Mega2560 & DMD

The Dot Matrix Display (DMD) is a 32x16 array of high-brightness LEDs for visually striking effects. [Product Page]
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MrKn33l
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:38 pm

Mega2560 & DMD

Post by MrKn33l » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:14 pm

Hi, I'm very new to the Arduino and Electronics and I thought the DMD would be a great starter project, just to show the time or something. I am having a lot of trouble just getting the demo working though. I have read here that the Mega cant be connected directly to the DMD due to the Pin differences. I have found that what I need to connect are basically Pins....
Mega - DMDConnect
6 A
7 B
8 SCLK
9 OE
51 R
52 CLK

When I connect this all up, I get the demo *time* to light up for a split second then it disappears and some seamingly random lights come on, and that's all that happens.
When I unplug the Ardunio and restart it I get nothing...I have to reload the code to get anything to work again.
Does anyone have any idea what it could be? Any assistance would be fantastic.
Thanks.

42n8
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2012 8:10 pm
Location: Auckland, NZ

Re: Mega2560 & DMD

Post by 42n8 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:18 pm

When I connect this all up, I get the demo *time* to light up for a split second then it disappears and some seamingly random lights come on, and that's all that happens.
When I unplug the Ardunio and restart it I get nothing...I have to reload the code to get anything to work again.
This sounds to me like the code is being corrupted, so in order of liklihood...
  • Make sure that you have connected the pins correctly. Yeah, I know you did that already but we all make stupid mistakes.
  • It can happen if a pin that you are using has not been set to digital. This would then become a floating input, which is essentially an indeterminate state that can do anything at all, including corrupting (rewriting) the code.
  • The other, less likely cause, is a bad joint causing an earth loop. Use a magnifying glass or Loupe to investigate all solder connections.
Regards

MrKn33l
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:38 pm

Re: Mega2560 & DMD

Post by MrKn33l » Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:15 am

Thanks for the suggestions.
I have re-checked the pins I am using and i'm fairly sure they are correct.
I also downloaded and reinstalled all the libraries and software (just to be sure I had the latest versions).
I have noticed though that in the DMD.h Library that it calls a file called *pins_Arduino.h* I searched for this file and I have 5 of them in the *Variants* folders how do I know which one of these files are being loaded when I compile the software?

Also in the *DMD_Clock_readout* demo file I have tried changing the pins there to match what is actually plugged in (rather than leave it at the default).

You mention to make sure the Pins are set to Digital - how do I do that (sorry - new to all this).

Thanks again for your help.

MrKn33l
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:38 pm

Re: Mega2560 & DMD

Post by MrKn33l » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:26 am

Thank you all for your help - I still can't get it to work with my Mega2560 and I really don't think I could be hooking it up wrong, with the pin to pin mappings that Tronixstuff has supplied. I am going to try to get my hands on a Freetronix Eleven that way I can try it on a known combination and work out if I have a fault Arduino, faulty display or a faulty brain. Thanks again for your help, I will post my results when my new Arduino turns up.

MrKn33l
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:38 pm

Re: Mega2560 & DMD

Post by MrKn33l » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:23 am

Well, my new Freetronics Eleven turned up today (excellent speedy delivery!). Unfortunatly it has not resolved the issue. I downloaded all the files again, installed the drivers for my Eleven and loaded the DMD Demo sketch.

I get slightly more success than I did with the Mega, but it still does not work.
The images show what how I have plugged it in and what I get when the demo scrolls the *Scrolling Text* in the sketch.
Text.jpg
this is the scrolling text - the first part of the word *Text*
Time.jpg
This is what displays then the TIME demo is on.
Plugs.jpg
Plugs. - the arrow on the DMD is pointing up and also to the right. so this is the Left Hand connector.

I am thinking it's time to try and return it to JayCar :(

MrKn33l
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:38 pm

Re: Mega2560 & DMD

Post by MrKn33l » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:37 am

to quote Prof. Hubert Farnsworth "Good News Everyone!".
I returned my DMD to Jaycar tonight and got another replacement..third time lucky...and it works perfectly. it took three DMD's to find a good one but I got one. Kudos to Jaycar as well for their contribution. When I walked in the store the Sales guy recognized me right away. He looked at the DMD and with the large magnifying glass they have spotted a number of dry joints, that I could not see. He offered me a refund right away (even though it was 3 weeks ago I made the purchase and they have a 7 day policy (I was expecting to get offered a store credit)). He took all the units down from the shelf and said he was going to remove them from sale until something could be done, but when we looked at the ones that where left, they where obviously from a different manufacturing run. He checked them under the glass and felt that the new one should be OK so I took it and hoped for the best.

And it all worked out fine.

Things to look for.....
The new one has a separate UP and Right Arrow printed on it, the old one had a single *L* shape with arrow heads.
Also the headers for the DMDCON are now covered in a plastic connector, not simply Pins on the board.
lastly the PCB is a slightly different colour to the old one.


Thank you to all that offered advice and helped me with this problem.
now if I can just remember what it was I wanted to build. ;)

Galang
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