The GIF player loads images from the Matrix Portal’s flash filesystem. Although it’s an Arduino-based project, it’s necessary to temporarily install CircuitPython on the board to set up that drive for the first time. If you’ve previously installed CircuitPython, then these steps are already done…

  1. Visit the CircuitPython download page for Matrix Portal M4 and download a current .UF2 file.
  2. Connect the MatrixPortal board to your computer via USB cable.
  3. Double-click the board’s reset button.
  4. After a few seconds, the onboard NeoPixel should turn green and a drive called MATRIXBOOT will appear on your computer.
  5. Drag the CircuitPython .UF2 file to this drive and wait several seconds for it to install. The MATRIXBOOT drive will be replaced by a new drive called CIRCUITPY.

Create a folder called gifs on this drive. That’s where we’ll put images for playback.

Then download the precompiled .UF2 file for this project:

NOTE: this ready-made version works with a 64x32 pixel matrix. The code can handle other sizes but you’ll need to adjust and compile the code yourself in that case, explained on the “Compiling and Customizing” page.

Installing this is similar to CircuitPython above:

  1. Connect the MatrixPortal board to your computer via USB cable.
  2. Double-click the board’s reset button.
  3. After a few seconds, the onboard NeoPixel should turn green and a drive called MATRIXBOOT will appear on your computer.
  4. Drag the GIF player .UF2 file to this drive and wait several seconds for it to install. The MATRIXBOOT drive will be replaced by a new drive called CIRCUITPY.

Now you just need to load up the gifs folder with suitable images, and tap the reset button to restart.

CAUTION: copying GIFs to the CIRCUITPY drive while the GIF player is running sometimes causes problems, occasionally even clearing the drive. For added safety, temporarily install the Circuit Python .UF2, set up the gifs folder on the drive, then load up the GIF player .UF2. Always keep backups of your images and code!

This guide was first published on Oct 24, 2020. It was last updated on Oct 24, 2020.

This page (Quickstart) was last updated on Oct 23, 2021.

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