The RGB Matrix Backpack is a small board that connects to the back of the Adafruit 32x32 RGB LED Matrix Panel and is a very convenient way to control this awesome panel. The board is simply a small Arduino. You can easily program the board using the Arduino IDE. As you can see from the video below, it's possible to create great color animations, completely in Arduino programming!
Kit comes unassembled, Adafruit 32x32 RGB LED Matrix Panel not included! Note this doesn't work as well with our 4mm pitch matrix panel due to the power connector being in the way.
To program the board, you'll need an FTDI cable or FTDI friend. Or you can program the ATMega328 chip using your Arduino board and move the chip to the RGB Matrix Backpack for testing.
The board snaps onto the back of the panel and provides power to the panel through the terminal block connections. The board should be powered by a 5V regulated power adapter that can deliver up to 2A.
To program the backpack board, you use it just like an Arduino. The board type to select in the Arduino IDE is "Arduino Uno". You need to connect an FTDI cable or FTDI friend.
Adafruit provides Arduino libraries for controlling the RGB Matrix Panel. You can download the libraries and learn how to use them on our matrix tutorial page. You don't have to worry about any of the complex wiring -- just skip down to the sections "Test example code" and "Library".
The ATmega328 chip comes preloaded with the animation shown in the video above. To change the demo program download the sketch here. Make sure you've installed the Adafruit libraries correctly. Compile the sketch and upload it to your board.
See our Distributors page for a complete list of distributors.