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Controlled by sound, joysticks, MIDI, or IR


In one sentence: this is an Arduino-powered, addressable, 25 x 13 RGB LED matrix which can be controlled by sound, joysticks, MIDI, or IR. Phew!
Here are some examples of what it can do:




This is an ambitious project. The frame measures 1800mm x 950mm, with each ‘pixel’ around 70mm. The LEDs are pre-wired in strings of 50, and they each have an RGB component and an IC. This allows each pixel of the matrix to be individually controlled.




ADDRESS: Each pixel has an IC which is addressable using an (x,y) protocol. For example, (0,0) would be the bottom left corner, while (9,12) would be the tenth column and the top row.

COLOR: Each pixel is an RGB LED assigned three values between 0 – 255. For example, (255, 0, 0) will produce a red pixel, while (255, 255, 255) will produce white.

POWER: Each LED draws about 20mA, at full brightness. And there are 3 LEDs per pixel, with 325 pixels.975 LEDs x 20mA = 19.5A. The LEDs operate on 5V, so I used 2 desktop PC (ATX) power supplies.


The ledMatrix also has an audio line in. With the help of a few external components (based around an MSGEQ7), the Arduino reacts to the changing audio – LEDs turn on, LEDs get brighter, etc.

Here’s a video of the ledMatrix responding to audio:


The ledMatrix can be controlled by a standard NES D-pad (joystick) as well. This ‘drawing’ program displays a palette down the left hand column, you ‘select’ a color with the B-button, then ‘paint’ with the A-button. It is primitive and fun. 13 lines of resolution!

There is also a MIDI line in, which can be used to trigger patterns, columns, etc, at the touch of a keyboard, the beat of a drum machine, etc, as well as an IR receiver which allows it to be controlled by a TV remote.

The frame is made of ¾” MDF, while the dividing grid is 1/8” hardboard. The diffuser on the front is a standard fluorescent light lens, but cut to size at a shop which carries material larger than the standard 2’ x 4’ you find at Home Depot.

Basic wiring


D-pad documentation