How to build your very own large LED Jumbotron video wall — and go insane in the process!

Behold! (This thing doesn’t photograph well, but trust me: WOW!)
My initial ‘train’ departure board I had cobbled together with some LED matrix panels and a Raspberry Pi
  • Cost: About £1,000 in raw components. Then about the GDP of a small country if you factor in labour.
  • Build time: Honestly I lost track. I started the project about 3 months ago having no idea what I was doing, and only doing it in my spare time — so maybe you’ll fare better.
  • Size: 2 meters width by 1.2 meters height
  • Resolution: A whopping 384 x 256. (It sounds way more impressive if you say that’s 98,304 individual LEDs you’re addressing)
  • Number of panels: 48
  • Number of Power Supplies: 3 x 5V 60amp transformers
  • Some electronics know-how. I’m by no means an expert, but I know 60 amps * 5v = 300 Watts. Just about.
  • Patience. This thing took a long time to assemble, not to mention waiting for parts to arrive from China 🇨🇳. Hopefully this post will speed things up and you can order everything in one go (as opposed to ordering a bit, seeing if it fits, ordering more, etc)
The Pi is cute, but doesn’t scale well (I think we can all relate)
Using a breadboard and jumper cables is totally what a professional would use in production. Fact.

The panels I used were P5, 32*64, 320mm x 160mm, 1/16 scan, RGB, HUB75. Catchy. That got the cost of a panel down to about £18. Nice.

So. Many. Panels.
Power cables should come with the panels
Dianogal bars were added to stop it wibbly-wobbling (technical term)
Drill baby, drill
Me after drilling and cutting the frame to the wrong measurements. Again. Don’t do that.
Then the panels stick on with magnets. Neat (until you move it and they all fall off)

Don’t do what I did, which was get overly excited and want to try out more panels than the transformer could handle. I don’t know what I expected to happen, but quelle surprise, it overheated and never turned on again. Don’t do that.

Power and data cables linking panels
The display is powered from our comms room in a 3D printed custom cardboard box enclosure
Ooo a mysterious dialogue that can only be revealed by knowing not one, but TWO passwords
The cockpit: this is Jumbo001 we’re ready to taxi, over.
Sam being ecstatic that after 3 long months of my bitching it works!
  • Play things on specific days
  • Play things at a specific time
  • Play videos, photos and gifs
HELLO!!!!

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Maker of digital products and businesses @ Founders Factory. Working with easyJet, L'Oreal, The Guardian, Aviva, M&S, CSC & Holtzbrinck

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Phillip Caudell

Phillip Caudell

Maker of digital products and businesses @ Founders Factory. Working with easyJet, L'Oreal, The Guardian, Aviva, M&S, CSC & Holtzbrinck

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