a complete noob looking for advice

hi there,
i have been informed about arduino only recently and am excited by the stuff that can be done with it. i have seen this video clip on youtube which shows a section of a computer screen visualised on an LED display. I would very much be interested in making something like this but using alot more pixels (Maybe 864) and also want the pixels to be brighter, so i would need maybe 5 RGB LEDs for each pixel. Would this be possible with arduino and what would i need to get to make this? any help that can be given would be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ob6Z6BK323U this is the youtube link

Edo used 12x TLC5940 chips to drive the 64 RGB segments of his table. Apparently he used 2x multiplexing as 3 chips would be needed for driving a row of 8 LEDs. These chips are not cheap. I think Edo used a java/Processing application to do the screengrabbing and data transfer.

Currently (to my knowledge) some cheap and expandable ways of driving 64 RGB LEDs (or more by combining boards) with proper color mixing by pulse width modulation are:

  • halley’s SPI shield (you can find it in the forum)
  • my stand alone controller with a built in arduino core (more info on my blog)
  • Seeedstudio’s Rainbowduino (commercial product, fully assembled)

Do not underestimate the difficulties and cost you will run into when building larger displays. The cheapest 64-pixel RGB LED matrix out there still costs about 9? per piece.

alot more pixels (Maybe 864) and also want the pixels to be brighter, so i would need maybe 5 RGB LEDs for each pixel.

You will have 86435 LEDs in that case. That’s 12,960 LEDs. If you want to supple 20mA to each on, you’re looking at about 260 amps.

I think you will find the power requirements far more daunting than anything else.

That’s not true. Only one row will be on at a timer remember.

Well imagine how long it would take to solder/position all the led’s lol.
This is mostly done by huge company’s.

How much is it going to cost you to put something like this together?

It might work out more cost effective to buy a ready made LED screen

Paul, that is a fairly ambitious project. It will cost quite a lot for 4320 bright RGB LEDs (around $1000, I guess), and manufacture would be quite complex. Have you looked at some of the video-wall manufacturers (e.g. http://www.elnor.cn)

Are you experienced at building electronics?
If you can tell us what it is you want to do, we may be able to help more.