Introduction: Scrolling Text Display (A to Z Guide)

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In this instructable / video I will guide you with step by step instructions how to make scrolling text display with Arduino.
I won't be explaining how to make code for Arduino, I will show you how to use existing code. What and where you need to connect and install that you could make scrolling text display like this without any previous knowledge of Arduino.

Arduino software -

Code and library -

Original link -

Provided Amazon links are affiliates

Tools You'll Need:

Materials You'll Need:

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Step 1: Preview

Preview of the mini scrolling text display.

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Step 2: Cutting Plywood

To make a simple box first I cut sides, top and bottom from 6mm plywood. Add painters or electrical tape to prevent any chipping.

Step 3: New Jig

If you wondering, this is my new jig for bevel cuts for my jigsaw table. It's very simple jig, but very useful.

Clamped stop block helps to cut pieces at the same size.

Step 4: Gluing

Connect all sides with painters tape and glue them.

Step 5: Cutting Front and Back

Then I cut front and back pieces. In front piece I drilled hole and made hole for LED displays with a fretsaw.

To get straight looking cuts I trimmed inside with a jigsaw.

Step 6: Making Slot for the Chips

I routed slots for chips of the LED display, as I wanted that display would be flush with outside of the front piece.

Step 7: Components That You Need

For this build you need (links in first page):

  • Arduino Nano
  • 2x 8x8 LED displays
  • Voltage booster
  • Protected 18650 battery
  • Battery holder
  • On/Off switch

Before soldering Voltage booster to the circuit make sure to adjust it's output voltage to 5V with potentiometer on the chip.

Step 8: Before Soldering

Download and install Arduino software -

If you get prompt messages like in a picture just agree and install.

Step 9: Download Additional Files

That code would work you need extra libraries for the Arduino. Download here

Unzip it and copy "MaxMatrix" folder to Arduino's "libraries" folder and you are good to go.

Step 10: Arduino Software Set Up

When you start Arduino software first you need to choose Arduino type. In our case it's Arduino Nano (1st picture).

Then you need to open Serial Monitor window (2nd picture).

If you get red error like this, you need to choose right USB port in which your Arduino is connected (3-4th picture).

Just try choosing different ports until you can open Serial Monitor window without error (4-5th picture).

Step 11: Uploading the Code

Now you need to copy ant paste entire code to the new empty sketch file.

Press upload button, it will ask that you save project file.

Program starts compiling/generating code and starts uploading.

Step 12: Error While Uploading

If your upload take a while (15s+) and you get red error message like this you need to change Processor "ATmega328P" to Processor "ATmega328P (Old bootloader)".

Now upload should be successful.

Step 13: Configuring Display

You can customize showing text, scrolling speed and display brightness at these locations (see pictures).

Step 14: Battery Life

With 3000 mAh battery at Level 5 brightness display should run more than 20 hours, at 10 – more than 14 hours and at 15 – more than 12 hours. Also you can power it from a wall charger.

Step 15: Making Display

Back to the build, I cut pins, and soldered wires:

  • From first display top - VCC to VCC - on second display bottom.
  • From first display top - GNDto GND - on second display bottom.
  • From first display top - DOUT to DIN - on second display bottom.
  • From first display top - CS to CS - on second display bottom.
  • From first display top - CLK to CLK - on second display bottom.

And then I hot glued display to the plywood.

Step 16: Making Holes

One hole must be made for USB mini cable and other for the power button.

Step 17: Small Blocks and Battery Holder

I glued two squares that back piece won’t go further inside from the top. And to prevent going inside from the bottom will help this battery holder with battery inside. To glue it use something like 30 minute epoxy.

Step 18: Soldering Wires

I soldered 5 wires to the first display's bottom.

Step 19: Connecting Display to Arduino

Wires from LED display goes to Arduino:

  • VCC to 5V
  • GND to GND
  • DIN to D12
  • CLK to D11
  • CS to D10

Wires from voltage booster (VOUT+ and VOUT-) will go to VIN (+) and GND (-).

Step 20: Small Blocks in the Front

Also I glued small blocks on which later I will glue front piece with LED displays.

Step 21: Final Soldering

Wires that I previously soldered to Arduino's VIN and GND goes to voltage booster's VOUT+ AND VOUT-.

Two extra wires must be soldered to power switch.

One wire from power switch goes to batteries Positive contact and other to booster's VIN+ contract.

And the Negative wire from the battery goes to booster's VIN- contact.

Step 22: Testing

I tested if panel works and it looks good so I wrapped booster module with electrical tape.

I glued one additional wood block which will help to hold Arduino and will be place for the back screw.

Step 23: Finishing

I made hole for the screw and glued front panel.

Step 24: Final Touches

Finally I added some wood oil, attached the back and glued small silicone feet.

Step 25: END

And that's it - the build is finished!
I hope this instructable / video was useful and informative. If you liked it, you can support me by liking this Instructable / YouTube video and subscribing for more future content. That means a lot!

Feel free to leave any questions about this build.

Thank you, for reading / watching!

Till next time! :)

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Make it Glow Contest 2018

Participated in the
Make it Glow Contest 2018