Brian Lough

D1 Mini Matrix Shield

I think these RGB LED matrix are one of the coolest displays you can use with an Arduino project. My D1 Mini Matrix Shield boards make them really easy to use!

The D1 Mini Matrix is a shield for the Wemos D1 mini style ESP8266 boards for connecting into RGB LED panels. It's a much quicker and tidier way of connecting up these displays.

These are now available on my Tindie Store if you want to check them out!

More information about these display's in general is included at the bottom of this post.

Additional Parts Required

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Board Assembly

To assemble the boards, place the parts on the PCB as indicated by the markings on the PCB. All parts are places on the top of the PCB other than the connector marked "Pin" (As seen in the photos above). Pay attention to the polarity of the capacitor and the diode when assembling.

Place the jumper block on the right two pins of JP1 (Read below for more details on this)

Connecting the shield to the RGB LED Matrix

To connect the shield, insert the "Pin" connector of the D1 Mini Matrix shield into the "Input" connector of the panel (make sure the arrows on the shield match up with the ones on the display)

Insert the ribbon cable that came with the display into the "Pout" connector on the shield, insert the other end into the "Output" connector of the panel

Plug the power wire that came with the display into the power pins of the panel. Attach the power wires to the Green screw terminals on the shield (Pay close attention to the polarity!)

There is a section on the Tindie listing about important measurements that is worth reading before buying to ensure the PCB will fit the display.

Configuring the Dip Switches

Some displays do not use all the pins that are connected to the D1 Mini. These optional pins are marked below as C, D and E. You can test if your display uses these pins by checking if they have continuity with ground.

These pins are on the P in connector

If they do, use the red dip switch to turn disconnect these pins from the D1 mini or the ESP8266 may not boot!

This display was not using the E pin

Powering the D1 Mini Matrix Shield

These displays require a 5V power supply capable of doing roughly 4A of current

My recommended way of powering this board is using the 2.1mm DC jack (center positive), but you can also use the optional screw terminals (Red and black in the above photo) instead if you choose.

The jumper block at "JP1" is controlling power going to the D1 Mini:

  • Occupying the two pins on the right (as shown in the photo above), the Wemos will receive 5V power from the panels power supply, but the wemos will not power the display as it is going through a diode. This is the one to use if you are not sure what to do!
  • Occupying the two pins on the left (marked "Diode bypass"), will bypass the diode so the display will now receive power from the D1 Mini's 5v pin. In theory, if your are only illuminating a limited number of LEDs at a time you could power the display from the D1 Mini's Micro USB port, but I do not recommend this!
  • Removing the block separates the D1 Mini's power supply from the matrix panel, I'm not sure the use case where you would want to do this but it is available if needed!

Using the display

To use the display, install the PXMatrix and Adafruit GFX libraries from the Arduino library manager.

For full instructions on how to use the display, either check out the video I made on them or my Instructables on them.

Please note that the wiring diagram I show in this video has a mistake! The correct one is below.

Please note: that on the PCB the PO connector is already wired as above, so if you need to extend it, you just need to connect the 5 pins that have connections (as shown above) to the same pins on the second connector on the display


Examples

I've played around with this displays quite a bit so I've accumulated a few examples of projects with them.

This banana is probably the coolest one!
This is still a work in progress
there are simpler ones there too!