Introduction: Colorduino Scrolling Text: More Characters!
In this instructable you're going to learn how to do scrolling text on a RGB LED Matrix using the colorduino board from iTead studios. The colorduino is basically a RGB LED Matrix driver that takes a lot of the work out of driving LED Matrixes. In a combination with different libraries it is really easy to create cool effects and graphics with it. Its an inexpensive project and fun to play around with :).
Step 1: Parts
This project does not require many external components.
RGB LED Matrix
- (this is the cheapest and the one I use) Ebay
- (Available from colorduino site) iTead
FTDI or Arduino
Male to Male
- Australian Robotics
The arduino IDE installed and basic knowledge of uploading sketches.
Step 2: Wiring the Colorduino
The next step is to upload the attached code to the colorduino. To do this you can either use an FTDI adapter or another arduino. Since my FTDI adapter was broken i used my arduino to upload the code. This is good if you want put an Atmega328 chip into a breadboard and be able to program it. This method only works if you have an arduino with a replaceable chip.
1. First step to using the arduino as an FTDI programmer is to take out the Atmega328 Chip
2. Connect the wires as told in the Pin Connections table below
3. Change the board type in the Arduino IDE to: Arduino Duemilanove
4. Change to appropriate serial port
Colorduino || Arduino
DTR -> Reset
GND -> GND
TXD -> Pin 1
RXD -> Pin 0
VDD -> +5v
Step 3: Programming the Colorduino
To use the code provided you need to install two libraries. Installing libraries are easy and for this instructables all you need to do is download the zip folder and extract it to: Documents/Arduino/libraries folder and then restart the arduino IDE.
Adafruit GFX Library: Github
DinoTools Colorduino GFX Library: Github
Update: New Library Available!
Thanks to the wonderful work of Zane Carter and a bit from me. There is now a great library that can achieve scrolling text with one line! It supports up to 20 characters and has the same multidisplay abilities. Currently can only select one colour for the entire thing but multicolor support is being added soon.
//Scroll("String!", delay, textcolred, textcolgreen, textcolblue, bgcolred, bgcolgreen, bgcolblue, displaynumber)
//Scroll("Scrolling Text!", 100, 255, 255, 255, 0, 0, 0, 1);
Github Link: https://github.com/Electromondo-Coding/ColorduinoScrollerLibrary
OLD multicolored code:
Modifying the code to suit you:
Before you upload the code you have the chance to set the number of characters (currently only 3 options) but it is very easy to expand upon the code to add more characters.
Changing the Message:
As seen in the second picture, with the default code there are 15 possible character's to use in the scroll messages. It also supports ASCII codes. To use an ascii code, remove the ' ' and type in the code (Eg. a Love heart is 3; char scroll_1 = 3;)
Changing the Colors:
To change the color of the letters, you use standard RGB color codes. You can use a color picker like the one here to get the values as well (Eg. GFX_Color_t textcolor = Colorduino.color(R, G, B); //Scroll 1)
(Eg. GFX_Color_t textcolor = Colorduino.color(255, G, 255); //Magenta Colour)
After making sure you have selected the right board type and made the changes you need(Arduino duemilanove) you are ready to upload the code to the arduino. Just press Ctrl + U or the upload button and you're good to go!
Step 4: Plugging in the Matrix
To connect the matrix to the colorduino, align pin 1 of the matrix to pin 1 on the colorduino. After plugging it you should see the message scrolling across the display!
Step 5: Demonstration and Final Thoughts
This code is just the start of the possibilities that the colorduino has to offer. You could make interactive displays, display graphics and pictures as well as making signs. Thanks for looking at my tutorial and I hope this has helped you in some way.