NEW PRODUCTS – Adafruit Small 1.2 8×8 LED Matrix w/I2C Backpacks! Red, Yellow, Green and Blue! Makers love our I2C LED backpacks – now we have them in a 1.2″ square size in FOUR fab colors: Red, Yellow, Green and Blue!. You can connect up to 8 of these on a single i2c bus or mix and match them with our 7-segment/bi-color/mini 8×8 backpacks.
What’s better than a single LED? Lots of LEDs! A fun way to make a small display is to use an 8×8 matrix or a 4-digit 7-segment display. Matrices like these are ‘multiplexed’ – so to control 64 LEDs you need 16 pins. That’s a lot of pins, and there are driver chips like the MAX7219 that can control a matrix for you but there’s a lot of wiring to set up and they take up a ton of space. Here at Adafruit we feel your pain! After all, wouldn’t it be awesome if you could control a matrix without tons of wiring? That’s where these lovely LED matrix backpacks come in. We have them in three flavors – a mini 0.7″ 8×8, a small 1.2″ 8×8 and a 4-digit 0.56″ 7-segment. They work perfectly with the matrices we stock in the Adafruit shop and make adding a bright little display trivial.
The matrices use a driver chip that does all the heavy lifting for you: They have a built in clock so they multiplex the display. They use constant-current drivers for ultra-bright, consistent color (the images above are photographed at the dimmest setting to avoid overloading our camera!), 1/16 step display dimming, all via a simple I2C interface. These 1.2″ matrix backpacks come with three address-selection jumpers so you can connect up to eight 1.2″ 8×8’s together (or a combination, such as four 1.2″ 8×8’s and four 7-segments, etc) on a single I2C bus.
The product kit comes with:
- A fully tested and assembled 1.2″ LED backpack
- Ultra-bright 1.2″ 8×8 matrix
- 4-pin header
A bit of soldering is required to attach the matrix onto the backpack but its very easy to do and only takes about 5 minutes.
Of course, in classic Adafruit fashion, we also have a detailed tutorial showing you how to solder, wire and control the display. We even wrote a very nice library for the backpacks so you can get running in under half an hour, displaying images on the matrix or numbers on the 7-segment. If you’ve been eying matrix displays but hesitated because of the complexity, this is the solution you’ve been looking for!