Arduino 8×8 LED Screen

Last year (March 2012), one of my colleagues at work was showing off his awesome automatic driving RC car project. He introduced me to Arduino and showed me where to get it. I got the SparkFun Arduino Starter Kit with a multimeter. It comes with lots of little components and a bunch of tutorials.

The tutorials were a great start, but honestly I quickly got bored. For me, the best way to learn is to just get my hands dirty and think about issues as they occur. YouTube is full of great Arduino projects, so I quickly found something I wanted to make: A 8×8 LED screen that I could potentially expand and make mini games for. At this point, I probably couldn’t even explain what Voltage, Amperage or Resistance was, but I’d just learn on-the-go.

I found a similar project on Instructables so it was easy to figure out what components were needed. I ordered them from various websites like: Hobby Tronics, Cool Components and Rapid Online.

Here are some work in progress shots. It took about 2 months to complete, but most of that time was spent waiting for components to get delivered.

After all the soldering, most of the work was C++ code, but for me that was the easy bit! You can browse it on GitHub if you’re interested.


And there you have it, a retina display for the Arduino! (viewing distance 100 meters). Finally getting it to work was an awesome awesome feeling :)

Eventually, I wanted to expand the screen to a 24×16 matrix (adding 5 more of the same blocks), but noticed I was going to need a separate power supply. All the power was currently coming directly from the Arduino, which is just enough to drive 64 leds. Adding more, would mean I needed to change the circuit layout, or add a whole new breadboard.

So I decided to park this project and move on to more exciting things. It was a great learning process though, 10/10 would recommend!

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