RGB Panel Hookup Guide

Contributors: Jimb0
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Are you looking to add a lot of color to your project? These massive RGB LED panels are an awesome place to start. You can create animations, games, or all sorts of other fun displays with them.

LED Panels Lit Up

A 16x32 RGB LED panel to the left, and a 32x32 panel to the right.

These panels come in two varieties: a 3.75x7.5" 16x32 pixel panel:

16x32 panel

Note: The 16x32 version has been retired from our catalog, but we are keeping the information in the tutorial for reference.

And a 1024 pixel (3072 total LEDs!) 32x32 pixel panel measuring 7.5x7.5":

32x32 panel

In this tutorial we’ll show you just how, exactly, these panels operate. We’ll dig into the hardware hookup and examine how to best power them. Then we’ll work up a demo sketch and control them with Arduino.

Required Materials

On top of either size panel, you’ll also need:

  • At least an Arduino Uno (or comparable ATmega328-based Arduino). These panels really stretch the Arduino to its limits. If you have an Arduino Mega you may want to whip that out instead.
  • Male-to-male jumper wires. You’ll need around 16 to wire from the panel to your Arduino.
  • A 5V power supply. You’ll need something that can source a high amount of current. A simple 5V (1A) wall adapter does work, at least in the short run, but you may want to step up to a higher capacity supply, like these 12V/5V (2A) supplies.
  • You’ll also need some method to connect your power supply to the panel. The panel includes a 4-pin polarized connector and spade-terminated cable for its power supply. Check out the next page for help finding a power source and cable.

Suggested Reading

Before following along with this tutorial, we recommend reading through these tutorials first: