Create Your Own “16×16 LED Displays” With Arduino-compatible Shield


Hobbyists and makers now have more flexibility and options when developing LED signs, using the MAXREFDES99# 16×16 display reference design from Maxim Integrated. The design is compatible with Arduino and ARM mbed platforms for quick prototyping.

16×16 displays are becoming more common building blocks and are the future of LED signage. With this new reference design and readily available code, sign developers and makers can immediately start displaying their LED creations.

LEDs continue to dramatically transform signage and lighting. However, often LED displays today are 8×8 and cannot communicate many international alpha-numeric characters. “Integrating four MAX7219 LED drivers, the design offers designers a 16×16 display with 256 LEDs, allowing them to create signs in multiple languages. The MAX7219 driver simplifies the process of controlling multiple LEDs in matrix or numeric display form”, says the company.

For fast prototyping, software code developed for the new reference design works with both ARM mbed and Arduino platforms. Developers are encouraged to build upon and enhance the code base for more signage possibilities.


The MAXREFDES99# reference design is available for $49 at Maxim’s website and select franchised distributors. Hardware and firmware design files, as well as test data, are provided free and available online.

For more information on the reference design, click here.

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