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Hello everyone!

I'm new to Arduino, I just ordered mine a few days ago, however I'm doing a (pretty ambitious) school project which prominently features a rather large LED matrix.
The project is a replica Zer0 helmet (from Borderlands 2) with a LED matrix in the faceplate to display the character's in game emotes.
I decided to use the Arduino Nano in this project due to it's small size.
After some measuring and extrapolating, I've concluded that the LED matrix I'm including in the helmet's faceplate will contain either a 24 by 40 LED matrix or a 24 by 32 LED matrix (that's 960 or 768 LEDs respectively).
I was thinking of using MAX7221 LED driver's for each grid of 8x8 LEDs.
Due to my lack of experience I have no idea how to go about wiring or coding something like this; so any help, advice or criticisms would be greatly appreciated.

(I should probably add that I took an introductory programming course last year, and that my dad is a computer programmer so he should be able to help me if I get stuck with the coding part of the project.  Also, I'm going to use single color, 5mm, red LEDs.)
« Last Edit: February 14, 2013, 08:39:39 pm by FlyingWaffle » Logged

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You could use AS1130, It drivers 132 LEDs in a 11x12 Matrix.
Basic guide how to do the led connections:
http://dkc1.digikey.com/us/en/tod/austriamicrosystems/as1130-led-driver_noaudio/as1130-led-driver_noaudio.html
http://dkc1.digikey.com/us/en/tod/austriamicrosystems/AS1115_NoAudio/AS1115_NoAudio.html
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Forgot, look at this a matrix with 528LEDs done with AS1130:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Agxh7WkdDQs
Nice thing is, it offers full 8bit PWM for each LED
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After some measuring and extrapolating, I've concluded that the LED matrix I'm including in the helmet's faceplate will contain either a 24 by 40 LED matrix or a 24 by 32 LED matrix (that's 960 or 768 LEDs respectively).

From the way you were talking I thought you were going to do a BIG matrix. 24x32 is fairly modest around here.

I was thinking of using MAX7221 LED driver's for each grid of 8x8 LEDs.

Good idea.

[/quote]
Due to my lack of experience I have no idea how to go about wiring or coding something like this; so any help, advice or criticisms would be greatly appreciated.

(I should probably add that I took an introductory programming course last year, and that my dad is a computer programmer so he should be able to help me if I get stuck with the coding part of the project.  Also, I'm going to use single color, 5mm, red LEDs.)
[/quote]

If I was you I'd buy prebuilt 8x8 modules and fit them together. It'll save a lot of work and end up far neater. 8x8 LED matrices don't really cost more than buying the individual LEDs.

eg. http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=8x8+red+led+matrix

You can fix one MAX7221 to the back of each module then all you need is power and SPI bus from the Arduino to control them - just six wires.
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Thanks for the replies, guys.  smiley-wink
I've decided to stick with the MAX7221 since there seems to be more documentation and libraries for it and since my project is very similar to one by Volpin Props:
http://volpinprops.blogspot.com/2011/09/daft-punk-helmet-thomas-final.html

I do have a few more questions though; I've gotten together a list of all the components I need to buy to make my matrix, but due to having little experience with electronics, I'd appreciate it if someone could look over it and tell me I've anything I plan on buying is wrong or something.
Here's the list:
http://store.gravitech.us/arna30wiatp.html  -  Arduino Nano v3.0
http://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/component-leds/5mm-red-led-45-degree-viewing-angle-3500-mcd/280/1207/   -   Red LEDs, ~960 of them
http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/MAX7221CWG%2B/MAX7221CWG%2B-ND/948194   -   MAX7221 (15)
http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/CFR-50JB-52-30K/30KH-ND/1524   -   30K OHM resistors (15)
http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/FK28X7R1E104K/445-8618-ND/2815548   -   0.1uF capacitor (15)
http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/FK26X7R1E106K/445-8552-ND/2815482   -   10uF capacitor (15)
These last three components are on the list because of what I read here: http://playground.arduino.cc/Main/MAX72XXHardware
And some ribbon cable so my wiring doesn't look like a rat's nest: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10647
I plan on buying custom circuit boards or etching my own for the MAX7221s.

Anything else I should know before "officially" starting this would be greatly appreciated!
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 06:24:42 pm by FlyingWaffle » Logged

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You could save a lot of money by going to http://www.taydaelectronics.com/ for the parts. I have bought quite a few parts from them and have not had anything fail or arrive in a non working state. Not knocking digikey..... just that the LED's from taeda of $0.05 each and they are over 10 times that at digikey. doing the math and using the quantity discount on digikey

980 x 0.44 = 431.12 digikey
980 x 0.05 = 49.00 tayda

a difference of $382.12 just on the LED's alone.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 01:48:16 am by daveydav27 » Logged

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Nick Gammon has a very good tutorial:
http://www.gammon.com.au/forum/?id=11516
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Thanks guys! That helps a lot, and now my shopping list is a ton cheaper.  smiley-money
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You could also use AS1107 as a cost down.
It is fully compatible to MAX7221:
http://www.digikey.com/product-search/en/integrated-circuits-ics/pmic-display-drivers/2556426?k=AS1107
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I'd clean up all these duplicate posts of yours Alex_K, but they're too scattered around. Don't shotgun them out like that again.
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