Old LED marquee turned embedded video player


[Sprite_TM] is was sent an old LED Marquee by an anonymous fan of his hacking projects. The display isn’t full color, but it’s large — 224 by 48 pixels — and he figured he could render some okay images with the bi-color diodes. In the end, he replaced the controller and turned it into a video player.

The original system work well enough, but the 100 MHz 486 industrial style PC that drove the display seems a little comical these days. After giving it a spin and testing out how it drives the display [Sprite] hooked up an FTDI chip and managed to get it playing video from his computer. Above you can see part of the opening sequence of The Simpsons.

Now that he had learned its secrets he set out to give it an embedded controller. His first attempt was with a Carambola board which he’s worked with before. That proved to be a little slow for all the pixel data he was pushing so he upgraded to a Raspberry Pi and never looked back. You can see the demo video after the jump.


  1. Very cool, I recently found something very similar at my local shop so this information is as timely as it is relevant. Great stuff!

  2. martinmunk says:

    It’s funny how, when you are too lazy to get things done, somebody else does it in front of you :) http://forums.hackaday.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2362

    But i like the results!

  3. Mcof says:

    Doesn’t look all that great to me; I’ll never understand this LED TV craze.

  4. It’s amazing how many _apparent_ colours you can obtain just from a bicolour LED. Sure, they’re all variations on shades of yellow/red/green, but it really looks impressive.

    A bit like with early comic strips, when they introduced a single additional spot colour (usually red) just to give the thing a bit more life. Some examples:


  5. überRegenbogen says:

    Reminds me of the 144×144 RGB panel that kevtris built, a few years ago.

  6. Gdogg says:

    I always look forward to sprite’s mods

  7. pod says:

    Being Old Leds, can you call it an OLED panel? :)

  8. jwestra says:

    As always: sprite_tm takes the hack to another level.

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