8×8 LED Dot Matrix Display

### Lesson Plan: Using the 8×8 LED Dot Matrix Display with the Raspberry Pi Pico WH

**Introduction**

Hey adventurers! Today, we’re going to light up our world with the 8×8 LED Dot Matrix Display. This display is perfect for creating visual displays like text, animations, and patterns. It’s a fantastic tool for making your projects more interactive and visually appealing. Ready to bring some sparkle to your projects? Let’s get started!

**Learning Objectives**

By the end of this lesson, you’ll be able to connect and use the 8×8 LED Dot Matrix Display with your Raspberry Pi Pico WH. You’ll learn to control the individual LEDs to display characters and animations. This skill will add a visual flair to your projects, making them more engaging and fun. Let’s light it up!

**Materials Needed**

For this lesson, you’ll need a Raspberry Pi Pico WH, an 8×8 LED Dot Matrix Display, a 74HC595 shift register, a breadboard, jumper wires, a Micro USB cable, and your computer with a MicroPython IDE. These tools will help you create stunning visual displays with your dot matrix.

**Background Information**

An 8×8 LED Dot Matrix Display consists of 64 LEDs arranged in an 8×8 grid. By controlling the LEDs, you can display characters, patterns, and animations. We’ll use a 74HC595 shift register to control the LEDs, which simplifies the wiring and allows us to control the display with just a few GPIO pins from the Raspberry Pi Pico.

**Circuit Diagram**

Before we build the circuit, let’s visualize it. The 8×8 LED Dot Matrix Display will be connected to the 74HC595 shift register. We’ll connect the shift register to the Raspberry Pi Pico. The main connections for the shift register are VCC, GND, Data (DS), Clock (SHCP), and Latch (STCP).

**Step-by-Step Instructions**

Let’s get building! Start by placing the 8×8 LED Dot Matrix Display and the 74HC595 shift register on the breadboard. Connect the VCC pin of the shift register to the 3.3V pin on the Raspberry Pi Pico. Connect the GND pin of the shift register to a ground pin on the Raspberry Pi Pico. Connect the Data (DS) pin of the shift register to GP15, the Clock (SHCP) pin to GP14, and the Latch (STCP) pin to GP13 on the Raspberry Pi Pico.

Now, connect the outputs of the shift register to the columns of the 8×8 LED Dot Matrix Display. Connect the rows of the dot matrix to the appropriate GPIO pins on the Raspberry Pi Pico.

Once your circuit is set up, connect the Raspberry Pi Pico to your computer using the Micro USB cable. Open your MicroPython IDE, and let’s get ready to code.

**Sample Code**

Time to write some code to control the 8×8 LED Dot Matrix Display. Copy and paste the following code into your IDE and upload it to the Raspberry Pi Pico WH.

“`python
from machine import Pin
from time import sleep

# Define the pins connected to the shift register
data_pin = Pin(15, Pin.OUT)
clock_pin = Pin(14, Pin.OUT)
latch_pin = Pin(13, Pin.OUT)

# Function to send data to the shift register
def shift_out(data):
for bit in range(8):
clock_pin.off()
data_pin.value((data >> (7 – bit)) & 1)
clock_pin.on()

# Function to display a single column
def display_column(col, val):
latch_pin.off()
shift_out(val)
shift_out(1 << col) latch_pin.on() # Define a simple pattern (e.g., a smiley face) pattern = [ 0b00111100, 0b01000010, 0b10100101, 0b10000001, 0b10100101, 0b10011001, 0b01000010, 0b00111100 ] while True: for col in range(8): display_column(col, pattern[col]) sleep(0.001) ``` This code sets up the shift register and the 8x8 LED Dot Matrix Display. It defines a function to send data to the shift register and another function to display a single column. The pattern array defines a simple smiley face. The main loop cycles through the columns to display the pattern on the dot matrix. **Testing and Troubleshooting** Upload the code and watch the smiley face appear on the 8x8 LED Dot Matrix Display. If it’s not working, double-check your connections and ensure the shift register and dot matrix are correctly wired. Verify that the code is correctly uploaded to the Raspberry Pi Pico WH. Still having trouble? Take a deep breath and check your setup again. You’re on the right track! **Applications and Extensions** Now that you’ve got the basics down, let’s get creative. Try creating different patterns or animations. You could display scrolling text or create a mini-game. The possibilities are endless, and the 8x8 LED Dot Matrix Display is your canvas for creating stunning visual effects! **Summary and Review** Fantastic job! You’ve just mastered using the 8x8 LED Dot Matrix Display with the Raspberry Pi Pico WH and MicroPython. You learned how to connect the display, control individual LEDs, and create patterns. These skills are crucial for building interactive and visually engaging projects. Keep experimenting, keep building, and most importantly, have fun! Remember, the best way to learn is by doing, so keep exploring the amazing world of electronics. Happy building, and as always, stay curious!

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