Overview

Pac Man is my spirit animal.

Okay, not really. But as a child of the 80’s, video arcade games were a huge cultural phenomenon of my formative years.

Tiny affordable microcontrollers are a cultural phenomenon of today’s generation.

This project bridges the generations to create an animated LED necklace or charm that you can customize to create a retro-style personal “totem video game creature.” It’s a small project, good for electronics novices and group workshops. And you’ll have something eye-catching to wear and show off afterward.
This guide was written for the Trinket Mini and Gemma v2 boards. It has been updated to also support the Trinket M0 and Gemma M0 using CircuitPython. We recommend the Trinket M0 or Gemma M0 as they are easier to use and are more compatible with modern computers!

Tools Needed

This is a soldering project, albeit a small one. You will need the common soldering paraphernalia of a soldering iron, solder, wire (20 to 26 gauge, either stranded or solid) and tools for cutting and stripping wire.

Parts needed

Can I use a “small” (1.2 inch) LED matrix instead of the “mini” (0.8 inch) version?

Sure can! Just be super extra careful to follow the assembly directions in the LED Backpack Guide and install the matrix the right way on the board. This is a common mistake! The “mini” matrix is recommended for this project because it’s less troublesome for beginners.

Can I use other color matrices?

Yes! You can use any color of our 8x8 matrices: red, green, blue, white...

Can I use the bi-color matrix backpack?

Yes it will work but you will have to adjust the bitmaps and code to handle the extra rows (it appears like a 16x8 matrix to the driver chip), we don't have a tutorial for that but mechanically, the wiring is the same.
This guide was first published on Oct 01, 2013. It was last updated on Oct 14, 2018. This page (Overview) was last updated on Apr 28, 2018.