 rows approx 62.5 cm each with 18 LEDs for each row.
  • 18 x 8 LEDS
  • 62 x 24 cm
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October 16. 2014

Unboxing

Monday last week I received all the components via UPS after some delivery problems. First thing to do is to rip the box open and put all the gadgets on the table. I forgot to make an unboxing video, but I promise you it wasn't a great experience. Traditional brown cardboard box with the components securely wrapped in transparent bubble plastic.

First thing I noticed is that the Arduino was smaller than I thought and that 5 meters of led isn't that much.

October 20. 2014

First prototype ready

After a bit of soldering and mounting with gaffa tape this is what I ended up with on my first prototype.

PrototypePrototype

I've done a cross soldering like this. The SDK from Adafruit supports a couple of different ways to put together the led strips. Progressive and zig-zag. For this prototype I've chosen the zig-zag pattern.

    --- row 1 -->
    <-- row 2 --
    --- row 3 -->

SolderingSoldering

First power up

First thing I had to do was to download and install the Arduino software.

Then I had to install the Adafruit libraries for NeoPixels. Remember to add the libraries inside the Arduino software so you're able to use them.

Finally I connected the power supply to the Arduino and the NeoPixel strips, crossed my fingers and powered up my new prototype.

Voila!

First out to test was the example with horizontal scrolling text. I had to rewrite the code so it was more flexible.

Horizontal scrollHorizontal scroll

Next out was the theater cycle example. This has been used without any modification.

Theater cycleTheater cycle

Same with the rainbow effect.

RainbowRainbow

All nice effects but what is christmas without snow? Nothing! I just had to create a snow function from scratch.

SnowSnow

The next effect out was the vertical text scroll.

Vertical scrollVertical scroll

And the last function so far is the show bitmap. This function is based on the examples from Adafruit.

HeartsHearts

To be continued...

PS! If you have any ideas about cool effects please share with me in the comments below. I'm currently thinking about the Christmas play list :)