The Matrix

A bendable LED matrix display

The Matrix is an I2C-controlled 24x5 LED matrix display, powered by an AMS AS1130 LED driver. It's made of 0.2mm thick circuit board so it can slightly bend. A few can be chained together for a larger display.

The project was made possible by the kind support of AMS who donated the LED drivers, and Eurocircuits who subsidised the cost of the PCBs.

The circuit and software

A microcontroller or other driving circuit needs to give instructions to the LED driver via the I2C protocol. Otherwise nothing happens when you turn the board 'on'. At a minimum the board requires power, ground, and the two I2C pins, SDA and SCK.

Luckily, two Boldport Club members have written drivers for the chip.

Rufus Cable (aka @ThreeBytesFull) wrote 'matrix-pi', a Python library with an optional browser interface, perfect for the likes of the Raspberry Pi.

Lucky Resistor wrote 'LRAS1130', a comprehensive library for Arduino.


Here is a list of components that come with the kit

The green triangle on the LED should match the white triangle on the circuit board.

A suitable header for chaining these multiple boards is Samtec's TSM-108-02-L-DH (not included in the kit).

The capacitors can go on either C1 or C2. The 10µF capacitor is the larger of the two and comes in a clear casing. The 4.7KΩ resistors go on R1 to R4 (pull-ups for RSTn, IRQ, SCL, SDA, respectively) where R5 (ADDR) is kept unpopulated (unless you're chaining boards). The LED multiplexing schematic appears on page 52 of the AS1130's datasheet where LED 00 is on the top left of the board.

The LEDs are polarised and must go on the board the right way. The green triangle on the back of the LED needs to match the white triangle on the board.

The components can be soldered by hand. If you'd like to use solderpaste to solder them, OSH Stencils kindly offers a 15% discount on stencils for this project. Simply click here, add the stencils to your order, and the discount will be automatically applied. Or, you could download the stencil Gerbers and make them yourself!

Further information

The Matrix is an open source design, as is most of our work. You can find the design files for the hardware and packaging at our GitHub repository. You can edit the design files using our own PCB design open source software, PCBmodE.

The Matrix was Project #11 of the Boldport Club. If you'd like to purchase a kit, become a member and add one to your order through the shop.

We'd like to thank AMS and Eurocircuits for their support in making this project possible, and to Farnell for the best possible price for the LEDs.

Thanks to Erbsland Art for taking lovely picture of the project. Full album is here.

Finally, community contributions for this project are on our community site.