LED matrices are one of the most common types of displays in the maker world, but most are quite small. That’s because the size of the individual LEDs themselves are small. Usually, building a bigger LED matrix means using more LEDs. That quickly becomes an exercise in frustration as you’re controlling hundreds of LEDs — a problem that is only compounded if you’re using RGB LEDs. But YouTuber Bitluni, of bitluni’s lab, took a different approach and made an LED matrix video wall using giant “pixels.”
In reality, each of those pixels is made with a standard WS2812B NeoPixel-style individually addressable RGB LED. But those LEDs are all diffused through ping pong balls, which makes them appear to be giant pixels. And, because WS2812B LEDs can be controlled by just a single wire from just about any microcontroller development board using any of the many available libraries, animating the LED video wall is easy. However, actually constructing the panel proved to be quite the challenge.
Bitluni wanted to the video wall to be sturdy, so he used a piece of steel sheet metal as the face plate. Aluminum probably would have been a better choice, because cutting and drilling steel can be quite difficult with hand tools. But eventually he was able to get the face plate finished. Then he built a wood frame for it, inserted all of the LEDs, and covered each LED with a ping pong ball. Because the LEDs draw a lot of current, Bitluni used a separate power supply. The actual control was done with an Arduino Nano, and results look fantastic.