Although LEDs are very efficient light sources, get enough of them in one place and the current really adds up.

A single 32x16 or 32x32 RGB matrix, running full tilt (all pixels set white), can require nearly 4 Amps of current! Double that figure for a 64x32 matrix.

On average though, displaying typical graphics and animation, these panels will use less…a 2A supply is usually sufficient for a single 32x16 or 32x32 panel, or 4A for a 64x32 panel. There’s no harm in using a larger power supply rated for more Amps (e.g. a 10A supply), but never use one with a higher Voltage (use 5V, period)!

On these panels, the power connection is separate from the data connection. Let’s begin by connecting a 5V supply…

Our parts suppliers occasionally make revisions to designs. As a result, the connections have changed over time. We'll walk through the different wiring combinations here…pick the explanation that matches the panel(s) you received.

Two different types of power connectors have made an appearance:

On the left is a screw post power connector (with adjacent pads for soldering wires directly). On the right, a Molex-style header. Some panels will have two headers…the power cable included with these panels has connectors for both headers.

With the posts-and-pads connector, you can either screw down the spades from the power cable, or another approach is to cut a 2.1mm jack from this extension cord and solder it to the pads on the panel back. This way you can plug the 5V from a wall adapter right in (the one we have in the shop is suggested). Simply cut the other half of the cable off, and strip the wiring so you can solder the red wire to +5 and the black wire to ground.

Solder both pins correctly to the power port. Make sure you get this right because there is no protection diode!
If your panel has the Molex-style header, just plug in the included power cable, observing the correct polarity.

If your power cable came with spades at the opposite end of this power cable, they can be screwed into a 2.1mm terminal block adapter. Works nicely! Don't allow the exposed connectors to contact metal though…you should probably cover this with heat-shrink tube or electrical tape.

You may receive power cables with different endings, e.g. round instead of spade ends, or maybe with another Molex connector. Just strip the cables and wire directly to the power plug

This guide was first published on Dec 11, 2012. It was last updated on Sep 14, 2023.

This page (Power) was last updated on Dec 11, 2012.

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