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Topic: LED RGB Matrix Backpack Choice? (Read 1 time) previous topic - next topic


Ok, I'm pretty new to Arduino.  My primary background in microcontrollers has been in PIC Micro's, programming in assembly.  I'm interested in the quick turn-around time by using a higher level language to do programming, so I've decided to check out the Arduinos.

I have my Uno on the way.  On to my question.  My project consists of making a smart LED RGB Matrix clock, using 4 of the 8x8 matrices.  I didn't want to get too involved with the driving of the LEDs and everything, so I have opted to settle on using backpacks.  My question is, which one should I choose?

Sparkfun backpack would be the most expensive solution.
Colorduino is the next cheapest, but looks like it has been the most recently developed.
Rainbowduino is the cheapest, and looks like it's been around a while.

From just glancing at the supporting documentation, it looks like they are all built using similar drivers, so it looks like the choice comes mostly down to available firmware.

Eventually, the Uno will be doing a lot of other stuff, so I don't want it tied down with the display, which is why I'm choosing the backpacks.

Any suggestions?


The rainbowduino and colorduino are essentially equivalent. Maybe even software compatible.

The sparkfun 'thing' is close to usury.


Thanks for the reply.  It looks like, after a little digging, that the Colorduino has a hardware PWM module, that the Rainbowduino lacks, and instead does in software.  Probably not a huge deal, since I won't be using the on-board processor on the matrix controller, but a UNO instead...


Yes, I must have overlooked the different driver chip. Included hardware PWM is definitely a large pro. It still has to do the row 1:8 row scanning, but off-loading the PWM will free quite a lot of cpu time. I'd buy it ;-)

I wonder where they get those nice driver chips from. If I had known about this one a couple of years ago...


+1 for the Colorduino.  Keep in mind that it's not a shield, it *is* an Arduino.  Nice design, easy to integrate into other projects.

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