Talking to an LED matrix display can be tricky! The 64 x 32 LED used here has a whopping 2,048 pixels, and each can display RGB colors, which makes for a whole lot of data to sling around. Thankfully, our RGB Matrix shield paired with the Metro M4 Airlift does most of the heavy lifting.

Let's assemble the boards and the display so we can get things running!

Shields Up

First, add the male headers, screw terminal block, and the 8x2-pin socket to the Matrix shield, by following this guide. Be careful to match the socket polarity to the silkscreen image on the board.

Be sure to also perform the clock pin mod as shown here.

Then plug the shield into the Metro M4 Airlift.

Power Connections

To provide power, we'll screw the wiring harness connectors to the screw terminal blocks of the shield. Be sure to match the black wire to GND and the red wire to +5Vout.

Now, simply plug the other end into the panel's power header. It can only go in one way.

Data Cable

Plug in the two ends of the ribbon cable, note that the connectors are keyed to only fit in the correct orientation.


To create the mode jumper, simply solder a three position female header to the GND, D13, D12 pins of the shield.

A pack of these is good to have around, just use some diagonal cutters to clip off three positions (cut along the fourth sacrificial position).

We won't use pin D13, but this makes for a more stable header row vs. two individual ones.

Then, trim the insulation from the ends of a small bit of solid core hook-up wire and ground D12 to GND for imperial, or pull the jumper for metric.

Wall Adapter

We'll power the Metro M4 from the 5V 2.5 (or a 4A) DC wall adapter plugged into the barrel jack. Even though USB can provide power to the board, the current isn't adequate for lighting up hundreds and thousands of LEDs!

This guide was first published on Sep 16, 2020. It was last updated on Sep 22, 2020.

This page (Build the Quote Board Matrix Display) was last updated on Sep 11, 2020.

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