G-35 Christmas Lights Do Make A Great LED Matrix

This fully-addressable RGB LED matrix was built by [John Graham-Cummings]. He didn’t start from scratch, but wisely repurposed a strand of GE Color Effect lights and built a pleasant looking case in which to mount the G-35 hardware.

We’ve seen this hardware used in a similar way before. Because each ‘bulb’ has its own microcontroller, color data is shifted in via a serial bus. Orient the modules in any pattern you choose and account for that layout in software.

Since the strings have 50 bulbs, [John] simply cut off the one on the end to form his 7×7 matrix with the remaining 49 units. A square of plywood with a grid of holes holds each in place. Cord mess is not a problem as the extra was cut out and the remainders were soldered together again. [John] uses an Arduino Pro to feed in the data, which you can see for yourself in the clip after the break.


[Thanks Evalpix]

16 thoughts on “G-35 Christmas Lights Do Make A Great LED Matrix

  1. Love it! Nice repurpose and it looks good in its box. I’m with Max in that I had never seen these in a store before, but will keep my eyes on the clearance shelves this year ;) Thanks for the info :)

  2. All these different serial-controlled LEDs make me wonder: why is there still not a RGB LED with a i2c or spi controller chip built-in? There are blinking LEDs and color-fade LEDS indicating that putting a chip in a LED is easy. why not make a pre-packaged 4-pin LED: Vcc, GND, SCL, SDA? It would allow so meny cool things to be done in a small space. [ the main problem with current modules is that they are all too big ]

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