Introduction: Make Your Own 15x10 RGB LED Matrix

In this video series I will present you how to build a 15x10 RGB LED Matrix. This Matrix has a width of 1.5m and a height of 1m. It consists of PL9823 RGB LEDs which are a cheap alternative to common WS2812 LEDs. I will talk about the challenges that such a project offers and how I solved mostly every problem during the build. At the end of this instructables you should be able to build such a monstrosity and also be able to control it with the Glediator software through a Raspberry Pi 2. And trust me, it looks amazing! Let's get started!

And if you are curious how I built the wood construction around the Matrix itself, then check out my previous Instructables about my LED Bar: https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-your-own-LED...

Step 1: Watch Part 1 of the Video Series!

Part 1 is all about how I started the project,.......with many problems. It is only an introduction and does not show my final design. You can skip it if you really don't have the time.

Step 2: Watch Part 2 of the Video Series!

This video gives you all the information you need to build your own Matrix. And you can already control the PL9823 LEDs with an Arduino Nano to produce a great light show.

Step 3: Order Your Parts!

Here is a small parts list with example sellers:

Ebay:
150x PL9823 RGB LED 8mm: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1...

150x 100nF Capacitor: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1...

1x 5V 12A Power Supply: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

1x Arduino Nano : http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1...

1x150Ω Resistor: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

Amazon.com:

150x PL9823 RGB LED 8mm : -

150x 100nF Capacitor: http://amzn.to/1Djc7KO

1x 5V 12A Power Supply: http://amzn.to/1FCBP11

1x Arduino Nano : http://amzn.to/148B4MS

1x150Ω Resistor: http://amzn.to/1CAc3dx


Amazon.de:

150x PL9823 RGB LED 8mm : http://amzn.to/1BvtRl7

150x 100nF Capacitor: http://amzn.to/148xJNV

1x 5V 12A Power Supply: http://amzn.to/1CU84oT

1x Arduino Nano : http://amzn.to/1zLHZEi

1x150Ω Resistor: http://amzn.to/1bhKZ6C


You also need:
15m 3x1.5 qmm NYM

15m 0.75 qmm solid wire

2m 5x2.5 qmm flexible wire

Solder

Step 4: Animations for the Arduino Nano!

Here are the codes that I used during this video part. This way you don't need a Raspberry Pi 2 to control your LED Matrix, just an Arduino Nano. And it already looks awesome!

Mediafire Link: http://www.mediafire.com/download/kho5lfw25bh9y75...

Step 5: Watch Part 3 of the Video Series!

In this final part I show you how to use the Glediator Matrix animation software with a Raspberry Pi 2/ Banana Pro/ Banana Pi/ Orange Pi.

Step 6: Order Your Favorite Single Board Computer!

Here is a list of boards that should work without a problem:

Ebay:

Raspberry Pi 2: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

Banana Pi: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1...

Banana Pro: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

Orange Pi: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

Amazon.com:

Raspberry Pi 2: http://amzn.to/1bhOKcc

Banana Pi: http://amzn.to/1vLDVBF

Banana Pro: http://amzn.to/1BTcnk4

Orange Pi: -

Amazon.de:

Raspberry Pi 2:http://amzn.to/1F9l8u4

Banana Pi: http://amzn.to/1rSg2gq

Banana Pro: http://amzn.to/1xjfkM5

Orange Pi: -

Step 7: GLEDIATOR PL9823 Arduino Sketch!

Here you can download the code which you need to upload to the Arduino Nano before using the Glediator software.

Step 8: Useful Links to Sites!

Here are some of the sites that I mentioned during video part 3:

Raspberry Pi 2 Raspian Download: http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/

Solderlab.de Glediator Download: http://www.solderlab.de/index.php/downloads/catego...

LeMaker Raspian Download: http://www.lemaker.org/resources/9-38/image_files....

WinSCP Download:http://winscp.net/eng/download.php

Step 9: Commands That I Used!

Here is a list of commands that I used during the final part of the video series:

sudo passwd root (Change the password for the root user)

cd glediator/dist/ (Change directory)

java -jar Glediator.jar (Execute Glediator.jar)

sudo apt-get install librxtx-java (Install the RXTX library for Java)

export CLASSPATH=/usr/share/java/RXTXcomm.jar (Change CLASSPATH)

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/lib/jni (Change LD_LIBRARY_PATH)

Step 10: Success

You did it! Now sit back and enjoy the light show.
Feel free to check out my Youtube channel for more awesome projects:

http://www.youtube.com/user/greatscottlab

You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for news about upcoming projects and behind the scenes information:

https://twitter.com/GreatScottLab

https://www.facebook.com/greatscottlab

Comments

author
crossedx made it! (author)2017-03-21

Hi, thanks so much for posting this and inspiring me to make my own, it was a fun project! While not as neatly made a yours, I made two 17x13 panels and got them working with Glediator, but I would like to make it work over DMX or Artnet to incorporate it into my DJ shows with other lighting. Do you have any insight into those work?

IMG_6837.JPGIMG_7090.JPG
author
LeiMani made it! (author)2016-12-29

Does it also work with only the PC and the Arduino (without of the Rasberry PI 2)

Thanks

author
Trask River Productions made it! (author)2016-12-02

Do you think this will work with a Pine64 board instead of a raspberry PI?

https://www.pine64.org/?product=pine-a64-board-1gb

author
СтоянД made it! (author)2016-11-23

Hi!I like the project so much!!!

I have Arduino Uno,Can i uset for the project

author
mariusmatei made it! (author)2016-11-01

Hi everybody!

I would love to do this project as well and I
would like to ask you something. I didn't find the PL9823 RGB LED but I
found RGB PTH LED. Will they work like the PL9823? Another question is
if there is a way to replace each led with another matrix but control it
as one led. I want to replace each led in each box with another led
matrix but control that entire matrix as one led. Is it possible? Thank
you very much!

Marius

author
rentlau24 made it! (author)2016-09-08

Hi Mr Scott!! I have reproduced your awesome project! But when I powered up It lights and down in a seconds... I have added 3 wiring in ground and vdd. But it still doing it. Could you please tell me why?

author
Baldo187. made it! (author)2016-01-18

I built this LED Matrix with 204 LEDs (17x12). Everything works fine but the Data signal doesn't seems to be correct.

I started with the LED on the bottom right and connected them like a snake to the top.

The upper lines sometimes do what they want.

If i test LED for LED and let a white dot run through the matrix, sometimes the LED before or after the current one lights up blue or yellow. The first LED blinks always white in this case. I tested different LEDs to be the first one, always the same.

What could be the reason?

author
GreatScottLab made it! (author)GreatScottLab2016-01-18

It is a common problem that I was facing as well. Make sure your power wiring is thick and connects every LED with all the one around them (extreme case). You can also try adding a small value resistor at the beginning of each new line ( around 10ohm). And the new FastLED library also supports the pl9823 protocol. Make sure to use this one.

author
harolete made it! (author)harolete2016-09-05

hola amigo, nos podría regalar una imagen de la conecxion de los led, muchas gracias

author
Baldo187. made it! (author)Baldo187.2016-01-19

Ich sag's mal auf deutsch.

Ich habe 3 reihen mit Stromkabeln miteinander verbunden und speise den Strom ebenfalls an 3 Stellen in die Matrix ein. Also mache ich am besten noch mehr Verbindungen und schaue dann mal weiter?

Werde das auf jeden Fall mal so probieren, danke!

Mit der Abschirmung vom Datenkabel sollte/kann das also eher nicht zusammenhängen?

author
matt.moon.353 made it! (author)matt.moon.3532016-01-18

what code are you using for it Arduino wise? Im having a similar problems to yours but mine are acting like there is no data at all coming in .

author
Baldo187. made it! (author)Baldo187.2016-01-19

I'm using the fastled example codes from the arduino software.

do you use the right configuration?

author
SebastianG84 made it! (author)2016-08-22

Can you make the Raspberry Pi open Gladiator, start the serial port and start the animation playlist automatically when you boot it? Or do you have to do all that manually?

author
marcelf11 made it! (author)2016-08-06

Hello i have one question is it possible with this to program pic like a smile or a house or is it only for the animations like you demonstrate ?

author
Rohan_Scanavez made it! (author)2016-06-21

Scott, your project is awesome. I´ll keep following your articles!!

author
Caespn made it! (author)2016-06-04

10x15 led matrix live mix spectrum analyzer

Hi Scott...!!?

First...Great job!! Your Projects are awsome:)

My name is Caspar, from Ratingen in Germany....and i'm going to build your 10x15 Led Matrix for our electro-party this summer.

The question is: what's the best way to visualize the live audio signal on the matrix??

We
will play the music at 2 turntables, 1 cd/mp3 media player and 1
laptop. All these sounds will be mixed with an usb/analog mixer and send
to a denon stereo amplifer.

thx for your trouble

best regards...

...Caspar

p.s.: will send you photos/videos if everything works fine;)

author
Duskchaser made it! (author)2016-05-24

Thanks to your inspiration I completed my very first project! My matrix is not awesome as yours, but nonetheless building one from scratch made me proud =)

13260081_10209524179327449_4812882734534281985_n.jpg
author
GreatScottLab made it! (author)GreatScottLab2016-05-24

Awesome!

author
SuhbatS made it! (author)2016-05-13

Hey Scott,

I built the matrix with dimensions of 16 by 12, the issue im running into is that the arduino nano isn't showing up under the com window in glediator for some reason. I already downloaded the code you posted onto it and redefined the number of leds, i just cant figure what's going wrong.

author
ReallyLogical made it! (author)2016-01-20

I was going to purchase the LEDs but I ran into a problem. I noticed there were pl9823 f8 or f5 kinds of LEDs. I was wondering if I should get those or did I do something wrong?

author
LostboyTNT made it! (author)LostboyTNT2016-05-06

that's 5mm or 8mm LED's just the size.. I believe he went with the 8mm

author
DávidI20 made it! (author)2016-04-08

If I want to make this project in a "smaller resolution" like 6 x 10 I'm going to need another power supply or that is "ok" with it?

author
JordiP3 made it! (author)2016-01-29

Hi GreatScott! you're awesome! But I have a little problem with my Raspberry:

When I installed the RXTX library i can't export it, when i use the export commands this doesn't do anything. Can I do it with other commands or with another method?

Thanks!!

author
Baldo187. made it! (author)2016-01-20

You can test your LEDs with this Code,

#include "FastLED.h"

// How many leds are in the strip?

#define NUM_LEDS 204

// Data pin that led data will be written out over

#define DATA_PIN 3

CRGB leds[NUM_LEDS];

// This function sets up the ledsand tells the controller about them

void setup() {

delay(2000);

FastLED.addLeds<PL9823, DATA_PIN, RGB>(leds, NUM_LEDS);

}

// This function runs over and over, and is where you do the magic to light

// your leds.

void loop() {

// Move a single white led

for(int whiteLed = 0; whiteLed < NUM_LEDS; whiteLed = whiteLed + 1) {

// Turn our current led on to white, then show the leds

leds[whiteLed] = CRGB::White;

// Show the leds (only one of which is set to white, from above)

FastLED.show();

// Wait a little bit

delay(1000);

leds[whiteLed] = CRGB::Blue;

FastLED.show();

delay(1000);

leds[whiteLed] = CRGB::Red;

FastLED.show();

delay(1000);

leds[whiteLed] = CRGB::Green;

FastLED.show();

delay(1000);

// Turn our current led back to black for the next loop around

leds[whiteLed] = CRGB::Black;

}

}

author
Baldo187. made it! (author)2016-01-20

You can test your LEDs with this Code,

#include "FastLED.h"

// How many leds are in the strip?

#define NUM_LEDS 204

// Data pin that led data will be written out over

#define DATA_PIN 3

CRGB leds[NUM_LEDS];

// This function sets up the ledsand tells the controller about them

void setup() {

delay(2000);

FastLED.addLeds<PL9823, DATA_PIN, RGB>(leds, NUM_LEDS);

}

// This function runs over and over, and is where you do the magic to light

// your leds.

void loop() {

// Move a single white led

for(int whiteLed = 0; whiteLed < NUM_LEDS; whiteLed = whiteLed + 1) {

// Turn our current led on to white, then show the leds

leds[whiteLed] = CRGB::White;

// Show the leds (only one of which is set to white, from above)

FastLED.show();

// Wait a little bit

delay(1000);

leds[whiteLed] = CRGB::Blue;

FastLED.show();

delay(1000);

leds[whiteLed] = CRGB::Red;

FastLED.show();

delay(1000);

leds[whiteLed] = CRGB::Green;

FastLED.show();

delay(1000);

// Turn our current led back to black for the next loop around

leds[whiteLed] = CRGB::Black;

}

}

author
Baldo187. made it! (author)2016-01-20

Can you upload the code to the arduino? are all drivers installed? and the software has the correct configuration?

you can download the example codes, the link should be on this site.

you just have to change the amount of leds and put the data wire in the defined port

author
Baldo187. made it! (author)2016-01-18

I built this LED Matrix with 204 LEDs (17x12). Everything works fine but the Data signal doesn't seems to be correct.

I started with the LED on the bottom right and connected them like a snake to the top.

The upper lines sometimes do what they want.

If i test LED for LED and let a white dot run through the matrix, sometimes the LED before or after the current one lights up blue or yellow. The first LED blinks always white in this case. I tested different LEDs to be the first one, always the same.

What could be the reason?

author
matt.moon.353 made it! (author)2016-01-17

correction non of the code is working at all on any of my Arduino`s i am clueless as to why

author
Mat_ made it! (author)2016-01-06

Hi !

Is it possible to display simple text with Gladiator ?

Thanks !

author
GreatScottLab made it! (author)GreatScottLab2016-01-08

Yes. I have a small demo video on my second channel where you can see it.

author
jordi planas made it! (author)2015-12-11

hey! I love this project, it's awesome! But I have a question, if I do it with WS2812B led strips this will work the same right? I think yes but i'm not sure haha Tanks scott, you're awesome!!!

author
GreatScottLab made it! (author)GreatScottLab2015-12-12

Yes, works the same.

author
Besnik1999 made it! (author)2015-11-24

Hallo,

Ich wollte mir das ganze einmal nachbauen da ich finde das es ein sehr schönes Projekt ist. Meine frage ist jetzt aber wie du den Controller gebaut hast den du in dem einen Video erwähnt hast. Das Teil welches du aus einer Lochrasterplatine gemacht hast gibt es dafür einen Schaltplan?

author
GreatScottLab made it! (author)GreatScottLab2015-11-24

Schau mal in mein LED Bar Video. Sollte sich dort verstecken.

author
Besnik1999 made it! (author)Besnik19992015-11-24

Vielen dank für die abtwort. Finde es echt toll das du es so schnell beantwortest hast. Großes Lob!

author
GreatScottLab made it! (author)GreatScottLab2015-11-24

Schau mal in mein LED Bar Video. Sollte sich dort verstecken.

author
berndb1 made it! (author)2015-10-14

were i can finde some codes for light on my matrix ?

author
AndersE3 made it! (author)2015-09-22

I like your projects, and this is very interesting. But i would like to use only the RPI, how would i connect the led strips? Like other projects using the pins on the exp connector? What would need to be changed in software?

And how big animations does the Arduino NANO fit, if i use that?

author
LiamJ2 made it! (author)2015-09-15

@GreatScott This is an amazing project, but could you tell me or give a link to what kind of glass you used for the front panel?

Thanks!

author
GreatScottLab made it! (author)GreatScottLab2015-09-17

I bought it in my local hardware store. I think it was 3mm thick.

author
jprinsloo1 made it! (author)2015-09-11

@GreatScott! I really love this. I love all your videos. I wand to use this in a project that I am busy with, however, I want to use it in a more of an automated way. What I want to find out is do you have to start the animations from Glediator every time you start reboot the pi or will it start automatically on boot? also, do you have to use the Glediator application every time or is it possible to save the animation (like in a config file for instance) and recall it from python or the terminal on the RPi automatically based on certain conditions? You see, my led matrix will be unattended and based on certain conditions, I want it to display a Glediator animation or text automatically and I need to switch between these programatically. Does this sound possible? Keep up the great videos. Really love them.

Thanks

J

author
MattiR made it! (author)2015-08-30

Hey!
I was gonna make this thing, but 300x200 instead of 150x100, so would that power supply still work or would i meed more of them/better one? And also, can I use a Raspberry pi 1 or teensy 3.1? Or do i need raspberry pi 2?

author
nefertarip1 made it! (author)2015-08-15

can I make it with FIT0401 led?

author
jasonarm made it! (author)2015-04-02

Hi, I am new to this. Could you help me with an error I get when I upload this to arduino Nano.

'CRGB' does not name a type.

and then it highlights the line below

CRGB leds[NUM_LEDS];

author

same problem here..

did u find any solution yet?

author
MuhammadF24 made it! (author)MuhammadF242015-06-24

Hi jasonarm and butters_the_one_and_the_only.....

to solve your problem is to add FastLED to your Arduino library..
you all can download FastLED from here:https://github.com/FastLED/FastLED

author
AldoT made it! (author)2015-05-15

Thanks for this awesome job !
I would like to do the same but i have a tiny question : in the video part 2, you show just one resistor for the matrix. is there only one resistor for the whole matrix ? Or 1 for each one of the leds ?
Thanks for your time !
Geoffrey

author
GreatScottLab made it! (author)GreatScottLab2015-05-16

Only one at the data input of the first LED.

author
AldoT made it! (author)AldoT2015-05-16

Ok thank you very much !

author
guilherme.pillon.3 made it! (author)2015-04-29

Such a nice project !

I really would like to reproduce your project, but i haven't found the schematic of the control circuit, can you send me ? my e-mail is guilhermepillon@hotmail.com

Thanks for the Attention, and the contribution for the community.

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