LED Tiles

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Born On:
22:38, 6 July 2008 (CDT)
Last Updated:
16:50, 06 August 2010 (CDT)


LED tiles are just that, a piece of PCB with five RGB LEDs on them and a single white LED. They use a 16 channel LED driver with a SPI interface so that many can be driven from the same microcontroller. The idea is that you can play with just one, or tile them on a wall or other surface for neat visual effects like fading a color across the surface. The size of the PCB is yet to be determined. Initial prototypes will be through-hole parts, but further revisions will be on real PCBs with SMT parts.

With the current design of 5 independent LEDs per board, pairing is currently the best way to use these, so you get a 5x2 array out of each pair of tiles.

An alternate configuration would be to use 3 drivers on a single board to power 16 RGB LEDs in a 4x4 or 8x2 array.

Look here for a comparable product. It would take 8 of these tiles to come up with a comparable array. At that point, the custom array would hold 16 more LEDs and be programmable to infinitely more colors. My goal is now to reproduce this product (or something similar) for less. The LEDs alone will cost at least $16, so that leaves ~$44 for the SPI LED controllers, resistors, and breadboard. A better way to recreate this would be to go with the 4x4 tiles that use 3 controllers each to make more efficient use of the controllers. This would require a total of 12 LED controllers instead of 16.

Parts List

These two versions may be merged at some point or the version I create may use parts from both.



  • PCB
  • 5 Tricolor SMT LEDs
  • 1 White SMT LED
  • 1 16 channel SMT LED driver
  • Header for pluggable SPI interface