Picture of Lampduino - an 8x8 RGB Floor Lamp
Lampduino is a computer-controlled free-standing floor lamp, comprised of an 8x8 RGB LED matrix. The lamp stands 45" high and 18" wide.  Light emanates from both sides.  It has various display modes, as well as an included editor for creating animations.  The lamp is controlled via an application running on a PC host.  The display modes include realtime drawing, playback of previously created animations, snow, meteor, plasma, and synchronization with music.  With its endless available colors, Lampduino can also be used for color therapy, or as a mood light.  When running standalone, without a computer, it plays a soothing plasma simulation..

NOTE:  Any flickering in the videos below is caused by video camera aliasing.  Persistence of vision makes it look flicker-free by the naked eye.


Step 1: Bill of Materials

Picture of Bill of Materials
Parts List

(64) 5mm common anode RGB LED's. I bought mine on eBay
(1) ITead Studio Colorduino or an Arduino with Itead Studio Colors Shield
1) large piece of foamcore board.  This kind of board can be found in most office or artist supply shops.  It is a foam core sandwiched between two sheets of thick paper.  I recycled a 45x30" piece that had a previous life as an advertising poster.
(2) 18x18" pieces of matte drafting film.  I cut them out of a single 24x36" sheet of .003" thick Grafix 2-sided matte drafting film.
lots of 30AWG kynar-insulated wrapping wire. I bought 3 50 feet rolls at Radio Shack, one each of red/white/blue. 150 feet is overkill, but it's a lot easier to work with different colors of wire.
(2) 16-pin male headers
(1) 5V 1A power supply.  I repurposed a wall wart from a broken gadget.

For music synchronization, a few additional parts are needed.  See the Music Synchronization step.


x-acto knife
hot glue gun
wire stripping/wrapping tool
straight edge
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evolutiondub8 months ago

Iv managed to get this running fine from my MacBook, but im struggling to get RGBmtx to run on raspberry pi, using the linux version. I have tried downloading processing and running the source code through there, but I cannot get it to work. Any tips on getting the software to run on a Raspberry Pi?

lincomatic (author)  evolutiondub8 months ago
I haven't tried running it on anything other than Windows. If it's having trouble finding the Colorduino, have a look at Colorduino.pde. The function openPort() scans for the serial port. Perhaps you can try hardcoding the actual port name into that function and see if that works.
I cant get the software to open at all on raspbian.
lincomatic (author)  evolutiondub8 months ago
m1s73r3 years ago
Ok this step is a little bit too complicated for me... I just want to control my 8x8 RGB Matrix with this software, so which code do I upload on my arduino? And were should I put RGBmtx.pde? I'm on a mac... Please give me a detailed step by step answer so that I can comprehend the single steps.

Thanks a lot!
lincomatic (author)  m1s73r3 years ago
RGBmtx.pde runs in Processing on your Mac. You need to download and install it. Follow Step 17 to load ColorduinoSlave.pde into your Arduino.


I am using a Mac and having a hard time getting RGBmtx to see the Colorduino. I am totally new to this. I am using a USBtiny which works to upload the slave sketch. I then have a Arduino Duemilanove board with the chip removed and connections from the Arduino Reset to DTR,TX to TX, RX to RX. The Arduino was getting power from the USB so i didn't use the 5V and ground connections. RGBmtx still says No output device found, running in standalone mode., Do I need to edit the Serial speed settings? If so where can I do this on the mac. Where is the place to edit the line of code. Sorry for the basic questions. Just having trouble with RGBmtx...


dunno if you have solved this already, but I was having the same issue. The reset pin needs to be connected for programming the board, but remove it before starting up RGBmtx, then the software should see the

colorduino on startup. I Also programmed the board with Arduino IDE 022 which has the right serial buffer, to save me messing around with too much in the Arduino software. (I am still extremely new to this whole thing and really dont understand most of what I am doing)

evolutiondub made it!9 months ago

It took a couple of days as am very new to programming and arduino, but finally I got it working with the RGBmtx software. Now i just gotta figure out how to make it standalone. Eventually i want to be able to DMX control it. Thanks for the tutorial, defiantly the most comprehensive I was able to find.

In order to make this work I took the ATmega chip out of the Arduino chassis, and used the chassis as a USB to serial adaptor to program the colorduino directly. Is there any way of saving completed bitmaps onto the Arduino chip and utilising this to send the data to the colorduino rather than a computer?

20141204_164535.mp4(516x290) 23 KB
EricS11 year ago

Really nice work ! Thanks for sharing, keep on going, that's great

I rarely sign in to comment stuff, but i did it just to say how i was amazed and find this creation really nice.

bratwurst1 year ago

I've read "Instructables" for quite a long time, but I gotta say Sir, you "forced" me to create an account just so I could comment on your work here. It's easily the best, most thorough "how to" tutorial I've ever seen here. You really know what you're doing and how to explain it. Impressive.

I don't plan to make one of these but you gave me some great ideas I'd been looking for for a while for another project. So thank you. Again, impressive. :)

khellawell1 year ago

will this work going 5x13 or can it only be 8x8?

lincomatic (author)  khellawell1 year ago
5x13 is 65 LED's. The Colorduino can only handle 64.
GraspGG made it!1 year ago
You needn't be super precise

Unfortunately with this material it doesn't work like that ... 2mm cutting rabbets/slits with 3mm material thickness isn't a helpful combination ;) A dremel has to be used to widen all 96 slits.

lincomatic (author)  GraspGG1 year ago

Since you're using dibond, won't the aluminum short out the LEDs when you press them into the slits? I guess you have to cut wider slits, insulate the wires, and then hot glue the LEDs in.

I'm going a different way, cause of 140° angle diffuse leds... On the backside a plate will be mounted, holding all leds which are facing toward the front. Right now the soldering part has to be finished, which will take "some" time ;)

I will keep you informed!

Btw.: Thanks alot for this great guide, lincomatic!

GraspGG made it!1 year ago

Dibond (3mm) is used instead of foam ... more than once i was thinking about stopping and using foam like lincomatic did ... ;)

lincomatic (author)  GraspGG1 year ago

You, my friend, have incredible patience! Looking forward to seeing the completed build!

GraspGG made it!1 year ago

Hopefully i don't have to take it apart again, cause the connections are very tight/strong (2mm slits / 3mm material) Much ironing left to do ...

GraspGG made it!1 year ago

Nearly 20m cuttings with circular saw (cause of the dibond material used) had to be made.

mmdonaher1 year ago

I finalllly finished wiring and building everything and testing my LEDs and power supply today. I was planning to power the array from the screw terminals, but when I went to attach the power supply I realized the colorduino I was sent did not have a switch to slide between "header" and 'terminal" power sources. I was able to find a picture of both (so clearly they manufacture it both ways?) and have included it below. The one on the left is what every tutorial seems to depict and somehow I ended up with one like the righthand picture. I was curious what to do in this situation- will powering it through the terminals without the switch in place cause a problem to my the Colorduino or my LEDs?


I heard back from iTead and their reply is below:

have soldered 0R resistors on that position of the switch. You can add 9V
or other power supply on VIN pin."

I powered my array with 6V 1A through the screw terminals and it works perfectly.

The image quality on this is miserable (sorry!) but since this was a gift for someone, I don't have it around to take a better picture of. I'm happy with how it turned out. Used a Lexan enclosure for the array, with black foam board instead of white, and vellum sheets inside to diffuse the light I used black glossy spray paint on the bottom 2.5" to hide the wires/colorduino/usbtinyisp programmer.

chrwei1 year ago

just FYI, the itead product links no longer work

kd7eir3 years ago
I can load the colorduino slave sketch to the colorduino, but rgbmtx says that there is no device found.

Any suggestions?
kd7eir kd7eir3 years ago
I discovered the source of my communications error! When RGBmtx is launched it was resetting the serial port connection to the Colorduino, causing it to not see the Colorduino.

Instead of plugging my programmer directly into the Colorduino, I used female to female cables and connected GND, VCC, RXD, and TXD. I did NOT connect DTR. By not connecting DTR, I prevented the serial port reset from affecting the Colorduino, and RGBmtx was able to see it!
Mal3D kd7eir1 year ago

Thanks! That fixed my problem, too! :)

kd7eir Mal3D1 year ago

Glad to help!

Mal3D1 year ago

Still new to the whole Arduino, Colorduino thingy, but thanks to you, I am able to use the RGBmtx to create some animations that work on the Colorduino! I used the animation code from Adafruit to do another Space Invader animation, but I don't know where to send it to you. Thanks!!!

lincomatic (author)  Mal3D1 year ago
cool! send me a pm and i'll tell you where to send it.
fcohen11 year ago
Hey, Congrats for the great idea!
I´m building mine and would like to know if there are any changes if I use a 24awg wire instead of the 30awg one...
Cra7y1 year ago
Will this work with an arduino UNO rather than Duemilanove?
lincomatic (author)  Cra7y1 year ago
MJ9901 year ago
I have a problem with rgbmtx. I connected Colorduino, and the matrix of LEDs, to the PC via Arduino Duemilanove (without microcontroller). However, when using rgbmtx, there is a random delay in the display of frames. it is as if some frames were skipped, as during the animation LEDs rx-tx arduino blink correctly but the frame does not show all on the matrix. anyone have any ideas as to the reason for this? thanks
rubeke47472 years ago
I just love this project and I really want to make one as a coffee table like in the picure I found on google. But there is one problem i would like to solve. In you instructions you said that if its not connected to the computer it can only display the plasma program because the memory is to small to hold other sketches. Now is my question if there is any way to increase the memory ? A external memory I can connect to it or something like that ? I've been searching on google without succes. It would be a shame if I had to connect my coffee table to my pc just to put something else on there then the plasma or to make it react to music. Thanks
I was wondering, did you take that picture or did you get from google?
Did you read my post ? Apparently not. It is in the first sentence.
I sort of skimmed through it I wasn't really awake yet
Would the microSD breakout board be an option ? How would I connect this and program it to make it work ?
lincomatic (author)  rubeke47472 years ago
Yes, you need to store the animations in files on the SD card, instead of feeding them via the serial link
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