That's a lot to live up to, and at $16 a pop, it definitely should. While spending half the day at my favorite local electronics shop I found a bin full of these for $1.50 a piece. I left the store with several.
This instructable will show you how to connect to these dot matrix LED's and display characters using an AVR-based Arduino. If you've read any of my previous guides, you may get the idea that I'm often in favor of the most parsimonious solution, and you wouldn't be wrong, even if I do fall short of the goal from time to time. Therefore, I'll also go another step in this instructable and show you how you can reduce the number of I/O ports needed to drive these big, honkin' dot matrix LED's.
Step 1: Get the Goods...
- an AVR-based microcontroller like an Arduino or any of it's ilk. These instructions could probably be adapted to your MCU of choice.
- a DLO7135 dot matrix LED or other in the same family
- an 8-bit shift register like the 74LS164, 74C299, or 74HC594
- a breadboard
- hookup wire, wire cutters, etc.