Help Getting Started

Hello All,

Its been years since I have tried to do anything with a raspberry pi, literally since the first one launched. So I found this project on reddit which led me here. I am trying to use the following materials:

  • Raspberry Pi 4 Model B 2019 Quad Core 64 Bit WiFi Bluetooth (4GB)
  • 64x32 2048 RGB Full Color LED Matrix Panel 2.5mm Link to Panels X2
  • Adafruit RGB Matrix HAT + RTC for Raspberry Pi - Mini Kit
  • Power supply for the panels

I think im just missing a step, like I am supposed to copy this library into my Pi? (running diet pi as recommended) but also need a bit of help with the wiring portion. I am not sure how to get the panels to connected, I had to solder to finish the HAT and I think I am supposed to just connect the panel to the HAT and provide the panel with power. But I am not sure how to supply it with power.

Hi @Pimsta,

Couple of points to help get you started

  1. Yep, use git to clone the library to your pi (doesn’t really matter where, but by convention I put it in /usr/src/)
  2. For the wiring, I’d definitely recommend the electrodragon shield that hzeller talks about in the README of the repo. Here’s the link: RGB LED Matrix Panel Drive Board For Raspberry Pi - ElectroDragon. Now you can use standard 16 pin IDC cables (aka Ribbon Cables) to connect the RPi to the panels.
  3. To get started, treat the power as a totally separate circuit. The panels run on 5V. It would have shipped with power cables. You need to connect those cables to your 5V power supply using a barrel jack break-out adapter like this

I’d recommend reading the entire README (and all of its offshoots) a couple of times to get familiar with it. LED panels sometimes just ‘work’, but are usually a bit tricky to get up and running. Good luck.

Thanks a ton for the reply. Appears the board LED panels I have are just dead tried connecting to power and they just light up quick and die shortly after. I will try that board as it may be a better bet long term if I want to add another panel as well. Project is on hold for bit as work has increased and getting new panels but i’ll be reading the README in the meantime. Thanks again!

Hi @Pimsta, no problem at all, happy to help as I would not have been able to get my panels up and running without info from these forums (+ the git issue tracker)!

Yeah, for peace of mind I would use that electrodragon shield, not just because of the simplified wiring but because it actively buffers the IO; the RPi GPIOs are sending out data at 3.3V and the ICs in that shield buffer it to 5V. When I started with this project I bought like 5 of those shields and its saved my ass a few times.

If you continue to have issues, feel free to lmk via this thread. There are a few things you have to get right that arent immediately obvious… like the multiplexing, and the LED driver chip on the actual panels. If the driver chip is not supported, such as the SM16169H for example, then you’ll send yourself mad tryna bring them up for the 1st time. So I would double check the PN of that and verify via the readme or the forums that it’s supported.

Anyway, good luck