Lesson 21 – 8×8 LED Matrix


  1. Before you start working with any of the tutorials in this series please make sure you have completed the following tasks –
    1. Downloaded and installed the Arduino IDE.
    2. Are able to connect to the Arduino IDE from your computer
    3. Have been successful in uploading a simple (e.g. Blink LED’s) example programs (that comes with the Arduino IDE) onto your Arduino UNO board
  2. If you haven’t installed the Arduino IDE please head back to the first tutorial and make sure you’ve gone through each of the steps involved.
  3. Once you’ve sorted all of the above you are ready to move onto the next tutorial.


With low-voltage scanning, LED dot-matrix display have some advantages such as power saving, long service life, low cost, high brightness, wide angle of view, long visual range, waterproof, and numerous specifications. LED dot-matrix display can meet the needs of different applications, thus have a broad development prospect. This time, we will conduct an LED dot-matrix experiment to experience its charm firsthand.

The external view of a dot-matrix is shown as follows:

The display principle of the 8*8 dot-matrix – The 8*8 dot-matrix is made up of sixty-four LEDs, and each LED is placed at the cross point of a row and a column. When the electrical level of a certain row is 1 and the electrical level of a certain column is 0, the corresponding LED will be on. If you want to light the LED on the first dot, you should set pin 9 to high level and pin 13 to low level. If you want to light LEDs on the first row, you should set pin 9 to high level and pins 13, 3, 4, 10, 6, 11, 15 and 16 to low level. If you want to light the LEDs on the first column, set pin 13 to low level and pins 9, 14, 8, 12, 1, 7, 2 and 5 to high level.
The internal view of a dot-matrix is shown as follows:


Here’s the hardware you will need for the tutorials –

  1. Arduino Board x1
  2. 1 * 8×8 dot-matrix
  3. 8 * Resistor (220Ω)
  4. 1 * Breadboard
  5. 1 * USB cable
  6. 16 * Jumper wires

The principle of 74HC595 has been previously illustrated. One chip is used to control the rows of the dot-matrix while the other chip is used to control the columns.

You will find fritzing diagrams below outlining circuit connections for both the Arduino Uno and the Arduino Mega 2560.

Here’s what your project should look like once it’s finished.

Let’s have a look at the code for the tutorial.

// set an array to store character of “0”
unsigned char Text[]={0x00,0x1c,0x22,0x22,0x22,0x22,0x22,0x1c};
void Draw_point(unsigned char x,unsigned char y)// point drawing function
{ clear_();
   digitalWrite(x+2, HIGH);
   digitalWrite(y+10, LOW);
void show_num(void)// display function, call point drawing function
  unsigned char i,j,data;
    for(j=0;j<8;j++) { if(data & 0x01)Draw_point(j,i); data>>=1;
void setup(){ 
int i = 0 ; 
   pinMode(i, OUTPUT); 
void loop()
{ show_num();    
void clear_(void)// clear screen
{for(int i=2;i<10;i++)
  digitalWrite(i, LOW);
  for(int i=0;i<8;i++)
  digitalWrite(i+10, HIGH);

Burn the program into Uno board, the dot-matrix will display 0.


This development track requires an investment a bit of hardware. See below for details –

  1. Arduino IDE –
    1. You will need to download and install the Arduino development IDE.
    2. The approach to installation, configuration, setup of the Arduino IDE is covered in our tutorials.
  2. Arduino Uno, Sensors, etc. –
    1. You will need to purchase the Super Learning Kit for Arduino from OzToyLib.
    2. The Arduino Advent kit has all the sensors you need to perform the tutorials covered in this development track.
    3. If you do not have an Arduino Uno or Arduino Mega 2560 you might want to head over to Arduino boards and pick one up now.

The Super Learning Kit for the Arduino kit has all the sensors you need to perform the tutorials covered in this development track.

About the Super Learning Kit for Arduino

The Super Learning Starter Kit for Arduino comes packed with ~35+ different electronic bits (Sensors, LEDs, switches, LCD, servo, etc.) and can be purchased with either the Keyestudio UNO R3 or the Keyestudio Mega 2560 board. The Keyestudio Arduino boards can be used to interface with the different electronic bits i.e. sensors, LED’s, switches, servos, etc. included in the starter kit. The starter kit for the Keyestudio Uno R3 offers a great opportunity to explore the world of electronics using the Arduino Development Platform. Interact with the real world through the various sensors, create innovative projects, learn how to program the micro:bit to read data from the sensors and perform certain actions. The starter kit for the Arduino is a great way to dive into the awesome world of electronics and get started with your own STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) learning journey.

The Arduino advanced study kit walks you through the basics of using the Arduino in a hands-on way. You’ll learn the fundamentals of electronics and working on the Arduino through building several creative projects. The kit includes a selection of the most common and useful electronic components with a book of 32 projects. Starting the basics of electronics, to more complex projects, the kit will get you interacting with the physical world using sensor and actuators. Along with the kit you get access to detailed tutorials and wiring diagrams.

You can purchase the Super Learning Kit for Arduino from OzToyLib.

About the Arduino UNO

The Arduino UNO is the most used and documented board of the whole Arduino family and very easy to setup, play with. The Arduino UNO is a microcontroller board based on the ATmega328 . The Arduino UNO has 14 digital input/output pins (of which 6 can be used as PWM outputs), 6 analog inputs, a 16 MHz ceramic resonator, a USB connection, a power jack, an ICSP header, and a reset button. Here’s a listing of the some of the features of the Arduino UNO –

  1. Microcontroller: ATmega328
  2. Operating Voltage: 5V
  3. Input Voltage (recommended): 7-12V
  4. Input Voltage (limits): 6-20V
  5. Digital I/O Pins: 14 (of which 6 provide PWM output)
  6. Analog Input Pins: 6
  7. DC Current per I/O Pin: 40 mA
  8. DC Current for 3.3V Pin: 50 mA
  9. Flash Memory: 32 KB of which 0.5 KB used by bootloader
  10. SRAM: 2 KB (ATmega328)
  11. EEPROM: 1 KB (ATmega328)
  12. Clock Speed: 16 MHz

Arduino is an open-source, prototyping platform and its simplicity makes it ideal for hobbyists to use as well as professionals. The Arduino UNO contains everything needed to support the microcontroller; simply connect it to a computer with a USB cable or power it with a AC-to-DC adapter or battery to get started. The Arduino UNO differs from all preceding boards in that it does not use the FTDI USB-to-serial driver chip. Instead, it features the Atmega8U2 microcontroller chip programmed as a USB-to-serial converter. “Uno” means one in Italian and is named to mark the upcoming release of Arduino 1.0. The Arduino Uno and version 1.0 will be the reference versions of Arduno, moving forward. The Uno is the latest in a series of USB Arduino boards, and the reference model for the Arduino platform.

You can read more about the Arduino here – www.arduino.cc.