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SmartLED Shield - Teensy 4

The SmartLED Shield enables the Teensy 4 to drive high-quality graphics to HUB75 RGB LED panels, with 36-bit color and 240 Hz refresh rate across large panels (e.g. 128x64 pixels). A Teensy 4.0 or Teensy 4.1 with pins fits into the socket on the shield, and the shield can attach directly to the HUB75 panel or through a ribbon cable. The SmartMatrix library for Arduino makes it easy to draw basic graphics, create scrolling and static text, draw beautiful patterns using FastLED, and play animated GIFs on the panel. Example code is provided so you can get started as quickly as possible. The Shield and library use special features and peripherals of the Teensy 4 processor to send graphics data to your display with minimal CPU usage, so you can use the processor to do other tasks in parallel such as SPI communication, file decoding, or complex rendering.

Using SmartLED Shield with SmartMatrix library and the Teensy 4 is the easiest way to drive high-quality and high pixel count graphics to RGB LED panels with a microcontroller. Use a simple API to tell the library what to draw on the screen, and the library takes care of refreshing in the background. Advanced features like these are enabled automatically:

  • 36-bit Color Refresh - See the full color range in the image or pattern you're displaying, with no noticeable brightness steps when dimming pixels down to black. Up to 48-bit color refresh is available.
  • Color (Gamma) Correction - Your source graphics are probably 24-bit color, but SmartMatrix library applies automatic color correction so they have good contrast, smooth gradients, and don't look washed out.
  • Global Brightness Control - When you don't need the full brightness of the LED panel, lower the brightness without having to sacrifice color depth of your graphics.

The shield is easy to assemble and connect to a panel, and there’s no soldering required beyond adding pins to the Teensy. The Teensy is removable, so you can swap between the 4.0 and 4.1 if you want. All long edge Teensy signals are brought out to expansion rows for easy prototyping.

  • 1x, assembled SmartLED Shield for Teensy 4
  • 1x, 2x8 headers for expansion pinouts
  • 1x, 28 headers for Teensy connection
  • 1x, and 4-pin JST-SM male cable
  • Ease-of-use:
    • SmartLED Shield is fully assembled. If your Teensy has pins, then no soldering is required.
    • Teensy can easily be inserted into and removed from the shield.
    • SmartMatrix library for Arduino provides an easy development platform, along with others such as FastLED.
    • Example code is included for a quick start.
  • Flexibility:
    • Drives displays with up 9k pixels (e.g. 96 x 96) with high quality settings, and even larger displays with reduced quality settings.
    • Signals on the long edges of the Teensy are brought out to expansion rows for easy prototyping.
    • The 4-pin JST-SM connector may be used to provide power to the Teensy separate from the USB connector.
    • Optionally drive DotStar/APA102-compatible LEDs using the onboard 5 volt buffers and 4-pin JST-SM connector. Mating JST-SM cable is included.
    • Panels can be daisy-chained to make large, bright, high-resolution displays.
    • Drives all 14 signals on HUB75 panels using 5 volt buffered outputs, using only 9 GPIO pins on the Teensy 4.0 or 4.1.
  • Quality:
    • Provides up to a 240 Hz refresh rate.
    • Up to 48-bit color refresh is available.
    • Color (gamma) correction, and global brightness control features allow for a high level of visual quality control.

SmartLED Shield - Teensy 4 Product Help and Resources

Getting Started with the SmartLED Shield for Teensy

November 9, 2018

In this tutorial, we will connect different RGB LED matrix panels to PixelMatix's SmartLED shield and Teensy.

Core Skill: Soldering

This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.

1 Soldering

Skill Level: Noob - Some basic soldering is required, but it is limited to a just a few pins, basic through-hole soldering, and couple (if any) polarized components. A basic soldering iron is all you should need.
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Core Skill: Programming

If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.

3 Programming

Skill Level: Competent - The toolchain for programming is a bit more complex and will examples may not be explicitly provided for you. You will be required to have a fundamental knowledge of programming and be required to provide your own code. You may need to modify existing libraries or code to work with your specific hardware. Sensor and hardware interfaces will be SPI or I2C.
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Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

2 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Customer Reviews

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The best for driving LED Matrix displays

This is an update to the ready great smartMatrix shield/adapter that goes between a Teensy and an LED Matrix panel. This version adds support for Teensy 4.0 and 4.1 as well as the 3.2/3.5/3.6. Prior to this, you were limited to a small number of LED panels with 64x32 about the most you could squeeze out of a Teensy 3.2. I’m now driving 9 64x64 panels for a total of 192x192 pixels at refresh of around 50 to 60 Hz. The SmartLED library is extremely well crafted. Takes a little bit of digging to learn all the capabilities (I’m still learning) but if your working with led matrix panels with a hub75 interface, this is the ticket. It also has support for the FadeCandy ecosystem, but I’m still working to get it running on a Teensy 4.0.