Sunday, March 13, 2011

LED matrix app

So I got myself a couple tiny 5x7 LED matrix displays to tinker around with. I thought they might be a nice replacement to 7-segment displays. On the new Hollow Earth, I'm using a microcontroller with a greater number of pins, so I think it's doable. Might make for some neat animation, too!

Then my mind caved in at the thought of manually typing binary data for each PIXEL. It's pretty daunting to do by hand, because each LED in the matrix does NOT have its own pin. Instead it's a row and column array where you have to carefully "render" the LEDs, line by line, applying positive power to cathodes where you *don't* want pixels, and so on. Arrrrghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..........

Too much, I said, so what do I do? I install something I haven't used in like ten years, Visual Basic 4.0.

An hour later, I have made an app where I can draw a number, letter or graphic just by clicking on squares, and then automagically spits out code and/or raw binary data I can simply paste in my micro!

Whatta time saver!

Writing a program that writes code for you. How zen!


mapmap said...


i love those types of LED displays. very cool.

cloudscapes said...

I love them too!

didn't use them before because they require a lot of microcontroller pins, and because I have to basically write a "display driver" for it.

It's great once done, now, because I can be much more expressive when it comes to displaying alternate functions of knobs! I can display actual graphics, letters, simple bar meters, etc

mapmap said...

that is one of the awesome things about the eventide factor series of pedals. the have a big solid row of those great displays in a nice green color.