In this instructable you're going to learn how to do scrolling text on a RGB LED Matrix using the colorduino board from iTead studios. The colorduino is basically a RGB LED Matrix driver that takes a lot of the work out of driving LED Matrixes. In a combination with different libraries it is really easy to create cool effects and graphics with it. Its an inexpensive project and fun to play around with :).
Step 1: Parts
This project does not require many external components.
RGB LED Matrix
- (this is the cheapest and the one I use) Ebay
- (Available from colorduino site) iTead
FTDI or Arduino
Male to Male
- Australian Robotics
The arduino IDE installed and basic knowledge of uploading sketches.
Step 2: Wiring the Colorduino
The next step is to upload the attached code to the colorduino. To do this you can either use an FTDI adapter or another arduino. Since my FTDI adapter was broken i used my arduino to upload the code. This is good if you want put an Atmega328 chip into a breadboard and be able to program it. This method only works if you have an arduino with a replaceable chip.
1. First step to using the arduino as an FTDI programmer is to take out the Atmega328 Chip
2. Connect the wires as told in the Pin Connections table below
3. Change the board type in the Arduino IDE to: Arduino Duemilanove
4. Change to appropriate serial port
Colorduino || Arduino
DTR -> Reset
GND -> GND
TXD -> Pin 1
RXD -> Pin 0
VDD -> +5v
Step 3: Programming the Colorduino
In order to achieve scrolling text, two libraries are required. The Scroll library created for this instructable, as well as a modified version of the Colorduino Library by frederickk
Colorduino Library: https://github.com/Electromondo-Coding/Colorduino
Scroll Library: https://github.com/Electromondo-Coding/ColorduinoScrollerLibrary
To install the libraries, download the zip of the repo by hovering over the 'Clone/Download' and choosing 'Download Zip'. Then extract the zip in your Arduino's library folder (Documents/Arduino/libraries on Windows). Restart Arduino, and there should be two examples for the Scroll Library.
Step 4: Plugging in the Matrix
To connect the matrix to the colorduino, align pin 1 of the matrix to pin 1 on the colorduino. After plugging it you should see the message scrolling across the display!
Step 5: Demonstration and Final Thoughts
This code is just the start of the possibilities that the colorduino has to offer. You could make interactive displays, display graphics and pictures as well as making signs. Thanks for looking at my tutorial and I hope this has helped you in some way.