# LED matrix controller - Help needed!

#### Xephlon

Joined Apr 28, 2020
3
Hey there,

Recently I have decided to get some of these P4 LED matrixes for a home project of mine:
- Two of these:
https://de.aliexpress.com/item/32633386488.html?spm=a2g0o.detail.1000023.9.433d7ff7mxEtLX

- One of these:
https://de.aliexpress.com/item/3302...etail.1000023.8.433d7ff7Divn59&storeId=933144

I would then want to arrange the matrixes so that they were all landscape (Making a 160x32 display)

My issue is that for my project I need to send video from my computer to the matrix so that it acts as a second monitor. I have looked for so long and have found no solution that will decode any video source (HDMI/DVI/VGA) for the LED matrix. There are 'sender' and 'receiver' cards which will send the decoded video signal for the matrix (originally DVI) and distribute it to the matrixes at the receiver card, but this totals a cost of over £100 and is not cost-effective for my small project.

Sender card is called TS802D and receiver card is called RV908M if you want to look

I also saw this GitHub project where an HDMI signal is decoded by a Spartan6 FPGA, but I can hardly program an Arduino so I am not confident taking that path.
https://github.com/ncortot/fpga-led-matrix

Can anyone more experienced with this suggest any ideas? Help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Joined Mar 10, 2018
4,057
If you have to handle HDMI and DVI to the full bandwidth this is definitely
an ASIC / FPGA solution, unless some vendor has already done it.

Your need to translate to x 32 display, handle the color depth, all non trivial
design. Just the interpolation engine is an involved design.

One possibility is picture in picture chip vendors, that capability seems like
a possibility. That has a scaling engine so a good part of your problem, the
very high speeds, scale down I would think. But this will still be a challenging
design as you would need to capture this window and its data and move it to
the led HW drive format.

Regards, Dana.

Last edited:

#### Xephlon

Joined Apr 28, 2020
3
Thanks Dana.

I am going to have to do some serious research in order to figure out how to put something like this together. I will be sure to look at PIP chips to see how they can assist with this issue. Also, since I am very inexperienced with FPGA's could you suggest a Development board suitable for something like this?

Joined Mar 10, 2018
4,057
I would contact an FAE from whatever vendor you decide to go with.
In fact have them come in and demo. Then make a decision.

My background in FPGA is strictly novice beginner 1%-er.

You main challenge with PIP chips is getting support I would posit. Meant for just
TVs, those vendors probably do not have a support organization for commercial
low volume applications. PIP also a question for FAEs, might be some IP out there
in the ASIC world for purchase. eg. the gaming guys for example.

Regards, Dana.

Last edited:

#### MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
8,787
Thanks Dana.

I am going to have to do some serious research in order to figure out how to put something like this together. I will be sure to look at PIP chips to see how they can assist with this issue. Also, since I am very inexperienced with FPGA's could you suggest a Development board suitable for something like this?
To do anything with an FPGA you must first know exactly what it is that you need to do. Decoding a data stream to drive a display is not a simple task, if that signal is not originally intended for that display. A 160 by 32 LED display is a whole lot fewer pixels than even an old CGA display. So while it can certainly function as an embedded display for some system, decoding standard video for it makes no sense.

#### Xephlon

Joined Apr 28, 2020
3
I understand that this resolution seems a bit ludicrous however I'm hoping the pixelation will contribute to a retro aesthetic. I am going to use it to display images of game titles for an arcade machine marquee and got the inspiration to do it when I saw the 'pixelcade' LED matrix kit. It sends images via USB serial and cant drive enough panels for my purpose whilst costing $300. The other option, a stretched LCD, also costs a crazy amount at about$400 or more. The advantage of a normal video input into the matrix is that I can run a preexisting program on it instead of loading images via serial which would require me to write both an FPGA based solution and a computer program to work in conjunction.