Control thousands of LEDs?

What’s the best way to control 4,096 LEDs? I like the concept of using Raspberry, but I’ve not found anything that scales really well for controlling LEDs.

@ PintSize.Me - what exactly are you trying to accomplish? Are the RGB leds? What kind of update rate do you need?

That depend on the kind of LEDs. If they are addressable LEDs then you can use the I2C bus on many a µC. If they are descrete LED’s then you can use Charlieplexing. This however will require 64 IO Pins, and will allow you to control 4095 descrete LEDS. Since there is no µC that will sink that much current, you will need driver MOSFETs; 64 of them.


@ skeller, I am looking at a project that will have 64 64x64 grids, though I already planned on making each individual grid be self-contained for a lot of reasons, maintenance and manageability being the top 2. Now that you ask though, RGB LEDs would be even better, though I know that triples the number of LED pins or addresses.

@ Mr John Smith, I’ll look through all the links you posted, and your points on just how many I/Os would be needed to accomplish it is exactly what led me ask in the forum.

Maybe you could use several of these to do it. I2C control for 144 leds. Though I have not looked to see if ISSI has larger ones.

@ PintSize.Me - This might help some:[url][/url] They have examples of using a 32x32 panel using arduino’s and Pi’s.
If you are looking to do full motion video you will need a whole lot more than just an off the shelf Pi.

Have you used this chip? It looks like it could be perfect for a project I’m starting. It says it requires 3.2 mA per LED. Does it light all the LEDs at once or does it scan them and light one at a time?

@ skeller, I can’t use the board itself (pitch is too small) but that conceptually is 1/4th of what I need, so that’s great and they have a 64x32. I might end up with these just for prototyping the final solution since electrically they may be the same.

I’m not doing video with it, just representing some datapoints.