Using Big Led Panels with Arduino

So last week I found these Big Led Panels at Cool Components. And today I got one working. The wiring was quite fun, pushing jumper wires into connectors.  Turns out that was the easy part though. Once I'd got the hardware connected I had to get the software working. There are a couple of libraries out there that you can just download and use. But they didn't work. 

Whenever I tried a build I got loads of messages about symbols not being present in my code. I'm not sure why, but the build process seems to search the entire library structure for include files and it found some Adafruit_GFX ones in the Robot_Control folder that caused real problems. The solution was just to remove the Robot_Control folder from the Arduino libraries folder. After that the programs built and I got some stunning displays. The picture above, even after some serious tinkerage, doesn't really do them justice. 

This is a bit better, but doesn't really capture the eye-watering brightness of the pixels. The display is quite solid, but my little Arduino Uno is going pretty much flat out just to generate the colours. There was noticeable flicker during the display updates and so I think I need something with a bit more processing grunt to get smooth animation on it.

One plan is to make a coffee table, but I've just found some 8x8 inch picture frames that I think would take a panel very nicely. So maybe I put the panels in frames and turn them into works of art. Either way, great fun is being had....