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 backpacks come with address-selection jumpers so you can connect up to four mini 8×8’s to eight 7-segments or eight 1.2″ 8×8’s together (or a combination, such as four mini/1.2” 8×8’s and four 7-segments, etc) on a single I2C bus.
Make a scrolling sign, or a small video display with the 8×8 gridded pure green LED matrix. Only 1.2″ on a side, it is quite visible but not so large it wont plug into a breadboard! And you will squeak with delight when you hold this adorable miniature LED matrix. 0.8″ square, it’s got everything a big LED matrix has, but bite sized! 64 pure green 250mcd LEDs are contained inside the plastic body, in an 8×8 matrix. There are 16 pins on the side, 8 on each, with 0.1″ spacing so you can easily plug it into a breadboard with plenty of space to wire it up.
Since the display is in a grid, you’ll need to 1:8 multiplex control it. We suggest either using a 74HC595 and TPIC6B595 (using the 74HC’ to control the 8 anodes at once and then using the TPIC’ to drive one cathode at a time) or just using a single MAX7219 which will do the multiplexing work for you.
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.