I have been an avid hacker of hardware for many years, and have recently decided to delve into more ambitious waters with a larger arduino rig, and I wanted to ask you kind people if the following is possible:
The project involves controlling a large scan matrix of LEDs, several hundreds, arranged in 16x16 matrices, and retrieving button data from an array of 16x16 buttons, too.
So I would need some very big shift registers to handle this. My question is more along the lines of what is feasible in terms of:
cost/size : will a finished pcb be as enormous as I fear? something like a 16x16x3 shiftOut PLUS a 16x16 shiftin would be large in footprint, even with smds, right? I plan to take the long road and work out a pro pcb layout in order to minimize size and assembly time.
learning : I am still going over the tutorials, but are there any resources specifically dedicated to running larger LED arrays like this, for instance LED signs?
functionality : Some demux hardware supports 4 “states” of LEDs, namely off, 2 pwm settings and then fully on - will these technologies translate to large arrays? From my readings there are two ways of handling scan matrices with ext. hardware demuxers: 1) maintain the storage of LED values on the computer, and 2) store the values on the LED drivers themselves - I would have to acheive 2) to make this project work.
Power : Hundreds of LEDs will suck juice - are there any tutorials on powering larger LED rigs in conjunction with the Arduino?
speed : will the arduino and serial interface be able to keep up with large amounts of digital data transfer for this? Clearing a LED matrix of 500 LEDs does require quite a bit of data output, I would guesstimate?
I really want to help design a board for connecting larger matrices effortlessly - currently I only see quite expensive boards for 8x8 LED control.
Thank you so much for helping out, I am really excited about getting into this project now.