Find all your DIY electronics in the MakerShed. 3D Printing, Kits, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Books & more!

Many an experimenter, hacker, tinkerer, & maker have heeded the call of the mighty matrix – and it’s no mystery why. A small army of LEDs elegantly wired in grid formation would be difficult for anyone with an appreciation for electronics hardware to pass up – even after considering the sometimes daunting wiring job that stands as prerequisite to entry.

Needless to say, I had a lot of fun working with LED matrices for this installment of the Circuit Skills series. Many folks have published code for their matrix projects and it was great to be able to try some of them out. Breadboarding a two-color matrix did end up being a pretty tedious task – interested experimentors can pick up a one-color matrix kit from Jameco which should prove much easier to work with.

Oh, and I’ll be posting some of the adapted code used for this project, once I have a few kinks worked out – stay tuned.

Collin Cunningham

Born, drew a lot, made video, made music on 4-track, then computer, more songwriting, met future wife, went to art school for video major, made websites, toured in a band, worked as web media tech, discovered electronics, taught myself electronics, blogged about DIY electronics, made web videos about electronics and made music for them … and I still do!



  1. Ben Phipps says:

    any one know what comes in the kit from for $54.95 there are currently no details.

    1. I believe the kit includes an Arduino Nano, 8×8 matrix, & MAX7219 driver IC

      1. Ben Phipps says:

        Thanks, looks I like the have the kit contents up now at Jameco.

  2. Ben Phipps says:

    Just got my kit today from Jameco! I hope to mess around with it this weekend!

    1. Did you get a schematic? I’ve searched the web, and no luck. I just got the parts list, with nothing else.

  3. We bought the kit, but unfortunately it has no schematic at all, so we have no idea how the aurduino is suppose to connect to the Max 7219CNG and how the the 7219CNG is suppose to connect to the matrix chip.

    So, yea, if you could post anything on this, it would be useful, right now I’ve searched the WEB and haven’t found any spec or anything that would help me understand how to wire this kit.

  4. I purchased the Matix Kit from Jameco, it didn’t come with a schematic, so I have no idea how to connect the MAX7219 to the Matix, nor how to connect the Arduino to the Max7219.

    I have managed to connect and write code to the Arduino Nano, and put all the components on my breadboard. But without a schematic, and some Arduino code, this project is at a stand still.

    I don’t recommend starting this one until:

    1: We get a schematic posted
    2. There is some useful code to control the 7219 from the Arduino

    Sounds like Collin is cleaning up that code, which would be very useful. I don’t understand why jameco produced this kit without any schematic at all.


  5. Warning:, Jameco kit only has a single MAX7219, Collin’s video uses dual MAX7219, also the kit does not include Collin’s nicely screen circuit board, so you will need to breadboard both MAX7219 chips.

    As far as a schematic, Collin in his video, does show a quick schematic. He shows both a single MAX7219 schematic, as well as a dual.

    So that’s a step in the right direction, but no code, wondering if the code that Collin posts will be the dual on the single MAX7219 implementation. Of course we should be able to change it. Also I could go learn how the MAX7219 controls the Matrix, and then figure out how to write code from the Arduino.


  6. I did find the code for pong: now this might get us in the right direction..×8-led-matrix-on-arduino

    Looks like Collin started with this, and modified it, also it looks like this was a single MAX7219 implementation, so also good news. If I had a clean schematic, I think I would be in business. =).


  7. Here is the schematic for the MAX7219

    With this, you should have enough with the code posted below to possibly make this work.


  8. There doesn’t seem to be a schematic for the 8×8 matrix, and each manufacturer is different. I tried a direct wire, that didn’t work, and the max diagram below doesn’t tell you what the matrix chip needs. . You have no idea what pin-outs to use when connecting to the matrix chip. I suppose I could sit and send power to each pin and see what happens and make a schematic accordingly.

    Still looking for a spec on the matrix.

  9. Ben Phipps says:

    I’m going to have to re-wire mine not sure what I did wrong but the matrix is not lighting up right, I could just have it backwards.

    1. Ben Phipps says:

      or the spec I found is not right =-/

  10. Ben Phipps says:

    well now I think I burnt out my Max7219 =-/ more work to be done to be sure.

  11. i wish collins would post the code adapted in the project 

  12. [...] Circuit Skills: LED Matrix Sponsored by Jameco Electronics [...]

  13. [...] MAKE | Circuit Skills: LED Matrix, sponsored by Jameco Electronics [...]

  14. LUIS MEDEIROS says:

    Hi my name is Luis and I’m new at this just trying to be creative with electronics
    I’m trying to creat a 24×16 RGB led matrix that can be controlled with a arduino mega . Can you help? Do you have som schematics ? Ty

  15. […] Cunningham’s videos remain golden! In Circuit Skills: LED Matrix he talks about LED matrices and how to control the LEDs with a multiplexing IC. He uses it to make […]

  16. […] Cunningham’s videos remain golden! In Circuit Skills: LED Matrix he talks about LED matrices and how to control the LEDs with a multiplexing IC. He uses it to make […]

  17. maik says:

    please post the code youhave used!!!

In the Maker Shed