Adafruit has this week announced the arrival of the new Arduino RGB Matrix Shield which is now available to purchase priced at $5.95. Any of your projects that use a Arduino-compatible board, equipped with an ATmega328p chip, such as the Metro 328 or SAMD21, like the Metro M0 or even SAMD51 similar to the Metro M4 this shield is easy-to-use and install.
For 800mA or less power usage on the matrix you can even ‘borrow’ the 5V power from the Arduino’s regulator. That is also worth noting that this shield is just a wiring adapter, if you have a Metro 328 you can only use 16×32 or possibly 32×32 matrices before you run out of RAM. For big panels, use a Metro M0 or M4. Adafruit explains a little more.
“This isn’t good for projects where you have a lot of LEDs on at once but for scrolling text and light LED usage it will make wiring even easier because you don’t need a separate power adapter. Of course, if you need 1 Amp or more, just use the 2×8 connector for data and use a separate 5V 2A or 5V 4A wall adapter directly to the panel.
Our RGB matricies are dazzling, with their hundreds or even thousands of individual RGB LEDs. Compared to NeoPixels, they’ve got great density, power usage and the price-per-LED can’t be beat. But…(isn’t there always a but?) You need to use our special library to control them and they require a bunch of wires to be plugged in.
Tougher than a single-wire connection for sure. A little light soldering to attach the headers, connector and terminal block and you’re ready to rock. Plug it onto your microcontroller board, and you’ll be able to attach any RGB matrix with ease. This shield just takes care of the wiring for you! Please note our Arduino library only supports 32-pixel tall matrices, so don’t try using a 64×64 matrix, it doesn’t work!”
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