Reverse Engineering a Dot Matrix Plasma Display

After finding a plasma dot-matrix screen from a garage clearout, Shaun Taylor proceeded to reverse-engineer the interface so it could be driven by an Arduino-compatible board. Being a product of the 1980s the interface details were a little sketchy, however with some perseverance he succeeded in his quest. After some experimenting the data is sent using SPI to update the screen at a better refresh rate. He even created a Visual Studio application to control the screen, created fonts and a method to display images:

You can read more about Shaun’s project and view the code here. And we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you need a dot-matrix display that can be easily controlled with an Arduino, consider the Freetronics Dot Matrix Display. Available in a variety of colours, they consist of a 32 by 16 matrix of LEDs. Included with the DMD is a cable to directly connect with an Arduino-compatible board, and at low brightness (which is still fine to read indoors) you can power one DMD from the Arduino. However by connecting 5V at 2.5A for each board they operate at a brightness which is visible anywhere. Furthermore you can daisy-chain (with the included cable) six or more displays for great effects. So for more information head over to the DMD pages today

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