The code examples in this guide are no longer supported. Please see the guide "Matrix and 7-Segment LED Backpack with the Raspberry Pi" for the latest examples. We recommend using the CircuitPython HT16K33 library to interface with the LED Backpack Displays.
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LED backpack displays are a great way to add a simple, bright LED display to your project. These displays get their name because of the controller chip attached to the back of them like a 'backpack'. This HT16K33 controller can drive up to 128 multiplexed LEDs in matrix, bar graph, 7-segment numeric, and even 14-segment alpha-numeric configurations. It handles the LEDs with a constant-current driver so the light is bright and consistent even if the power supply varies.

Best of all, the controller exposes a very simple I2C-based interface which is easy for a small-board computer like the Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone Black to access. This guide will show you how to install and use the Adafruit Python LED backpack library for driving LED backpack displays from a Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone Black!

Before you get started be sure to read the LED backpack guide to familiarize yourself with the assembly and basic usage of the backpack displays. You will also want to be familiar with connecting to and using a Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone Black's Linux command line. Finally, make sure your Raspberry Pi is running the latest Raspbian or Occidentalis operating system, or your BeagleBone Black is running the official Debian or a Debian-based operating system like Ubuntu.

This guide was first published on Jul 04, 2014. It was last updated on Jul 04, 2014.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Jul 03, 2014.

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