“”Colossus Micro” is an animated light display in a portable size. It uses a “P5” LED panel that is controlled by a Raspberry Pi Zero W. Here are its features:
Convenient size (12 x 6”)
Full color, high resolution LED display (2,048 pixels)
Great for a tabletop display for trade/craft shows, displaying eye catching information, and anywhere that benefits from a bright, colorful display
Wifi controllable from your smart phone or laptop (built-in wifi “hotspot”)
Battery powered using an internal rechargeable battery (also runs from a wall outlet)
Displays static text/graphics, moving text, and animations
Animations and graphics created on your laptop/computer with xLights, then uploaded wirelessly to the display
Self contained (via included mounting bracket and cover)
Easy to assemble (minimal soldering)
P5 panels are a good way to get into the world of LEDs and pixels. They are easy to setup and instantly rewarding; you can display anything on them from text, animations, and video.
A P5 panel has multi-color LEDs arranged in a grid on a rectangular base. There are three LEDs per “pixel”, the colors mixing together to form a single color of light. The “5” in P5 means that pixels are space 5mm apart. So, in a typical 12” x 6” panel, there are 64 pixels across by 32 pixels down, totaling 2,048 pixels! That’s plenty of pixels for text and animations. There are also P10 panels with 10mm pixel spacing which is better for outdoor displays. These instructions are suited for P5 panels. You can buy them here.
The panel is controlled with a Raspberry Pi Zero, a low-cost microcomputers. A Raspberry Pi Zero can control up to four P5 panels, though this project only uses one panel.
The Raspberry Pi Zero will use a free program called Falcon Player to play animations on your display. Animations are created with a free program called xLights on your desktop or laptop computer. You create animations on xLights, save them to Falcon Player on your controller, then your display can run the animations without needing your computer. Your display will also be wireless; you can control it with your laptop or smartphone!
These instructions will teach you how to build a single panel display. The single panel display is self-contained, suitable for portability on a tabletop. Plans for a 3D printed case are provided.
Let’s get started!”