What's better than a single LED? Lots of LEDs! And what's better than lots of LEDs? TWO TIMES AS MANY LEDS!!!
With the 16x8 LED Matrix Backpack we've doubled your project's matrix capacity by making it super easy to get two separate 8x8 matrices onto one handy board! Matrices like these are 'multiplexed' - so to control 64 LEDs you need 16 pins and to control 128 LEDs, you'd need 24 pins. That's a lot of pins, and there are driver chips like the MAX7219 that can control a matrix for you but there's a lot of wiring to set up and they take up a ton of space. That's where this lovely 16x8 LED matrix backpack comes in.
The backpack uses a HT16K33 driver chip that does all the heavy lifting for you. This chip has a built in clock so they multiplex the display. It uses constant-current drivers for ultra-bright, consistent color (the images above are photographed at the dimmest setting to avoid overloading our camera!), 1/16 step display dimming, all via a simple I2C interface. Each matrix backpack comes with three address-selection jumpers so you can connect up to 8 x 1.2" 16x8's together on a single I2C bus.
This kit comes with:
A bit of soldering is required to attach the two matrices onto the backpack but its very easy to do and only takes about 10 minutes.
Of course, in classic Adafruit fashion, they have a detailed tutorial showing you how to solder, wire and control the display. They even wrote a very nice library for the backpacks so you can get running in under half an hour, displaying images on the matrix or numbers on the 7-segment. If you've been eying matrix displays but hesitated because of the complexity, this is the solution you've been looking for!