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Archive for September, 2010

Pinball LED Display – Build in Progress

by Tom on Sep.12, 2010, under Project Pinball

Ok it’s been awhile since i’ve updated this site with the latest exciting news of Tom’s custom pinball machine.

So here we are…

I’ve been playing around with some different techniques in building a LED Matrix display. Some things have worked and some have failed. There are also products out there that would make this build so easy but are really expensive. However, after a bit of hunting i found these on E-Bay for $14AUD with free postage!

What they are is a set of six 8×8 LED matrixes (384 LEDS in total) all controlled by just one IC. You can run four of them together by chaining them with the provided ribbon cables and many more if your microprocessor can handle them.

Really easy to interface hardware wise but quite tricky to code compared to using shift-registers. It works a little bit like running an LCD interface where you have to first issue commands to tell the screen what you want it to do, then tell the screen where you want the lights to come on, then finally tell it to turn on that light.

So my first step to getting these bad boys to work was to see if anyone else has done it before. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any code for the Parallax Propeller but i did find a huge forum topic on the matrix using the Ardunio (another type of Microprocessor, completely different language). I had to then convert the code from Ardunio (C Language) to the Propeller (Spin Language). And eventually it worked out great!! Except there is a couple of glitches to fix up later.

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