Once you've soldered headers on, check out https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-dotstar-leds/for everything you could possibly ever want to know about DotStars. It's a handy guide for timing information, power calculations, etc.

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DotMatrix Usage

Here's a demo to get you started. Once you've installed the Adafruit DotStar and DotStar_Matrix libraries (you can get more info on how to that here) This example, when loaded onto your Feather will give you the pretty ADAFRUIT! scrolling demo. We've added a 5-pixel tall font so you can easily make scrolling messages!

// Adafruit_DotStarMatrix example for single DotStar LED matrix.
// Scrolls 'Adafruit' across the matrix.
#include <SPI.h>
#include <Adafruit_GFX.h>
#include <Adafruit_DotStarMatrix.h>
#include <Adafruit_DotStar.h>
#include <Fonts/TomThumb.h>
#if defined(ESP8266)
#define DATAPIN 13
#define CLOCKPIN 14
#elif defined(__AVR_ATmega328P__)
#define DATAPIN 2
#define CLOCKPIN 4
#elif defined(ARDUINO_SAMD_FEATHER_M0)
#define DATAPIN 11
#define CLOCKPIN 13
#elif defined(ARDUINO_AVR_FEATHER32U4)
#define DATAPIN 11
#define CLOCKPIN 13
#elif defined(ARDUINO_FEATHER52)
#define DATAPIN 7
#define CLOCKPIN 16
#elif defined(TEENSYDUINO)
#define DATAPIN 9
#define CLOCKPIN 5
#elif defined(ARDUINO_ARCH_WICED)
#define DATAPIN PA4
#define CLOCKPIN PB5
#elif defined(ESP32)
#define DATAPIN 27
#define CLOCKPIN 13
#endif
#define SHIFTDELAY 100
#define BRIGHTNESS 20
// MATRIX DECLARATION:
// Parameter 1 = width of DotStar matrix
// Parameter 2 = height of matrix
// Parameter 3 = pin number (most are valid)
// Parameter 4 = matrix layout flags, add together as needed:
// DS_MATRIX_TOP, DS_MATRIX_BOTTOM, DS_MATRIX_LEFT, DS_MATRIX_RIGHT:
// Position of the FIRST LED in the matrix; pick two, e.g.
// DS_MATRIX_TOP + DS_MATRIX_LEFT for the top-left corner.
// DS_MATRIX_ROWS, DS_MATRIX_COLUMNS: LEDs are arranged in horizontal
// rows or in vertical columns, respectively; pick one or the other.
// DS_MATRIX_PROGRESSIVE, DS_MATRIX_ZIGZAG: all rows/columns proceed
// in the same order, or alternate lines reverse direction; pick one.
// See example below for these values in action.
// Parameter 5 = pixel type:
// DOTSTAR_BRG Pixels are wired for BRG bitstream (most DotStar items)
// DOTSTAR_GBR Pixels are wired for GBR bitstream (some older DotStars)
// DOTSTAR_BGR Pixels are wired for BGR bitstream (APA102-2020 DotStars)
Adafruit_DotStarMatrix matrix = Adafruit_DotStarMatrix(
12, 6, DATAPIN, CLOCKPIN,
DS_MATRIX_BOTTOM + DS_MATRIX_LEFT +
DS_MATRIX_ROWS + DS_MATRIX_PROGRESSIVE,
DOTSTAR_BGR);
const uint16_t primaryColors[] = {
matrix.Color(255, 0, 0), matrix.Color(0, 255, 0), matrix.Color(0, 0, 255)
};
const uint16_t adaColors[] = {
matrix.Color(255, 0, 0), //A red
matrix.Color(255, 125, 0), //D orange
matrix.Color(200, 255, 0), //A yellowish
matrix.Color(0, 255, 0), //F green
matrix.Color(0, 255, 225), //R blue
matrix.Color(150, 0, 255), //U purple
matrix.Color(255, 0, 220), //I pink
matrix.Color(255, 65, 0), //T reddish
matrix.Color(255, 220, 0) //! orange/yellow
};
char adafruit[] = "ADAFRUIT!";
void setup() {
Serial.begin(115200);
// uncomment to have wait
//while (!Serial) delay(500);
Serial.println("\nDotstar Matrix Wing");
matrix.begin();
matrix.setFont(&TomThumb);
matrix.setTextWrap(false);
matrix.setBrightness(BRIGHTNESS);
for (byte i = 0; i < 3; i++) {
matrix.fillScreen(primaryColors[i]);
matrix.show();
delay(500);
}
}
int x = matrix.width();
int pass = 0;
void loop() {
matrix.fillScreen(0);
matrix.setCursor(x, 5);
for (byte i = 0; i < 9; i++) {
// set the color
matrix.setTextColor(adaColors[i]);
// write the letter
matrix.print(adafruit[i]);
}
if (--x < -50) {
x = matrix.width();
}
matrix.show();
delay(SHIFTDELAY);
}

// Adafruit_DotStarMatrix example for single DotStar LED matrix.
// Scrolls 'Adafruit' across the matrix.
#include <SPI.h>
#include <Adafruit_GFX.h>
#include <Adafruit_DotStarMatrix.h>
#include <Adafruit_DotStar.h>
#include <Fonts/TomThumb.h>
#if defined(ESP8266)
#define DATAPIN 13
#define CLOCKPIN 14
#elif defined(__AVR_ATmega328P__)
#define DATAPIN 2
#define CLOCKPIN 4
#elif defined(ARDUINO_SAMD_FEATHER_M0)
#define DATAPIN 11
#define CLOCKPIN 13
#elif defined(ARDUINO_AVR_FEATHER32U4)
#define DATAPIN 11
#define CLOCKPIN 13
#elif defined(ARDUINO_FEATHER52)
#define DATAPIN 7
#define CLOCKPIN 16
#elif defined(TEENSYDUINO)
#define DATAPIN 9
#define CLOCKPIN 5
#elif defined(ARDUINO_ARCH_WICED)
#define DATAPIN PA4
#define CLOCKPIN PB5
#elif defined(ESP32)
#define DATAPIN 27
#define CLOCKPIN 13
#endif
#define SHIFTDELAY 100
#define BRIGHTNESS 20
// MATRIX DECLARATION:
// Parameter 1 = width of DotStar matrix
// Parameter 2 = height of matrix
// Parameter 3 = pin number (most are valid)
// Parameter 4 = matrix layout flags, add together as needed:
// DS_MATRIX_TOP, DS_MATRIX_BOTTOM, DS_MATRIX_LEFT, DS_MATRIX_RIGHT:
// Position of the FIRST LED in the matrix; pick two, e.g.
// DS_MATRIX_TOP + DS_MATRIX_LEFT for the top-left corner.
// DS_MATRIX_ROWS, DS_MATRIX_COLUMNS: LEDs are arranged in horizontal
// rows or in vertical columns, respectively; pick one or the other.
// DS_MATRIX_PROGRESSIVE, DS_MATRIX_ZIGZAG: all rows/columns proceed
// in the same order, or alternate lines reverse direction; pick one.
// See example below for these values in action.
// Parameter 5 = pixel type:
// DOTSTAR_BRG Pixels are wired for BRG bitstream (most DotStar items)
// DOTSTAR_GBR Pixels are wired for GBR bitstream (some older DotStars)
// DOTSTAR_BGR Pixels are wired for BGR bitstream (APA102-2020 DotStars)
Adafruit_DotStarMatrix matrix = Adafruit_DotStarMatrix(
12, 6, DATAPIN, CLOCKPIN,
DS_MATRIX_BOTTOM + DS_MATRIX_LEFT +
DS_MATRIX_ROWS + DS_MATRIX_PROGRESSIVE,
DOTSTAR_BGR);
const uint16_t primaryColors[] = {
matrix.Color(255, 0, 0), matrix.Color(0, 255, 0), matrix.Color(0, 0, 255)
};
const uint16_t adaColors[] = {
matrix.Color(255, 0, 0), //A red
matrix.Color(255, 125, 0), //D orange
matrix.Color(200, 255, 0), //A yellowish
matrix.Color(0, 255, 0), //F green
matrix.Color(0, 255, 225), //R blue
matrix.Color(150, 0, 255), //U purple
matrix.Color(255, 0, 220), //I pink
matrix.Color(255, 65, 0), //T reddish
matrix.Color(255, 220, 0) //! orange/yellow
};
char adafruit[] = "ADAFRUIT!";
void setup() {
Serial.begin(115200);
// uncomment to have wait
//while (!Serial) delay(500);
Serial.println("\nDotstar Matrix Wing");
matrix.begin();
matrix.setFont(&TomThumb);
matrix.setTextWrap(false);
matrix.setBrightness(BRIGHTNESS);
for (byte i = 0; i < 3; i++) {
matrix.fillScreen(primaryColors[i]);
matrix.show();
delay(500);
}
}
int x = matrix.width();
int pass = 0;
void loop() {
matrix.fillScreen(0);
matrix.setCursor(x, 5);
for (byte i = 0; i < 9; i++) {
// set the color
matrix.setTextColor(adaColors[i]);
// write the letter
matrix.print(adafruit[i]);
}
if (--x < -50) {
x = matrix.width();
}
matrix.show();
delay(SHIFTDELAY);
}

With the DotStarMatrix library, we're using Adafruit_GFX, our graphics underpinning library. That means you can draw lines, dots, text, triangles, rectangles, bitmaps, what-have-you very easily across all Adafruit displays.

For more details on Adafruit GFX, check our the learning guide at https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-gfx-graphics-library/