Discrete LEDs Make a Micro Display

Kerry Scharfglass writes about this great project from Alex in Munich (@tinyledmatrix) on the Hackaday blog:

Discrete LEDs Make a Micro Display

Few things excite a Hackaday staff member more than a glowing LED, so it should be no surprise that combining them together into a matrix really gets us going. Make that matrix tiny, addressable, and chainable and you know it’ll be a hit at the virtual water cooler. We’ve seen [tinyledmatrix]’s work before but he’s back with the COPXIE, a pair of tiny addressable displays on one PCBA.

The sample boards seen at top are a particularly eye catching combination of OSH Park After Dark PCB and mysterious purple SMT LEDs that really explain the entire premise. Each PCBA holds two groups of discrete LEDs each arranged into a 5×7 display. There’s enough density here for a full Latin character set and simple icons and graphics, so there should be enough flexibility for all the NTP-synced desk clocks and train timetables a temporally obsessed hacker could want.

But a display is only as good as it’s SDK, right? The COPXIE is actually designed to be a drop in replacement for a different series of tiny LED matrices, the PIXIE by [Lixie Labs]. To complete the effect the COPXIE runs the same firmware and so has the same feature set. Each module (with two displays) can be controlled with just two pins (data and clock), and chains of more than 12 modules (24 displays) can be strung together. Plus there is a convenient Arduino friendly library which makes control a snap.

To build a COPXIE of your own, check out the schematic linked on the Hackaday.io page, and the layout at the OSH Park share link. Note that it seems like [tinyledmatrix] may not have completely validated these boards, but given there are plenty of photos of them working they seem like a safe bet.

Discrete LEDs Make a Micro Display

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