Wiring to the matrix is really easy
- Connect CLK to the I2C clock - on Arduino UNO thats Analog #5, on the Leonardo it's Digital #3, on the Mega it's digital #21
- Connect DAT to the I2C data - on Arduino UNO thats Analog #4, on the Leonardo it's Digital #2, on the Mega it's digital #20
- Connect GND to common ground
- Connect VCC+ to power - 5V is best but 3V also seems to work for 3V microcontrollers.
Next, download the Adafruit LED Backpack library from github . To download click the DOWNLOADS button in the top right corner, rename the uncompressed folder Adafruit_LEDBackpack. Check that the Adafruit_LEDBackpack folder contains Adafruit_LEDBackpack.cpp and Adafruit_LEDBackpack.h Place the Adafruit_LEDBackpack library folder your arduinosketchfolder/libraries/ folder. You may need to create the libraries subfolder if it's your first library. You'll also need to download the Adafruit GFX library - rename it Adafruit_GFX and install it as the LED backpack library. It's not actually used for the 7-segment, it's only for the matrix backpacks but it's still required. Restart the IDE.
Once you've restarted you should be able to select the File?Examples?Adafruit_LEDBackpack?sevenseg example sketch. Upload it to your Arduino as usual. You should see a basic test program that goes through a bunch of different routines.
Once you're happy that the matrix works, you can write your own sketches.
There's a few ways you can draw to the display. The easiest is to just call print - just like you do with Serial
- print(variable,HEX) - this will print a hexidecimal number, from 0000 up to FFFF
- print(variable,DEC) or print(variable) - this will print a decimal integer, from 0000 up to 9999
If you need more control, you can call writeDigitNum(location, number) - this will write the number (0-9) to a single location. Location #0 is all the way to the left, location #2 is the colon dots so you probably want to skip it, location #4 is all the way to the right. If you want a decimal point, call writeDigitNum(location, number, true) which will paint the decimal point. To draw the colon, usedrawColon(true or false)
If you wnat even more control, you can call writeDigitRaw(location,bitmask) to draw a raw 8-bit mask (as stored in a uint8_t) to that location.
All the drawing routines only change the display memory kept by the Arduino. Don't forget to call writeDisplay() after drawing to 'save' the memory out to the matrix via I2C.
There are also a few small routines that are special to the backpack:
- setBrightness(brightness)- will let you change the overall brightness of the entire display. 0 is least bright, 15 is brightest and is what is initialized by the display when you start
blinkRate(rate) - You can blink the entire display. 0 is no blinking. 1, 2 or 3 is for display blinking.