Freetronics’ big red DMD lights up on Arduino


Working on some upcoming Arduino projects for APC magazine, I’ve been having some fun with this 32×16-LED dot-matrix display (DMD) from local Aussie mob, Freetronics.

The one thing that has surprised me about it so far is how bright the LEDs are just driven by an Arduino Uno board without external power. I can imagine powered by a sizeable external brick, this thing could be seen half-way to Melbourne – well, maybe not, but then again…

Obviously, it has plenty of potential as a text display, but being able to access each individual LED gives this panel excellent capabilities for plenty of other applications. The fact it uses the Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) means the display is not only fast, even on a 16MHz ATMEGA328P controller, but it still leaves you with plenty of I/O ports on your Arduino to do other stuff.

At $40 or so, it’s quite reasonably priced – throw in the fact that its designed to gang together and there aren’t too many limitations. You can grab it from Freetronics or Jaycar Electronics.

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