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Other NeoPixel Matrixes are CRAP

I researched quite a few different options, and honestly the best I could see was some of the GlowBit products that Core Elec have, but even then they were missing decent mounts, had no SBC support, and were damn pricey.


I’ve been working on this design for a few weeks now, wanting to add some key features, such as;

  • Support for onboard MCU/SoCs such as an ESP, RP2040, STM32 or ATmega328.
  • Better mounting options so that any shape/configuration can be used.
  • A more reasonable price-point for such a basic product ($30 AUD for an 8×8 is insane).
  • Easy variations; board only, board w LEDs, board w LEDs and MCU.
  • Self-documenting, and open-source where it’s not, for ease of use.
  • Faster, brighter… harder, longer.

So I made my first design, and PCBWay were super supportive and sponsored the project – which is a great help for someone who pisses money down the drain making YouTube content like I do – and the first batch arrived. Here’s the YouTube video and here is the Arduino code in my demonstration.

Yeah, sure, I let out some magic smoke, but the addressable LEDs otherwise worked AS THEY SHOULD. I did find some faults though, eg;

  1. Definitely don’t put 5V into the STM32 circuitry.
  2. Looking closer, some other power tracks are wrong too.
  3. The USB-C ports need to be raised.
  4. One capacitor needs to be moved.
  5. I need to review the DIN isolation resistor.
  6. I am not even sure USB-C chaining works, but that’s probably my bad soldering.

You can buy my prototypes at cost in the shop – link here – or check out the online resources for this project;

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