It's easy to use LED Matrices with Python and the Adafruit CircuitPython HT16K33 library.  This library allows you to easily write Python code to control the display.

We'll cover how to wire the LED Matrix to your Raspberry Pi. First assemble your LED Matrix.

Since there's dozens of Linux computers/boards you can use we will show wiring for Raspberry Pi. For other platforms, please visit the guide for CircuitPython on Linux to see whether your platform is supported

Connect the LED Matrix as shown below to your Raspberry Pi.

  • Raspberry Pi 3.3V to LED Matrix VIN
  • Raspberry Pi GND to LED Matrix GND
  • Raspberry Pi SCL to LED Matrix SCL
  • Raspberry Pi SDA to LED Matrix SDA


You'll need to install the Adafruit_Blinka library that provides the CircuitPython support in Python. This may also require enabling I2C on your platform and verifying you are running Python 3. Since each platform is a little different, and Linux changes often, please visit the CircuitPython on Linux guide to get your computer ready!

Python Installation of HT16K33 Library

Once that's done, from your command line run the following command:

  • pip3 install adafruit-circuitpython-ht16k33

If your default Python is version 3 you may need to run 'pip' instead. Just make sure you aren't trying to use CircuitPython on Python 2.x, it isn't supported!

If that complains about pip3 not being installed, then run this first to install it:

  • sudo apt-get install python3-pip

Pillow Library

We also need PIL, the Python Imaging Library, to allow using text with custom fonts. There are several system libraries that PIL relies on, so installing via a package manager is the easiest way to bring in everything:

  • sudo apt-get install python3-pil

That's it. You should be ready to go.

This guide was first published on Jul 29, 2012. It was last updated on Jul 21, 2024.

This page (Python Wiring and Setup) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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