Adafruit RGB Matrix + Real Time Clock HAT for Raspberry... Created by lady ada Last updated on 2016-03-01 05:17:50 PM EST

Adafruit RGB Matrix + Real Time Clock HAT for Raspberry... Created by lady ada Last updated on 2016-03-01 05:17:50 PM EST
Adafruit RGB Matrix + Real Time Clock HAT for Raspberry Pi
Created by lady ada
Last updated on 2016-03-01 05:17:50 PM EST
Guide Contents
Guide Contents
Overview
Pinouts
I2C / RTC pins
5V protection circuitry and backpower diode
Matrix Drive pins
2
3
7
7
7
9
Matrix Color Pins
Matrix Control pins
RGB Matrix Address pins
9
10
10
Assembly
Solder on Headers and Terminal Block
11
11
And Solder!
12
Driving Matrices
Step 1. Plug HAT into Raspberry Pi
Step 2. Connect Matrix Power cable to terminal block
Step 3. Connect RGB Matrix Data cable to IDC
Step 4. Power up your Pi via MicroUSB (optional but suggested)
Step 5. Plug in the 5V DC power for the Matrix
Check that the Matrix plugs are installed and in the right location
Step 6. Log into your Pi to install and run software
Rows
Chained
Time Running
Demo
25
26
26
26
Using the Python Library
Using the RTC
HELP!
Downloads
Datasheets
Schematic
Fabrication Print
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Overview
You can now create a dazzling display with your Raspberry Pi Model A+/B+ with the Adafruit RGB
Matrix HAT. This HAT plugs into your Pi and makes it super easy to control RGB matrices such as
those we stock in the shop and create a colorful scrolling display or mini LED wall with ease.
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This HAT is our finest to date, full of some really great circuitry. Let me break it down for you:
Simple design - plug in power, plug in IDC cable, run our Python code!
Power protection circuitry - you can plug a 5V 4A wall adapter into the HAT and it will
automatically protect against negative, over or under-voltages! Yay for no accidental destruction
of your setup.
Onboard level shifters to convert the RasPi's 3.3V to 5.0V logic for clean and glitch free matrix
driving
DS1307 Real Time Clock can keep track of time for the Pi even when it is rebooted or powered
down, to make for really nice time displays
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Works with any of our 16x32, 32x32 or 32x64 RGB LED Matrices with HUB75
connections (http://adafru.it/emd). You can even chain multiple matrices together for a longer display we've only tested up to 32x128, the bigger the display the harder it is on the Pi so keep that in mind!
Please note: this HAT is only for use with HUB75 type RGB Matrices. Not for use with NeoPixel,
DotStar, or other 'addressable' LEDs.
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Each order comes with a HAT PCB with all surface mount parts assembled, a 2x20 female socket
connector, a 2 pin terminal block, and a 2x8 IDC socket connector. A CR1220 coin cell is not included
to make air shipping easier, please order one seperately (http://adafru.it/em8) if you do not have one
and would like to use the real time clock.
RGB Matrix is not included, please check out our fine selection (http://adafru.it/emd)!
A 5V power supply is also required, not included, for power the matrix itself, the Pi cannot do it, to
calculate the power, multiply the width of all the chained matrices * 0.12 Amps : A 32 pixel wide matrix
can end up drawing 32*0.12 = 3.85A so pick up a 5V 4A power supply (http://adafru.it/e50).
Raspberry Pi not included (but we have 'em in the shop so pick one up, model A+ or B+
only!) (http://adafru.it/eme)
Some light soldering is required to attach the headers to your Pi. A soldering iron and solder are
required, but its not a complex soldering job and most beginners can do it in about 15 minutes.
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Pinouts
This HAT uses a lot of pins to drive the RGB Matrix. With a B+ you'll still have a couple left over but
just be aware these are the pins that are used
Unused GPIO pins: RX, TX, 18, 24, 25, MOSI, MISO, SCLK, CE0, CE1, 19
I2C / RTC pins
The DS1307 Real Time Clock soldered onboard is connected to the I2C pins SDA and SCL - these
can still be used for other I2C sensors and devices as long as they are not on address 0x68
To use the Real Time Clock, a CR1220 3V lithium battery is required.
5V protection circuitry and backpower
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diode
LED matrix panels require 5V power and a lot of it! 5V 2A at a minimum and you can easily need a
5V 4A or 5V 10A supply for big stretches of panels!
Each matrix has 64 pixels (16x32 or 32x32 panels) or 128 pixels (for the 32x64 panels) lit at one time.
Each pixel can draw up to 0.06 Amps each if on full white. The total max per panel is thus 64 * 0.06 =
3.95 Amps or 128 * 0.06 = 7.68 Amps
That's if all the LEDs are on at once, which is not likely - but still, its good to have at least half for the
power supply in case you get bright!
5V power from a wall plug goes into the DC jack on the HAT which then goes through a fancy
protection circuit that makes sure the voltage is not higher than 5.8V - this means that if you
accidentally grab a 9V or 12V plug or a reverse polarity plug you will not damage the HAT, Pi and
panels. (Please note, this does not protect against extreme damage, if you plug in a 120VAC
output into the DC jack or continuously try to plug in the wrong voltage you could still cause damage
so please do be careful!)
We recommend powering your driving Raspberry Pi from the Pi's microUSB port but we do have a 1A
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diode on board that will automatically power the Pi if/when the voltage drops. So if you want, just plug
in the 5V wall adapter into the HAT and it will automagically power up the Pi too!
The green LED next to the DC jack will indicate that the 5V power is good, make sure it is lit when
trying to use the HAT!
Matrix Drive pins
The matrix does not work like 'smart' pixels you may have used, like NeoPixels or DotStars or
LPD8806 or WS2801 or what have you. The matrix panels are very 'dumb' and have no memory or
self-drawing capability.
Data must be constantly streamed to the matrix for an image to display! So all of these pins are always
used when drawing to the display
All these pins go thru a 74AHCT145 level shifter to convert the 3.3V logic from the Pi to the 5V logic
required by the panels
Matrix Color Pins
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Pi GPIO #5 - Matrix R1 (Red row 1) pin
This pin controls the red LEDs on the top half of the display
Pi GPIO #13 - Matrix G1 (Green row 1) pin
This pin controls the green LEDs on the top half of the display
Pi GPIO #6 - Matrix B1 (Blue row 1) pin
This pin controls the blue LEDs on the top half of the display
Pi GPIO #12 - Matrix R2 (Red row 2) pin
This pin controls the red LEDs on the bottom half of the display
Pi GPIO #16 - Matrix G2 (Green row2) pin
This pin controls the green LEDs on the bottom half of the display
Pi GPIO #23 - Matrix B2 (Blue row 2) pin
This pin controls the blue LEDs on the bottom half of the display
Matrix Control pins
Pi GPIO #4 - Matrix OE (output enable) pin
This pin controls whether the LEDs are lit at all
Pi GPIO #17 - Matrix CLK (clock) pin
This pin is the high speed clock pin for clocking RGB data to the matrix
Pi GPIO #21 - Matrix LAT (latch) pin
This pin is the data latching pin for clocking RGB data to the matrix
RGB Matrix Address pins
Pi GPIO #22 - Matrix A (address A) pin
This pin is part of the 1->16 or 1->8 multiplexing circuitry.
Pi GPIO #26 - Matrix B (address B) pin
This pin is part of the 1->16 or 1->8 multiplexing circuitry.
Pi GPIO #27 - Matrix C (address C) pin
This pin is part of the 1->16 or 1->8 multiplexing circuitry.
Pi GPIO #20 - Matrix D (address D) pin
This pin is part of the 1->16 multiplexing circuitry. Used for 32-pixel tall displays only
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Assembly
Solder on Headers and Terminal Block
Before we can a-blinkin' there's a little soldering to be done. This step will attach the 2x20 socket
header so that we can plug this HAT into a Raspberry Pi, the 2x8 header so we can plug the RGB
matrix into the HAT, and a terminal block so you can power the matrix through the HAT.
Start by plugging the 2x20 header into a Raspberry Pi, this will keep the header
stable while you solder. Make sure the Pi is powered down!
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Place the HAT on top so that the short pins of the 2x20 header line up with the
pads on the HAT
And Solder!
Heat up your iron and solder in one header connection on the right.
Once it is soldered, put down the solder and reheat the solder point with your
iron while straightening the HAT so it isn't leaning down
(For tips on soldering, be sure to check out our Guide to Excellent
Soldering (http://adafru.it/aTk)).
Solder one point on the opposite side of the connector
Solder each of the connections for the top row
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Flip the board around and solder all the connections for the other half of the
2x20 header
Check over your work so far, make sure each solder point is shiny, and isn't
bridged or dull or cracked
Place the 2 pin terminal block first, make sure the two 'mouths' are facing
outwards
Use some tape to stick the terminal down in place
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Flip the board over, the tape should keep the terminal block in place
Solder the two big connections, use plenty of solder!
Check your work, the connections should be solid and shiny
Next up we will attach the 2x8 IDC header. Unlike the 2x20 header, this
connector has a direction!
Notice in the middle there's an outline for the connector in the middle. On the
right it says HUB75 and on the left of the connector there is a little 'cutout'
shape. This cutout shape must match up with the cut out on the connector.
If you solder it in backwards, its not a huge deal, you can use diagonal cutters
to cut out a notch on the opposite side, but if you get it right then you will never
have to worry about plugging in your matrix data cable the wrong way
Place the connector in the slot so that the notched side is on the left
Use some tape to hold the IDC connector in place
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Flip the board over, the tape should keep the connector from falling out
Solder in all the pins like you did with the 2x20 connector
Check your work! Make sure all the solder points are clean and not shorted or
cracked or dull
Flip the board around & solder up the other half!
Check your work one last time...now continue to testing!
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Driving Matrices
OK we're onto the fun part now! Be sure you have completed the Assembly step before continuing, the
soldering is not optional
Step 1. Plug HAT into Raspberry Pi
Shut down your Pi and remove power. Plug the HAT on so all the 2x20 pins go into the GPIO header.
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Step 2. Connect Matrix Power cable to
terminal block
Your RGB matrix came with a red & black power cable. One end has a 4-pin MOLEX connector that
goes into the matrix. The other end probably has a spade connector. If you didn't get a spade
connector, you may have to cut off the connector and tin the wires to plug them into the terminal block
Either way, unscrew the terminal blocks to loosen them, and plug the red wire into the + side, and the
black wire into the - side.
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Step 3. Connect RGB Matrix Data cable
to IDC
The RGB matrix also came with a 2x8 data cable. Connect one end to the matrix's INPUT side and the
other end to the IDC socket on the HAT.
It wont damage the matrix if you accidentally get the cable connected to the output end of the matrix
but it wont work so you might as well get it right first time!
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Step 4. Power up your Pi via MicroUSB
(optional but suggested)
Connect your Raspberry Pi to power via the microUSB cable, just like you normally would to power it
up.
You can power the Pi via the 5V wall plug that is also used for the Matrix but its best to have it
powered seperately
Step 5. Plug in the 5V DC power for the
Matrix
OK now you can plug in your 5V 2A or 4A or larger wall adapter into the HAT. This will turn the green
LED on but nothing will display on your matrix yet because no software is running!
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Check that the Matrix plugs are installed
and in the right location
IDC goes into the INPUT side (look for any arrows, arrows point from INPUT side to OUTPUT)
Power plug installed, red wires go to VCC, black wires to GND
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Step 6. Log into your Pi to install and run
software
OK now you are ready to run the Pi software. You will need to get into a command line via the HDMI
monitor, ssh or console cable. You will also need to make sure your Pi is on the Internet via a WiFi or
Ethernet connection.
First, let's install some prerequisite software for compiling the code:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install python-dev python-imaging
Then download and uncompress the matrix code package from github (http://adafru.it/ewy):
wget https://github.com/adafruit/rpi-rgb-led-matrix/archive/master.zip
unzip master.zip
The LED-matrix library is (c) Henner Zeller h.zeller@acm.org with GNU General Public License
Version 2.0 http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.txt (http://adafru.it/ewN)
(Our fork adds HAT/B+/Pi2 support (http://adafru.it/ewy))
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Overclocked Raspberry Pi boards may produce visual glitches on the LED matrix. If you
encounter such trouble, first thing to try is to set the Pi to the default (non-overclocked) speed
using raspi-config, then reboot and retest.
Now you can cd to the folder of source code and compile the demo with make
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cd rpi-rgb-led-matrix-master/
make
Now you can run the test/demo software led-matrix
You'll want to change up the command flags based on how many matrices you have
Rows
The # of rows is indicated with -r
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If you are using a 16 pixel tall matrix (a 16x32) use -r 16
If you are using 32 pixel tall matrix (64x32 or 32x32) use -r 32
Chained
Each matrix is considered 32 pixels wide. If you have multiple matrices chained use -c to increase the
width. If you have 3 chained together, use -c 3 If you have a 64x32 matrix, it looks like 2 chained
32x32 so use -c 2
Time Running
You can run the demo for a given amount of time with -t e.g. -t 60 is 60 seconds
Demo
There's a bunch of built-in demos you can run to test out the matrix, start with -D 0 which will show a
spinning rainbow square or you can run the -D 1 scrolling image demo, just give it a ppm image to
display.
The demos kinda run, but I’m seeing weird rectangles and glitches.
If your Pi is overclocked, or if you’re using a Raspberry Pi 2, you may need to dial back the matrix
control speed slightly. This can be done with the -w option, which sets the number of write cycles
(higher numbers are slower). The default is 1 cycle for Raspberry Pi Model A, B and similar, and 2
cycles for Pi 2. If you see glitches, try entering a higher value such as -w4 and test again, up or down
until you arrive at a value that works reliably.
Using the Python Library
We have a Python library for drawing on the display. To use this, you'll need the rgbmatrix.so file
(created with the 'make' command earlier). Since it's still in an early state, we've not made this an
installable Python module; you'll need that .so file in the same directory as any matrix code you write.
There are two examples. The first, matrixtest.py, shows how to clear the display, fill it with a solid
color or plot individual pixels. These functions all have an immediate effect on the display…simple to
use, but not great for smooth animation.
#!/usr/bin/python
# Simple RGBMatrix example, using only Clear(), Fill() and SetPixel().
# These functions have an immediate effect on the display; no special
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# refresh operation needed.
# Requires rgbmatrix.so present in the same directory.
import time
from rgbmatrix import Adafruit_RGBmatrix
# Rows and chain length are both required parameters:
matrix = Adafruit_RGBmatrix(32, 1)
# Flash screen red, green, blue (packed color values)
matrix.Fill(0xFF0000)
time.sleep(1.0)
matrix.Fill(0x00FF00)
time.sleep(1.0)
matrix.Fill(0x0000FF)
time.sleep(1.0)
# Show RGB test pattern (separate R, G, B color values)
for b in range(16):
for g in range(8):
for r in range(8):
matrix.SetPixel(
(b / 4) * 8 + g,
(b & 3) * 8 + r,
(r * 0b001001001) / 2,
(g * 0b001001001) / 2,
b * 0b00010001)
time.sleep(10.0)
matrix.Clear()
A second example uses the Python Imaging Library (PIL) to add support for drawing shapes (lines,
circles, etc.) and loading images (GIF, PNG, JPEG, etc.). PIL is not always installed by default on
some systems, so let's start with:
sudo apt-get install python-imaging
Unlike the prior example, PIL graphics do not have an immediate effect on the display. The
image is drawn into a separate buffer, which is then copied to the matrix. On the plus side, this extra
step affords us the opportunity for smooth animation and scrolling.
The rgbmatrix.so library only supports these image modes: RGB (full color) (RGBA is also supported
but the alpha channel is ignored); color palette (such as GIF images use); and bitmap (black/white).
Colorspaces like CMYK and YCbCr are not directly handled, but you might be able to convert these to
RGB through other PIL functions.
Core PIL image functions are explained here: The Image Module (http://adafru.it/dvE)
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Graphics functions (lines, etc.) are here: The ImageDraw Module (http://adafru.it/dfH)
matrixtest2.py demonstrates simple drawing, image loading and scrolling. Super important: notice
that the PIL Image id (not the Image object itself) is passed to SetImage(). Also, if you're loading an
image file both the open() and load() functions need to be called before invoking SetImage(). All this
can be seen in the example…
#!/usr/bin/python
# A more complex RGBMatrix example works with the Python Imaging Library,
# demonstrating a few graphics primitives and image loading.
# Note that PIL graphics do not have an immediate effect on the display -# image is drawn into a separate buffer, which is then copied to the matrix
# using the SetImage() function (see examples below).
# Requires rgbmatrix.so present in the same directory.
# PIL Image module (create or load images) is explained here:
# http://effbot.org/imagingbook/image.htm
# PIL ImageDraw module (draw shapes to images) explained here:
# http://effbot.org/imagingbook/imagedraw.htm
import Image
import ImageDraw
import time
from rgbmatrix import Adafruit_RGBmatrix
# Rows and chain length are both required parameters:
matrix = Adafruit_RGBmatrix(32, 1)
# Bitmap example w/graphics prims
image = Image.new("1", (32, 32)) # Can be larger than matrix if wanted!!
draw = ImageDraw.Draw(image) # Declare Draw instance before prims
# Draw some shapes into image (no immediate effect on matrix)...
draw.rectangle((0, 0, 31, 31), fill=0, outline=1)
draw.line((0, 0, 31, 31), fill=1)
draw.line((0, 31, 31, 0), fill=1)
# Then scroll image across matrix...
for n in range(-32, 33): # Start off top-left, move off bottom-right
matrix.Clear()
# IMPORTANT: *MUST* pass image ID, *NOT* image object!
matrix.SetImage(image.im.id, n, n)
time.sleep(0.05)
# 8-bit paletted GIF scrolling example
image = Image.open("cloud.gif")
image.load()
# Must do this before SetImage() calls
matrix.Fill(0x6F85FF) # Fill screen to sky color
for n in range(32, -image.size[0], -1): # Scroll R to L
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matrix.SetImage(image.im.id, n, 0)
time.sleep(0.025)
# 24-bit RGB scrolling example.
# The adafruit.png image has a couple columns of black pixels at
# the right edge, so erasing after the scrolled image isn't necessary.
matrix.Clear()
image = Image.open("adafruit.png")
image.load()
for n in range(32, -image.size[0], -1):
matrix.SetImage(image.im.id, n, 1)
time.sleep(0.025)
matrix.Clear()
I'm drawing shapes but nothing's appearing on the matrix!
PIL graphics draw into an Image buffer, not directly to the display. Call SetImage() (passing the Image
id as a parameter) each time you want the matrix updated.
It mostly works but I'm seeing sparkles and glitches!
If your Pi is overclocked, or using a Pi 2, it may be necessary to dial back the I/O speed slightly, just
like the “-w” option for the led-matrix software previously described. The SetWriteCycles() function sets
the I/O speed, higher values are slower. For example:
matrix.SetWriteCycles(4)
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Using the RTC
We had a little space and thought a real time clock would be a nice pairing for this HAT so we tossed
on a DS1307 real time clock (RTC). This clock uses a 32.768KHz crystal and backup battery to let the
HAT & Pi keep track of time even when power is lost and there's no network access. This makes it
great for time displays!
A 12mm 3V Lithium Coin Cell (CR1220) is REQUIRED to use the RTC! It will not work without
one! (http://adafru.it/em8)
Once you have installed the coin cell into the HAT, go ahead and follow this fine Pi+DS1307 tutorial
which will show you how to program the current time into the RTC, then have the Pi automatically get
the time from it on bootup (http://adafru.it/lF1)
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HELP!
I'm using a Raspberry Pi 2 and things are all not working right!
Run sudo raspi-config and in the “Overclock” options set the core frequency to 350 MHz or less.
Reboot and see if the image is stable. There seems to be an issue when toggling GPIO too quickly.
In addition: on the “Driving Matrices” page, see the notes about Pi 2 and enabling the “DRGB_SLOWDOWN_GPIO” line. After editing, rebuild the software by typing “make clean” and then
“make” again.
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Downloads
Datasheets
DS1307 Real Time Clock (http://adafru.it/em5)
MAX4866 5V protection chip (http://adafru.it/em6)
Schematic
Click to embiggen
Fabrication Print
Here's the fabrication print with dimensions in inches. This HAT is compatible with the Raspberry Pi
mechanical HAT specification!
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© Adafruit Industries
Last Updated: 2016-03-01 05:17:51 PM EST
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