Wednesday, 7 May 2014

MAX7219 and the Arduino

I received my 8x8 LED Matrix with the MAXIM7219 chip that I bought on eBay.
Picture 40
and then I proceeded to try and get it up and running with the Arduino UNO that I have.
A quick search on the Internet didn’t really help me very much, at first. But then I found an Instructable that was actually useful, it makes use of the MakeSpace LEDControl library (LedControlMS.h). There were some other little gotchas along the way too. Like, how the hell do you install a user contributed library into the Arduino IDE? Fortunately, there is a guide on libraries on the Arduino website, so I was able to get the library and install it.
The library comes with an example sketch, so I used that as a starting point and started to scratch around in the code to see what I could do.
Picture 41
The example contains three very useful lines of comment:
pin 12 is connected to the DataIn
pin 11 is connected to the CLK
pin 10 is connected to LOAD
Apart from that, you connect GND on the board to GND on the Arduino and VCC on the board to 5V on the Arduino, compile and load and you are away!
The LED Matrix running after a little tinkering with the sketch.
The upshot is, the use of an LED Display Matrix is very easy. If I need to have a display happening on any of my electronic projects, I know what I’m going to use.
Also, I’ve had a look around the Internet for DIY LED Display Matrixes, and there are some projects out there that I might very well undertake for myself and see how far I can push it. One or two projects out there using tri-colour LED, they look pretty cool.

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