Long, dark winter nights demand some tinkering and crafts. Arduino LED projects are fun, but custom circuit boards might not always be in the budget. Thankfully, discrete LEDs can be found on Ebay for less than 1¢ apiece, and cardboard circuits are a thing. Can we build a scrolling marquee display with nothing more than some LEDs, cardboard, and paper?
The LED marquee is laid out on cardboard, with dividers to separate pixels. A little screen on top diffuses the light.
And how to handle all the LEDs?
We will use a “Charlieplexing” layout to control many LEDs using only a few pins. This can be a difficult to lay out by hand. Thankfully, there is a trick: if we’re willing to tilt the grid diagonally, we can use a pattern that is easy to layout and assemble. The code to drive the display gets a bit confusing, but one can always manually map the LED locations one-by-one, if push comes to shove.
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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.