Build a 32x32 LED matrix using an Atmega2560 microcontroller. The project contains the steps to build the matrix board, the PCB and the software (written in C++). The software contains over 30 animations, a RTC (real time clock), and a text display routine. By using the Atmega2560, no shift registers are needed. The circuit uses the ULN2803A and MIC2981 to drive the LEDs.
Step 1: Skill Level and Basic Tools
This is not an ideal 'first build' and it requires some soldering experience particularly with SMC components. It also requires a lot of time and patience. A basic knowledge of digital electronics is important. This is my first Instructable - I’ll try to include enough detail to make the assembly straight forward while avoiding too many opinions and comments.
The most challenging part is soldering the 100 pin Atmega2560 to the Schmartboard daughterboard. Using the Schmartboard makes it a lot easier that soldering it directly to a PCB. These guys have made several YouTube videos to show you how it works – more on that later.
You should be proficient at soldering and have a decent solder station with a couple of different tips. You will get lots of practice assembling the matrix! You will need a couple of different tips for your iron - a normal 1.6mm or similar for the LEDs and a .2mm tip for the Atmega and the SMCs.
You should know how to use a Digital VOM to help diagnose problems.
Programming – The source code for the project is C++. C was not my native language - I am an old school FORTRAN and PL/1 programmer – the C++ routines are probably not the most efficient or well-designed programs, but they work. The development environment was AVR Studio 5. The hex, source and makefile files are in the download section. You can load the hex file and not need to do any programming!