Investigative development of an accessible LED matrix display : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Engineering in Mechatronics, 2014, Massey University, Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa, University of New Zealand
Display technology stands central to today’s society, with many routine tasks involving at least
one type of display. As LCDs replaced CRT monitors, LED-based displays are on course to replace
LCDs as the main display technology. LED technology offers advantages across the board: Aside
from their inherently greater efficiency, LED technology also brings gains in lifetime, colour
gamut, and relatively environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.
While the technology still requires some development before it is to replace LCDs, widespread
adoption in applications such as live displays and performances has already begun. This
dissertation aims to investigate the foundations the development of LED displays through the
development of a prototype implementation. A strong focus is placed on flexibility and
accessibility of the design.
The prototype system utilises a simple PC software based video controller, which processes and
distributes raw image data to a network of microcontrollers via a USB connection. Each
microcontroller module contains circuitry to drive a 16x16 array of SMD RGB LEDs, and is
addressable over the integrated I²C bus.
This thesis describes the work completed towards the development of this prototype and steps
taken to maintain alignment with outlined objectives. Development is broken down into the PC
software development, electronics development, and embedded software development of the