8×8 RGB Matrix V3 + KICAD + SMD — part 2

Lost in some office, surrounded by clueless clerks, and low on patience…

This is my adaption of the famous tag line of Army of Darkness: “Lost in time, surrounded by evil, and low on gas…”, which describes what I’ve been through the last 3 weeks. But finally I got the PCBs !

Here are the photos:

A slightly updated version will be available soon with all the necessary files to reproduce it (KICAD + gerber). There was a bug in the dimensional drawings of the LED matrix, so the footprint I created for it was slightly wrong too. It works, but it’s not 100% straight. So this will be fixed.
I’ll also add a jumper to disable the RTS/DTR line on the FTDI cable and a 10k pull-up resistor to disable the matrix while uploading code. This is not strictly necessary if the resistors are high enough, but it is the proper way. In a related project I drive the LEDs with high peak currents and without the PWM running, they will fry. In this case disabling the LEDs is vital.

  • Gerber files for this revision 3.00: 8x8_rgb_matrix-v3_fixed.zip
  • Gerber + KICAD files for an updated revision 3.03: 8x8_rgb_matrix-v3_03_publish.tgz
  • V3.03 schematics taken from the .tgz file
  • Gerber + KICAD files for an updated revision 3.04: 8x8_rgb_matrix-v3_04_publish.tgz
  • V3.04 schematics taken from the .tgz file.

For your convenience I’ve included all the non-standard libraries/footprints I’ve used in V3.03. You still have to configure KICAD accordingly (EEschema/CVpcb). See comment #4.  Also see the library page if you want to download them individually.

I had this board manufactured by Seeedstudio, and put a short page into their open source PCB wiki. They also have access to the gerber files and maybe would produce more if there was a big enough demand for it.

Please also have a look at my projects page for the latest demo code.

Comprehensive writeup at instructables.com

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14 Responses to 8×8 RGB Matrix V3 + KICAD + SMD — part 2

  1. nick says:


    I followed you here from the Seeed Studio blog.

    Any chance you could build one of these for me? I recently started tinkering with Arduino, and purchased one of these 8×8 matrix from Seeed before I gave a lot of thought to how I could drive it…

  2. robert says:


    I will send you a PM.

  3. andy says:


    great work are your V03 files ok? no modding needed?

    also where do you get the components :)

  4. robert says:


    They should be OK. The only change I did was add a resistor, a capacitor and a jumper. Also I fixed a small mechanical “discrepancy” between theory and real life object :-) Assuming that KICAD worked as before, it should have produced proper files.

    Well components, how about your favorite electronics distributor (mouser, digikey to name a few big ones).

    The mini-switches I used are available at Sparkfun, if you don’t want to go hunting for them. But you could surely find a cheaper source for them. There is some information on my datasheet page. The footprint is metric. It’s the third one from the top (LPH). The LED matrix is available at Ledsee.com or Seeedstudio.com. The first source is cheaper. Both are in China and have webshops. All the other parts are easy to get.

    Just make sure you import the libraries in EEschema (preferences –> libs and dirs) and the netlist/footprint linker CVpcb (preferences –> configuration)


    there was something strange in the V3.03 files I had uploaded. I’m fixing that right now. The V3.00 gerber files should be OK, that is the boards do work. The small pin offset is just a nuisance.

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  7. Juha says:

    Excellent work! Any chance you might still have those pcb:s laying around? I pretty much have the same problem as Nick. :)

  8. robert says:

    Not quite, but sort off.

    I’ve got one of this and one of this left over. Unassembled and no matrix.

  9. Benjamin Smith says:

    I am interested in one of these 8×8 RGB Matrix boards for a fiber optic project I want to build. Do you have any of these available and what is the price? Thanks!
    Ben Smith

  10. robert says:


    what kind of brightness requirements do you have?

    If you’re planning to glue fibers to the LED segments, you’ll need a diffuser in-between, or you’ll be picking up the unmixed fundamental colors.

    If you require increased brightness and several boards, you should have a look at the ‘rainbowduino’ by Seeedstudio (about 50$). My little controller board (starts at 37.50$) is only good for indoor situations with reduced lighting. If that is all you need, you can get it and another LED doodad here.

  11. Anderson says:

    Hi there, can you explain the functionality of the circuit? How do you use the pwm to turn on each led if it is a serial circuit?

  12. robert says:

    I’m not using ‘the PWM’, I’m making my own. The code creates a serial stream of bits. One byte of this stream represents the PWM-state of 8 outputs at a certain time.

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