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Rajendra Bhatt's Chainable 8x8 Easy Matrix LED Controller

Gareth Halfacree

In case you hadn't noticed from our well-stocked LED range and coverage of previous projects, we're fans of the light-emitting diode here at oomlout. One of our favourite examples of novel LED packages is the 8x8 matrix, but even we're impressed by how far maker Rajendra Bhatt has taken the technology in the creation of the Easy Matrix module. Fully open hardware, the Easy Matrix - available from independent store-front Tindie - combines a single-colour 8x8 LED matrix with a MAX7219 controller. The result: the ability to not only drive the matrix from just three Arduino IO pins, but to quickly daisy-chain them into a scrollable panel of arbitrary length. Rajendra's demonstration project, a Bluetooth-enabled signboard, demonstrates this perfectly and should convince even the most hard-hearted of hackers that the Easy Matrix design has considerable merit over driving each display individually. For those who want more colour, jolliFactory offers a similar board for our bi-colour matrices, on which Rajendra's design was based.

I designed 8×8 LED matrix modules and daisy-chained eight of them to make the 8 rows x 64 columns matrix required for this project. Each module consists of an 8×8 monochromatic LED dot matrix display with onboard MAX7219 driver chip. I have named this module Easy Matrix.

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