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Project Notes

#299 TheMatrix

Building The Matrix (Boldport Club project #11) is an I²C-controlled 24x5 LED matrix display, powered by an AMS AS1130 LED driver.



The Matrix is an I²C-controlled 24x5 LED matrix display, powered by an AMS AS1130 LED driver. It’s made of 0.2mm thick circuit board so it can slightly bend. A few can be chained together for a larger display.

The project was made possible by the kind support of AMS who donated the LED drivers, and Eurocircuits who subsidised the cost of the PCBs.

Now I have one built, time to test it out. So far

  • LedTest - first check under Arduino control
  • Firecracker - a firecracker simulacrum running on the Matrix
  • GameOfLife - Conway’s Game of Life running on the Matrix
  • KeypadControl - use a 20-button keypad to write a scrolling message on the Matrix


Ref Item Qty
IC1 AS1130 LED matrix driver IC, AMS AS1130 x1
C1 0.1µF 0805 SMD ceramic capacitor, Multicomp MC0805B104K500CT x1
C2 10µF 0805 SMD ceramic capacitor, Multicomp MC0805X106K160CT (clear casing) x1
R1-4 4.7KΩ 0805 SMD resistor, Multicomp 2446989 x4
J1 8 contacts 1 row 2.54 mm SMD header, Samtec TSM-108-01-T-SH x1
LED1-120 red 0805 LEDs, Kingbright KPT-2012EC x121 (1 spare)



The Matrix is laid out in a 5x24 matrix as described in the datasheet (Figure 54). This allows for using the AS1130 scrolling feature for scrolling without the need of communication with a microprocessor.



I used the Matrix stencil from OSHStencils and a hot-air gun for the assembly.


I first did the LEDs on one side then the AMS1130 and supporting components on the reverse side with hot air. Then finally hand-soldered the pin connector.




After an initial inspection, I only had a couple of manual fixups required:

  • two LEDs not connected properly after reflow
  • a solder bridge between two pins on the AMS1130 that wouldn’t clear under hot air


Credits and References

Project Source on GitHub Project Gallery Return to the LEAP Catalog

This page is a web-friendly rendering of my project notes shared in the LEAP GitHub repository.

LEAP is just my personal collection of projects. Two main themes have emerged in recent years, sometimes combined:

  • electronics - usually involving an Arduino or other microprocessor in one way or another. Some are full-blown projects, while many are trivial breadboard experiments, intended to learn and explore something interesting
  • scale modelling - I caught the bug after deciding to build a Harrier during covid to demonstrate an electronic jet engine simulation. Let the fun begin..
To be honest, I haven't quite figured out if these two interests belong in the same GitHub repo or not. But for now - they are all here!

Projects are often inspired by things found wild on the net, or ideas from the many great electronics and scale modelling podcasts and YouTube channels. Feel free to borrow liberally, and if you spot any issues do let me know (or send a PR!). See the individual projects for credits where due.