Instructables
Picture of LED Matrix with Arduino
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Hola , I am Javier from Makespace Madrid. Last week we organised a meetup to play with LED matrixes and Arduinos. This was part of  "La noche de la electrónica con Jameco"
This instructable is based on the workshop. It uses one single LED matrix and shows how to switch its LEDs on/off and how to display ASCII characters.
A future instructable will show how to work with mulitple LED matrixes connected together.
 
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Step 1: Components

Picture of Components
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For this example, you need the following components:
- Arduino Uno board
- MAX7219 Red Dot Matrix Module
- 5 jumper wires F/M (female/male)

Although this instructable uses an Arduino Uno board, you can use other Arduino (compatible) boards

You can find the matrix module at many online stores (e.g. http://dx.com/p/max7219-dot-matrix-module-w-5-dupont-lines-184854). This includes a 8x8 LED matrix (red colour), a MAX7219 chip to control the LEDs, header PINs and sockets, one 10KOhm resistor, a 100nF capacitor, a 10uF electrolic capacitor and a PCB where everything is connected together. You can purchase the module already soldered and mounted or just the components. Up to you;-)

If you want to learn the low level details, you should check this article at arduino playground.

IMPORTANT: The LED matrix is common cathode. This module does not work with common anode matrixes.
PM43 days ago

Thanks you, and well done. This and your other--the scrolling LED matrices--got me started on my first project, an LED clock, which I published today to this site. I'd like to give credit where it's due.

tumaku (author)  PM42 days ago

Thanks a lot!

I do recommend other visitors to check your intstructable to understand how to reuse and adapt my original work:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-LED-Matrix...

PeterF220 days ago

hello

good sketch

how many elements can be connected in series?

tumaku (author)  PeterF220 days ago
A maximum of 8 matrices

My brother tried this yesterday and was very happy about it :)

tumaku (author)  jessyinstruc21 days ago

Glad that he enjoyed it :-) Keep on tinkering!

judas797 months ago

Does the arduino have to have a UNO bootloader on it for the Matrix fo function? I've tried this code with the libraries, on a Leonardo and a mini pro and all I get is; almost all the leds constantly being on not even a blink.

tumaku (author)  judas796 months ago

I have not used it with Leonardo so I cannot tell you:-(

I have used it with Arduino Mini (5V) without any problem.

Your behaviour seems to be due to wrong connection of wires (double check them) or to not enough power (try to power the LED matirx (Vcc&GND) form another power supply tan the Arduino.

Be careful! Vcc of your new power supply should be 5V and ground(GND) of the power supply and the Arduino Leronardo should be connected. If you do this wrong you can burn the chip of the LED matrix.

robbiej5 tumaku1 month ago

It works on a Leonardo. I had the same problem as some folks -- all of my LEDs on the Matrix were on the first time. I had two wires in the incorrect spots. Fixed it so that:

CLK => pin #11

CS => pin #10

and

DIN => pin #12

Easy mistake to make because the first 3 were in order. Good luck.

Nice Library too!

tumaku (author)  robbiej51 month ago

Thanks :-)

ruleworld2 months ago

Nice and easy tutorial to get things going. Thanks!

MatthewA13 months ago

Hi i am running the Arduino IDE 1.0.5 on a mac and i can't find any LedControlIMS folders

tumaku (author)  MatthewA13 months ago
The folder does not exist. You have to create it as explained in Step2.

I do not know where the libraries folder is in a Mac. Try;
~/Documents/Arduino/libraries/

ExHippoMan6 months ago

Hi again. I pulled in my led matrix and loaded up the basic example from the led matrix (MakeSape_LEDMatrix). and it just lights up at the LEDs and nothing happens. these a picture. please help and thanks a lot.

temp_-1246330600.jpg
tumaku (author)  ExHippoMan6 months ago
Hi,
Which Arduino version are you using? I know it works on an Arduino Uno, but I have not tested it with other boards.

One possible cause for this behaviour is that you have not properly connected the wires. Please double check all the wires are properly connected!

Another possible reason may be a wrong soldering of the LED matrix board. Did you solder it yourself or did you get already soldered and mounted?

Sorry I cannot be more specific.
ExHippoMan tumaku6 months ago

I got it was the wires. thanks. but now I need a code and I still dont know how to wire code its so hard.

ExHippoMan tumaku6 months ago

I have a Arduino nano v3 and im pretty sure I put the right pins in the right spots. I did solder my own led matrix but I did it right and I even looked up how to solder them. I have 3 of them all the same . But one of the Matrix came pre soldered. All 3 of them do that same just light up all the lights or sometimes flash. Thanks for the help its because I want to have it done by next mouth so I can give at as a gift for my girlfriend's and I anniversary

Plugged not pulled. sorry

ExHippoMan7 months ago

Hi, thanks for your help. I just have one more question. is there a way to get the code out if the Arduino and on to something else? I want to make it portable but without the Arduino. thank!

tumaku (author)  ExHippoMan6 months ago

This code is based on Arduino. You can port it to another micro/platform, but it would not be straightforward.

Another option, probably more aligned with what you are looking for, is to use a smaller Arduino board (e.g. Arduino Mini) or build your own DIY Arduino (there are very good instructbles about how to do it).

ExHippoMan tumaku6 months ago

I was wondering if you will be able to help me with something else?

tumaku (author)  ExHippoMan6 months ago

I can try, but first I would need more information to let you know if I can be of any help.

ExHippoMan tumaku6 months ago

I have a Arduino Nano and I wanted to make a sketch so I can run my led matrix but I dont really know how to make a sketch. I was wondering if you can help me make the sketch?

tumaku (author)  ExHippoMan6 months ago

If you have never programmed Arduino before, I recommend that you use any of the multiple tutorials available at arduino.cc, adafruit, sparkfun, etc.

Once you have coded your "Hello world" in your Arduino nano, I will be happy to help with more concrete questions about what you plan to do in your sketch.

Disclaimer: I have never used Arduino Nano and I cannot confirm that the LED matrix library works on it (it should work without any poblem, but I cannot confirm it)

ExHippoMan tumaku6 months ago

is there a link you can send me to or something I can look up?

ExHippoMan tumaku6 months ago

Alright thank you so much again

tumaku (author)  ExHippoMan6 months ago

If you have never programmed Arduino before, I recommend that you use any of the multiple tutorials available at arduino.cc, adafruit, sparkfun, etc.

Once you have coded your "Hello world" in your Arduino nano, I will be happy to help with more concrete questions about what you plan to do in your sketch.

Disclaimer: I have never used Arduino Nano and I cannot confirm that the LED matrix library works on it (it should work without any poblem, but I cannot confirm it)

tumaku (author)  ExHippoMan6 months ago

I can try, but first I would need more information to let you know if I can be of any help.

ExHippoMan tumaku6 months ago

Thank you so much

CraigMarston9 months ago

Thank-you SO much — this has been my first successful Arduino ‘anything’!!

tumaku (author)  CraigMarston9 months ago

Thanks for trying it out!

Hope this is just the first one of a looong list of Arduino projects :-)