How to Build a Low Cost DIY LED Matrix for Under $20


Building your own LED matrix display can be a fun and rewarding DIY electronics project. With just a handful of affordable components, you can make a customizable LED display to decorate your room, use as a clock, or program to display text and images. In this guide, I'll walk you through a simple way to build your own LED matrix for under $20.

What You Will Need

To build this budget LED matrix, you will need the following items:

The total cost of these components should be under $20, unless you need to purchase tools like wire strippers or pliers. Many "electronics starter kits" aimed at Arduino beginners will include all of these items.

Wiring up the LED Matrix

We'll need to connect up the LED matrix to the Arduino, power supply, and resistors. Follow these steps to wire it:

Refer to a pinout diagram of your LED matrix to see how the rows and columns are wired internally. Taking the time to carefully wire up the connections will ensure your display works.

Installing the Arduino Library

To control the LED display from our code, we can use a special Arduino library called LedControl.

Follow these steps to install LedControl:

Writing the Arduino Sketch

Now for the code to get the LED matrix working. Here are the key steps:

The full Arduino sketch can be found in LedControl's examples. Feel free to modify it and experiment!

Creating Interesting Displays

With your DIY LED matrix set up, here are some cool display ideas to try:

The possibilities are endless for what can be shown on these simple yet versatile LED matrix modules!

Troubleshooting Issues

If your LED matrix isn't working, here are some common issues to check:

Carefully going over your matrix wiring and code often resolves any display problems.


Building your own LED matrix display with an Arduino is an enjoyable electronics project that can be completed on a budget under $20. Use this guide to learn the key steps of wiring up the matrix, installing the LedControl library, coding the Arduino sketch, and troubleshooting basic issues. With a fully working LED display, you'll be able to create awesome visualizations and animations with ease. The affordable components and customizable open-source software make this a great project for beginners and experienced makers alike. Get creative and build a unique LED matrix that suits your style!