Display made out of hundreds of seven segment LEDs

While huge LED panels are a relatively common project du jour for people wanting to flex their engineering muscle, we’re taken aback by the sheer beauty of [Skot9000]‘s huge LED display made of seven-segment displays. He calls the build DigitGrid, and it’s a wondrous display the likes of which we’ve never seen.

To build a display based on seven-segment LEDs, [Skot] went with a modular approach in designing the DigitGrid. To power and control all these seven-segment displays, [Skot] used a Texas Instruments TLC5920 to run four 4-digit displays as a single module. Four of these modules connect together to form a row of 32×2 digits, and eight rows of digits come together to make a 512-digit display. With seven LEDs for each digit, that works out to 3,584 4,096 individual LEDs for the entire panel.

To power and control this gigantic array of LED displays, each row uses a PIC16F microcontroller which, in turn, is controlled by an FPGA. After several hours of writing Verilog, [Skot] had a reasonably good hunk of software that allowed him to send frames from his computer to the display. The results, quite simply, are amazing. [Skot] managed to put up a short film showing off the animation capabilities of his new display, and it’s a wonder to behold. You can check that video out after the break.

Comments

  1. EmuMoogly says:

    4096 LEDs, actually – did you not notice the decimal point also being used?

  2. agmlego says:

    I think that ought to be 8 LEDs per display, since he is making use of the radix point LED as well, so there are 4096 LEDs in the display.

  3. MdPhoenix says:

    Jesus, really? I’ll say it. NICE JOB MAN! It looks great. Whether you used the decimal point or not…

  4. Eirinn says:

    Interesting! I’m sure that the project will GIF him a lot of satisfaction ;)

  5. BMW03 says:

    This is really cool, congrats on the build and thanks for sharing.

  6. jcool says:

    AMAZING! And I was overjoyed to get my individual 7 segment to work =P

  7. Ben R says:

    It’s not every day that a coworker’s hack makes it to the front page to a website I frequent!

  8. svofski says:

    so cool it’s worth being a movie prop

  9. sbeube says:

    amazing ! But what about power consumption? This display must draw dozens of amps!

    • skot9000 says:

      I’m not running the display at full brightness. You’re definitely right however, at full brightness it is dozens of amps. the TLC5920 has a current limiting setting, and I have it set such that when all of the segments are on (not a very interesting animation) the total draw of the display is just under 1 amp. I should add this to the write-up.

  10. skot9000 says:

    Thanks for the comments! Using the decimal point made it so i can work with full bytes, and it looks cool! I’m also not using the PICs anymore, that was an initial idea that I scrapped.

  11. Hirudinea says:

    Its like Predator’s watch on steroids! So how does he put different animation on it?

  12. PJ Allen says:

    And there were those who said that it could not be done.

  13. HackerK says:

    awesome work. very nice!

  14. Galane says:

    Next step, vary the brightness for a redscale display.

  15. aggaz says:

    Love it!

  16. nice says:

    I love the display, Great Job ! Now for the full RGB alpha-numerical version !!

  17. Ria says:

    Great Job! I can’t wait to see it expand to a larger version. You are amazing.

  18. nunoalves says:

    i wonder how much he spent on this project…

  19. Robot says:

    This is like dirty, dirty porn to me.

    I love it.

  20. JB says:

    Awesome, extraordinary, beautiful, (keep filling with your favorite praising words)….

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