This is my biggest project so far. An engineering dream I had for so long that became possible when the FAIE (Fonds d'Appui au Initiatives Étudiantes, Student Initiatives Supporting Fund) gave me the budget to do it. The objective was to design and build a full RGB LED display. The total project budget (and cost) was CAN$7110. The original idea was to make a danceable surface (the project was then name the LEDFloor) but it quickly became obvious that it wasn't solid enough to carry even one person. I wasn't too disappointed by that, since I sincerly prefer using it a vertical display than a floor (which you won't see much when people get on it...)
In brief, I took 2 aluminium frames scavenged from portable stages risers and retrofitted the wood panel with a custom CNC-cut acrylic panel. The acrylic holds 72 PCBs, each with 16 RGB LEDs, for a total of 1152 RGB LEDs per panel with 8bit per color resolution, or 24bit per pixel. This means 16.7M colors per pixel and a screen resolution of 24x48 pixels.
The LEDs are driven by TI's TLC5947 LED driver chip. An Atmel NGW100 Network Gateway is interfaced with all the drivers thru SPI using the GPIOs. The AP7000 on the NGW100 runs a Linux Kernel with a custom kernel driver interfacing the sockets and the GPIOs. All the linux software and configuration was done by Benjamin Poirier.
I couldn't get access to a SMT Pick and Place machine or a Reflow Oven, so I soldered nearly 4000 SMT components by hand. Yes, by now I must have cancer from all these flux fumes (do not try this at home), but it was worth the effort. RGB PLCC6 LEDs are from China (eBay), LED Drivers from Texas Instruments (Mouser) and PCBs were manufactured by GoldPhoenix PCB (China).