I have a Raspberry Pi Model A and a 32 pin 8x8 full color LED Matrix. I would like to connect these up so my Raspberry Pi can control all the LEDs.

This is the LED matrix I have: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/683.

How would I go about connecting these up as the Model A doesn't have enough GPIOs? Thanks.

1 Answer 1


You are going to need at least one multiplexer IC to use this. The only one I see on sparkfun is this but I don't think it is appropriate (a comment mentions internal resistors which will make it useless directly connected to LEDs) unless you also use some transistors (e.g., a darlington array). So that would be Pi -> multiplexer(s) -> darlington array(s) -> led matrix. You would also need an additional power supply attached to the darlington array in order to run the leds.

You could likely use something like this dedicated LED multiplexer driver board (or two of them).

If all this sounds like more than you bargained for, beware for future reference that the "Skills" icons on Sparkfun pages are meaningful. This one says "Electrical prototyping -- competent".

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