A Modular LED Display Marquee System. Simple to use and infinitely hackable. Designed, Made, and Shipped direct from TEXAS!Designed by openbrite in United States of America
Meet BriteBlox. It's the simplest, most versatile, least expensive LED Marquee Display system that exists today, with useful features for all experience levels with electronics. Our software & ha...Read More…
You can stack or arrange up to 64 Displayboards together in a single system in any way that you like. Each Displayboard is 1.5 x 2 inches, comes with a 5x7 two-color LED matrix on top (can be combined for 3 colors -- Red, Green, and Yellow). Our modular design allows you to design and connect BriteBlox any way you like. Wrap them around a corner, backpack, back windshield, DJ booth, bar, store, on top of a door, frame, or use your imagination! You can even string together Displayboards vertically to make an LED matrix of any height!
The BriteBlox protocol allows you to display Images, Text, Scrolling, Animations, and even GAMES! You can design your own Fonts, Characters, Sprites, whatever! Imagine Mario on this, or LED Pacman, or Tetris -- oh wait, that's already been done!
Two Displayboards showing the early "Stacy & Stevo" test pattern, plus 3D-printed cases (sold separately)
If you get done with using BriteBlox Displayboards as LED panels, then upcycle them! They use the Arduino Bootloader which can be reprogrammed through the same connection interface used to connect the Displayboards together. That means that with the two ATmega chips on each each Displayboard, you get 26 GPIO Hackable pins in a ~1.5x2inch board plus four analog pins for less than $20. That is an unheard-of price and size in the DIY Market.
Find out more about our humble beginnings on Kickstarter.
Behind the scenes: a Displayboard without its LED panel
It all started when we went to a local electronics shop and saw these cheap LED Matrix boards. Stevo had always wanted to have a Stock Ticker in his office, but the commercial systems just would not do what he needed. We were inspired. OpenBrite was on the job.
All of the commercial systems we saw on the market at the time this was designed suffered from one or more of the following drawbacks:
The DIY area was not much better as existing systems either cost $45 a character (over twice the retail price we are asking), had a learning curve, are limited to one color, aren't modular, and all of them required expensive external controllers you had to program to get going.
Our maximum-length marquee showing a test pattern
It can be a stock ticker, a throbbing heart, or so much more. Unlike traditional LED marquees that come in a single, monolithic package, you can arrange BriteBlox into many shapes and sizes and interface with the marquee in several ways. Make it one row, two rows, a square, or even odd shapes. Try to make a traditional marquee bend, and you will probably break it. Since BriteBlox involves individual panels linked together, you could bend the connectors or insert short ribbon cables to make it curve around almost any contour. The intelligence to handle unique arrangements comes from powerful open-source software driving very simple yet robust communications to capable open-source hardware.
You don't need to have any hardware experience to get started. It is easy to set up a BriteBlox marquee to display text quickly, but for those more adventurous with hardware, we have left the two on-board ATmega168 chips totally open to program with your own Arduino sketches. We designed this system for everyone from the grandma who has trouble hearing her phone and would benefit from having caller ID displayed above the TV or in the bedroom to the tinkerer who wants to make it drive a giant array of motors!
BriteBlox displays are also commercial use friendly. No longer does a store owner need to throw away a $300-500 LED display because one of the LEDs burnt out or a chip died. Here you simply replace the board if the chip dies and the LED Matrix if an LED goes bad.
BriteBlox uses easy to find, inexpensive parts. You will be able to find compatible 5x7 LED matrices for a very long time. Tweak the boards with your own SMD or through-hole resistors to adjust brightness or repurpose the output pins. The chip pinout covers a whole line of very popular microcontrollers -- the ATMEGA. If you are good with surface-mount soldering, you can put on a compatible ATmega chip to upgrade or customize the Displayboard for your own purposes, besides simply reprogramming the existing chips on the board by using the Arduino IDE or toolchain of your choice.
Upcycle them or use them as a distributed system. The Displayboard hardware provides many of the niceties that an Arduino does. In a very consolidated space, you get access to two ATmega168 microcontrollers with 16KB flash memory running at 16MHz. All 13 digital I/O pins are exposed via the board's headers, as are two analog inputs per chip. The serial TX & RX pins, plus the analog input pin ADC7, are linked continuously across all chips on all boards. Each chip is programmed ahead of time with the BriteBlox firmware plus the Arduino Pro/Pro Mini 5V 16MHz bootloader in order to facilitate reprogramming and repurposing of the boards. The chips are reprogrammable using ICSP (bootloader + firmware sketch) or serial TX/RX (sketch only).
*These LED Matrices and all boards are designed for Indoor use. The displays are not bright enough to be read easily outdoors in full sunlight and they are not built for being outside.
We already have apps and code for every level of user that are under constant development. Our code can shout out Twitter #hashtags, display RSS Feeds, run the marquee from independent Arduino & Netduino code, and we've got some simple standalone apps for typing out messages in different colors and scroll speeds to the board over USB on Windows, MAC, and Linux. The Android application is underway. iOS control is coming soon!
To accompany your Displayboards, you will need a source of power and data. At the very least, you can use an FTDI Breakout or another Arduino to control it. However, we've designed some of our own accessories:
Other optional accessories:
Set up a dual-row marquee with the USB Communicator and some wire assemblies (sold separately).
Buy an LEDgoes (the old name of our product) T-shirt in S, M, L, XL, 2XL, or 3XL. Customize it with your own message every day using a washable marker on the white "pixels"!
This could be you sporting a cool LEDgoes T-shirt! (Order separately)
We offer bulk discounts. Check out our deals on 4-packs, 10-packs, and 100-packs. Contact us directly if you need 250 Displayboards or more.
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