Driving P5 Panels With A Raspberry Pi

Building displays out of LEDs can be fun, but quickly becomes tedious as the pixel count increases. At this point, it’s worthwhile investing in off-the-shelf panels that have everything pre-soldered and ready to go. [Tom Hammond] wanted to run a P5 panel, and put a Raspberry Pi to work to get it going.

P5 panels are so-called for their 5 mm spacing between LEDs. The panels in question are built with RGB LEDs, allowing full-color graphics to be displayed. In this build, a 64 x 32 panel is used for a total of 2048 pixels. A Raspberry Pi Zero runs the display, using its GPIO to clock out pixel data. Software designed for Christmas light displays is used to program the light show, with xLights being the choice in this case. It’s all wrapped up in a tidy 3D printed frame, and the final product looks remarkably well put together.

It’s a great way to get familiar with P5 panels, and an excellent starting point if you’re contemplating a larger build down the track. If you’re going all out, consider how to make the most of your install from an architectural perspective. Video after the break.

P5

14 thoughts on “Driving P5 Panels With A Raspberry Pi

    1. Have you created anything featured here?

      If not — even if you have, kindly silence yourself before making comments like this. You add NOTHING to the article or any conversation about it; you only feed the complaint culture which has long outlived its natural lifespan.

      1. So we’re not allowed to give feedback about the lazy articles, unless we a) decide to publish our personal hacks and b) have them picked up by HaD?

        I’m quite happy for people to do the basics and publish info on the web (usually on Instructables) for others on how to also do that.

        I don’t come /here/ for that (the clue being in the site name), so wind your neck in.

        FWIW, I thought the article would be interesting as I have considered (and rejected) driving HUB75 panels with a RPi. Rejected it due to the poor RT capability of a Linux system. Yes, I considered alternative OSs on the RPi (such as RiscOS, but I’ve no idea how that’s implemented on the Pi so that’s too many unknowns), but eventually settled on using parallel I2S on the ESP32. It’s not documented because it was purely for my own enjoyment.

        1. You are well within your right to give feedback/criticism … but that doesn’t exclude you from receiving it as well in reply to your comments. I personally just skip articles I see as low hanging fruit. No need to leave a comment because they can see the viewership/engagement statistics and that alone will dictate what gets published in the future. If the trend doesn’t suit your favor then tough nuts that’s the way the internet works.

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