Reverse Engineering LED Vodka Bottle Displays


When [Tyler] heard about the LED matrix display that Medea Vodka was building into their bottles, he immediately wanted to get his hands on one. Who could blame him? Someone had finally combined two things we love dearly: booze and LEDs.

He struggled to find a bottle at any of his local stores for the longest time, but was absolutely stoked when he finally came across one of their reps promoting the brand while he was out shopping.

Once he got home, he pulled the display off the bottle and began poking around to see what made it tick. The display is made from a flexible PCB, and attached to the bottle with some clear elastic film. It is powered by two CR2032 batteries and controlled by a PIC16F chip, which pulls stored messages from a small Atmel EEPROM.

Once he figured out how to control the LED matrix, he uploaded his own fonts and added a LINX wireless module to remotely send messages to the board. He mounted it in a wooden frame and now uses it as a simple marquee display.

If you have one of these displays hanging around your house, be sure to swing by his site for schematics of his wireless interface board as well as the code he uses to drive the marquee. You can check out a video of the display in action there as well.

10 thoughts on “Reverse Engineering LED Vodka Bottle Displays

  1. Man, I hunted down one of these a year ago for the same intent, but we moved and I still don’t know where that thing got packed (9 months after moving!) Glad for the docs, thanks!

  2. I’ve seen these all over NY, had a similar idea until I saw the price -> $40.00!!!!

    It’s cool bottle and all, and a nice little hack, but $40 for some marginal brand of vodka, a LED strip, and a pic or two….just isn’t worth $40!!!

    now maybe if was a bottle of yak……

  3. The bottle I just got as a gift is programmable for message content, via Medea’s iOS app, connecting over bluetooth. So, no real need to hack it, if all you want is to customize messages.
    Their info clearly says the batteries cannot be replaced and are not rechargeable, with a approx. 20 hours of on-time life. Says nothing about the display being removeable.
    I’m interested in simply being able to recharge it, or replace the battery, or power it from a wall wart. Haven’t tried to remove it yet, as still a few shots left inside!
    By the way, they bill themselves as an ultra-premium grade spirit. I have sampled enough brands to say their product is good, being very neutral in flavor. I am not a pro judge on the subject however. They tout their gold awards. If you want the bottle/display, I say don’t be afraid that you are going to get cheap swill inside.

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