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Support for Matrix LED box sign project needed - I'm new in
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Support for Matrix LED box sign project needed - I'm new in

by In_Produkt on Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:34 pm

Hello there,

I want to build up a box sign like this one:
Image
for our next Eco Grand Prix race end of November.
The box sign is for our big Lego Crewmen Niki - here you can see a short stop motion video with him.

In the case of the size from Niki the Adafruit Matrix LED product should be fit very fine.
https://www.adafruit.com/product/2278

In the next days I will be start with the detailed construction phase. My problem is, that I have very low knowlege about the electronic stuff.
If there is somebody who can help me to realize this swiss project.

My Ideas are:
  • I use three of them in a row
  • I need a data port to "write" the text like "BOX NEXT ROUND" or "3 SECOUNDS FASTER" at the sign during the race.
  • On one side of the handels I will place the battery for this sign. On the other side I will place the electronic and data port.

My expireance:
  • Most of the non electronic parts I can create and produce in my own shop.
  • I build up some lithophane lamps in the past. For that I had to solder some LED strips. My soldering skills should be good enough for such a project.
  • In the last 8 years I programmed a lot of things with perl or Visual Basic. I think I can learn an other code language as well, but the time is for me very short.

I need help to understand what I need beside the three matrix LED panels. Also I need some help to create the program code so that we can generate new text messages during the race.

P.S.: If somebody support me by this project than I will ofcourse some 3D print jobs for you.

In_Produkt
 
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Re: Support for Matrix LED box sign project needed - I'm new

by adafruit_support_mike on Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:38 am

LED matrices use a lot of power.. usually about 4A @ 5V for a single 64x32 matrix. If you want the sign to be battery powered, you'll need a large battery to make it last very long.

In terms of control, a Raspberry Pi Zero-W connected with an RGB Matrix Bonnet can easily control three matrices:

https://www.adafruit.com/product/3400
https://www.adafruit.com/product/3211

The Zero-W also has built-in Wifi, so you can use a wireless connection to change what's displayed on the matrices.

The Matrix Bonnet tutorial will show you how to make the connections and what software to use:

https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-rgb ... spberry-pi

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Re: Support for Matrix LED box sign project needed - I'm new

by In_Produkt on Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:55 pm

Thanks for your information. I had not the power consumption in my mind. I want to use a 5000 mAh LiPo for this project, but know I need more.
If there is the possibility to use a other product to get the same "result"? Maybe a product which need less energy.

Edit:
Can I try to program the code and test it virtuel? I ask because I stay one month not at my appartment and in this time I can test the code.

In_Produkt
 
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Re: Support for Matrix LED box sign project needed - I'm new

by adafruit_support_mike on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:43 pm

In_Produkt wrote:If there is the possibility to use a other product to get the same "result"? Maybe a product which need less energy.

Anything with the same number of LEDs will use about the same amount of power. Each LED uses about 20mA when lit, so that's the standard value used in power calculations.

In_Produkt wrote:Can I try to program the code and test it virtuel? I ask because I stay one month not at my appartment and in this time I can test the code.

I don't know of any virtual simulators for LED matrices, but you could build a matrix from NeoPixel strips and control them from a FadeCandy interface board:

https://www.adafruit.com/category/183
https://www.adafruit.com/product/1689

NeoPixels only need one data line to control an entire strip, and each pixel has a built-in LED control circuit. You tell it what color to display, and the chip does the rest. That means the device that controls the pixels doesn't have to generate high-frequency updates to do color matching, so controlling NeoPixels is easier than controlling an LED matrix.

The FadeCandy is a NeoPixel controller that can run 8 NeoPixel strips simultaneously, and takes its input from a computer. You can generate the graphics you want on the computer, and the FadeCandy control program will convert it to signals that tell the strip what to do.

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Re: Support for Matrix LED box sign project needed - I'm new

by In_Produkt on Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:04 am

I have another question.
Is it possible to get a CAD-file from the matrix LED panel for my construction? I received the parts not before the 2th of November because I´m not in my workshop.

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Re: Support for Matrix LED box sign project needed - I'm new

by adafruit_support_mike on Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:32 pm

I'm afraid we don't have anything like that. We don't make the matrices, so we don't have any design files for them.

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Re: Support for Matrix LED box sign project needed - I'm new

by In_Produkt on Sun Oct 13, 2019 1:03 pm

Do you know who is the manufacturer?
If not, do you want the reverse engineered CAD file when I project are done?

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Re: Support for Matrix LED box sign project needed - I'm new

by adafruit_support_mike on Sun Oct 13, 2019 1:53 pm

We know the manufacturer, but our supplier contracts forbid sharing source information with third parties.

If you create your own model, you're welcome to post it online if you want. There will be some limits to its long-term value though. We buy LED matrices on the secondary market.. usually excess stock from manufacturers on contract to make matrices for companies that do LED billboards.

If you have to deliver 100 working displays, you build 105 to leave a 5% margin for unexpected problems. If 104 of them work, and you ship 100 to the client who ordered them, you're left with 4 working displays that will only consume shelf space. You can clear out some storage and make some extra money selling those 4 to someone who's willing to take what they can get. LED matrix manufacturers work in quantities of 10k or more, so the amount of excess they can sell to the secondary market is fairly large.

We don't require fully-specified displays though. We make sure the signal connections are always the same, and the overall dimensions are fairly consistent, but smaller design details like the exact positions of the mounting screws can change from one batch to the next.

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Re: Support for Matrix LED box sign project needed - I'm new

by In_Produkt on Sun Oct 13, 2019 2:29 pm

Ahhh nice to know. Thanks for this information,

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Re: Support for Matrix LED box sign project needed - I'm new

by In_Produkt on Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:34 pm

I would like to show you the first look at our project.
Lego_Crewmen_6_Boxentafel.PNG
Our race leader Niki with the box sign
Lego_Crewmen_6_Boxentafel.PNG (255.19 KiB) Viewed 121 times


We use 3 Neopixel 64x32 with 4 mm pitch.

I order the following parts next week, so that I received this until the 8th of November. At this day I can start with the electronic experimation.
Did I forgot something?

I read also the complete documentation, but I don't realize how can I say please text "BOX" to the first display and "1 LAP" to the display two. Also what is necessary that I can send new text to the box sign?

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Re: Support for Matrix LED box sign project needed - I'm new

by adafruit_support_mike on Mon Oct 28, 2019 2:16 am

A RasPi with a Matrix Hat uses the hzeller code library:

https://github.com/hzeller/rpi-rgb-led-matrix

The library has examples that show how to do things like write text to a matrix:

https://github.com/hzeller/rpi-rgb-led- ... ng-started

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Re: Support for Matrix LED box sign project needed - I'm new

by In_Produkt on Fri Nov 01, 2019 12:34 pm

Hi Mike,

a question the Raspberry Pi Zero and the Bonnet Board are not available in the shop right now. I get the Bonnet Board from a swiss distributor, but not the Pi with the BCM43143 chip.
In the documentation are written Pi2 and Pi3 can controll the panels. In the marked are also the Pi4.
Which Pi can I use?

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Re: Support for Matrix LED box sign project needed - I'm new

by adafruit_support_mike on Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:30 pm

The Bonnet will work with any RasPi with a 2x20 header.

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Re: Support for Matrix LED box sign project needed - I'm new

by In_Produkt on Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:27 am

Hello Mike, or somebody else :)
yesterday I realized my first Adafruit product project with two Neopixel rings for some googles.
Now I feel me a little bit "saver" to start with this Matrix LED panel project.

But I checked my battery and she is dead :( So I need a other one.
To prefent some problems later. When I use a LiPo 3S (11.1 Volt) than I need a step down converter to 5 volt. Is this correct?

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Re: Support for Matrix LED box sign project needed - I'm new

by adafruit_support_mike on Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:06 am

Yes. A step-down converter like these should work:

https://www.adafruit.com/product/1385
https://www.adafruit.com/product/1065

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