Overhauling LED Marquees


In a previous job, [sprite_tm] was responsible for wrangling many different LED text ad marquees. The hardware was fairly simple and he always figured they could be pushed much further with a little work. He recently acquired ten 32×16 LED displays a decided to see what he could do with them. By the end of the project, he had full motion video running on the display. This is a great project to read up on if you’ve ever wondered about LED matrix displays. He starts by reverse engineering the electronics on the board. He then attached an ATmega88 to drive the display module. Multiple display modules were daisy chained together over serial. The article covers PWM control and refresh timing as well. Check out one of a few demo videos below.


11 thoughts on “Overhauling LED Marquees

  1. @ Adam, I figured that out during the whole CAPSLOCKS day thing. Even posted about it. All you need to override it is a user css and adding a
    * { text-transform: none !important;}

    line to it. Poof, no more forced lowercase or caps on any site.

    Also, Sprite’s the man.

  2. It’s interesting as a hack and he (and we) learned some stuff and he showed prowess, but really, by the end he must have put more cash in the project than the cost of a 22″ LCD, that’s the kind of thing that would hold me back, basically it’s done already (LCD=dotmatrix too) and available at shops, and I don’t really see a need for it.

  3. @ Wwhat:

    Considering that part of the project started out as funded by his job and them paying him to do what he enjoys, as well as the “I built it my goddamn self” bragging rights. Add that he probably had the discretes and the AVR’s already, so just had to buy the (Used and discounted) led displays (5€ each, so 10 * €5 = 50€) it more then balances out. (Comes out to about 12 USD per LED Display + AVR). Worthwhile I would say.

  4. I have 4 of these as well, I got them from the same source as sprite.

    They are old bus station displays, that’s why they’re so cheap.
    If you watch closely in the video’s you can see the burnt-in leds from the bus-numbers etc…

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