8×8 LED-Matrix with Raspberry and Lazarus

8×8 LED-Matrix with Raspberry and Lazarus

Would you like to drive a 8×8 LED matrix with a Raspberry Pi and Lazarus? But you do not know how? Then find a solution proposed in this article.

In Lazarus, there are not as many libraries available as in Python for the Raspberry Pi. Therefore Python is rightly the first choice for projects with the Pi. In special cases, however, a solution with Lazarus is better!

I think that’s always when there should be additionally a visualization on a screen. I want to show you in this article exactly this variant.

Visualization with Lazarus of the 8x8 matrix
Visualization with Lazarus

A prerequisite for the use of Lazarus that the corresponding component is also supported on a library. Otherwise, you have to be an expert to code them yourself.

Such a library is the TMS LCL HW Pack for Raspberry Pi TMS software. With it, a number of different displays from Adafruit can be easily controlled:

  • 4 digit 7 segment display
  • Graphic display from Adafruit: monochrome 128 × 32 OLED
  • Adafruit barometrix pressure / temperature sensor
  • Adafruit 8 × 8 LED matrix I2C

I want to use the 8 × 8 LED matrix. The only condition is that the matrix is ​​connected via the I2C bus.

Install TMS Library

Before you start, the package for Lazarus must be downloaded and installed.

You can find the webpage with further information about the included components at:

https://www.tmssoftware.com/site/tmslclhwpack.asp

The download of Lazarus Packages can be found on github:

https://github.com/tmssoftware/TMS-LCL-HW-Pack-for-Raspberry-Pi

Download the zip file and unzip all the files in your lib folder (or another folder of your choice).

In the Lazarus menu, select PACKAGE and PACKAGE FILE (* .lpk). Then select your folder from the LPK file.

install package
Install package and recompile Lazarus

Click on the button USE and then INSTALL . So the package is goint to be installed and Lazarus recompiled. On the Raspberry Pi this takes a little longer than on a PC. But the speed is still okay.

After restarting Lazarus the new components are available immediately.

TMS LCL Raspi HW
New components of TMS

 

Connect the matrix to your Raspberry

The connection of the matrix is ​​done quickly through the I2C.

  • VCC >> 3V3 (Pin 1)
  • GND >> GND (Pin 6)
  • SDA >> SDA (Pin 3, GPIO2)
  • SDL SDL >> (Pin 5, GPIO3)

If everything is working correctly, you can use the command i2cdetect for a check. Open a terminal window and enter the command. The result is the address of the 8×8 matrix.

i2cdetect
Address of the 8×8 matrix in the I2C

Coding in Lazarus

The address of the I2C bus with i2cdetect is displayed in hexadecimal. But in Lazarus we need a decimal number.

If you convert the value by yourstelf, it can be entered in the Object Inspector.

object inspector
Object Inspector of TTMSLCLAda8x8MatrixLed

But it is easier to use the Freepascal function HEX2DEC directly in the source code. The display is prepared with a few commands.

m8x8.I2CAddress:=HEX2DEC('$70');

m8x8.Open;
m8x8.Rotation: = MR90;
m8x8.DisplayOn;
m8x8.Clear;

Sample app: mini animation

To show you how to code this in Lazarus, we create a sample app. It should allow us to design a small animation and run it. Plus usw a few functions for moving and inverting the 8×8 matrix.

example App
Example App for designing of small animations

LEDs on / off

The component of TMS provides a few functions for turning on and off LEDs.

The two main procedures are DrawPixel (x, y) to turn on and ClearPixel (x, y) to turn off of LEDs. With these two functions we will also work in the sample app.

But there is more, this I would like to briefly introduce:

  • procedure DrawChar (x, y: byte; c: char);
    Draws a letter or number to the specified position.
  • procedure DrawArrow (x, y: byte; ADirection: TArrowDirection);
    Draws an arrow at the specified position. Possible values for ADirection are AUP , Adown , aLeft and aright .
  • procedure DrawVertLine (x, y1, y2: integer);
    Draws a vertical line.
  • procedure DrawHorzLine (x1, x2, y: integer);
    Draws a horizontal line.

Visual LEDs

As already mentioned, the strength of Lazarus is visualization. Therefore, the 8×8 matrix is ​​to be displayed in the window on the screen.

As appropriate component I choose a TShape object. For an easy use, we create a two-dimensional array:

Led: array [0..7,0..7] of TShape;

In the create procedure of the main form the shapes are all generated and set correctly. Then they are all inserted in a panel (Panel1) .

for x:=0 to 7 do   
for y:=0 to 7 do
begin
Led[x,y]:=TShape.Create(self);
with Led[x,y] do
begin
Width:=15;
Height:=15;
Brush.Color:=clWhite;
Shape:=stCircle;
Left:=x*20+2;
Top:=y*20+2;
Tag:=x*10+y;
OnMouseDown:=@LedOnClick;
end;
Panel1.InsertControl(Led[x,y]);
end;

In the property Tag the x and y coordinate is stored. We use that value to recalculate the coordinates of x and y when some clicks on a LED on the screen.

This is done in the procedure LedOnClick.

TMainForm.LedOnClick procedure (Sender: TObject; Button: TMouseButton;
Shift: TShiftState; X, Y: Integer);
var w, x1, y1: integer;
begin
  w:=TShape (Sender).Tag;
  x1:=w div 10; 
  y1:=w-x1*10;

  Label1.Caption:='X'+IntToStr(x1)+'Y:'+IntToStr(y1);
  SetPixel(x1,y1,not GetPixel(x1,y1));
  m8x8.Display;
end;

Pixel on and off

If you want to control not only the real LED matrix but also a visual one on the screen, you can do it with a common function.

Instead of the existing variants DrawPixel and ClearPixel I introduce two new elements in the sample app.

The function GetPixel(x,y) , which returns as a result the status (LED on or off) as a boolean value.

function TMainForm.GetPixel(x, y: integer): boolean;
begin
  result:=false;
  if x>7 then exit;
  if x<0 then exit;
  if y>7 then exit;
  if y<0 then exit;

  if TShape(Led[x,y]).Brush.Color=clRed then result:=true 
  else result:=false; 
end;

And the procedure SetPixel (x, y, status) , which sets the status of the LED as a boolean value.

procedure TMainForm.SetPixel(x, y: integer; LedOn: boolean);
begin
  if x>7 then exit;
  if x<0 then exit;
  if y>7 then exit;
  if y<0 then exit;

  if LedOn=true then
    begin
      TShape(Led[x,y]).Brush.Color:=clRed; 
      m8x8.DrawPixel(x,y);
    end
  else
    begin
      TShape(Led[x,y]).Brush.Color:=clWhite; 
      m8x8.ClearPixel(x,y);
    end;
end;

Manipulate LEDs or pixels

With this function and procedure, it is now very easy to perform simple manipulations in the real and visual matrix.

The matrix can be passed through with two loops.

E.g. to clear the matrix.

for x:=0 to 7 do
  for y:=0 to 7 do
    SetPixel(x,y,false);

8x8.Display;

It is important to know that the real matrix is only updated after you use the command Display. So this must be the command at the end of each manipulation.

Just as easy is it to invert the matrix.

    SetPixel(x,y,not GetPixel(x,y));

Another manipulation could be to move the LED image to the left.

for x:=0 to 6 do
  for y:=0 to 7 do
    SetPixel(x,y,GetPixel(x+1,y));

for y:=0 to 7 do
  SetPixel(7,y,false);

m8x8.Display;

For the other three directions, have a look in the source code of the sample app.

Now gets animated!

Animate means to us in this case that we previously have to save a matrix image. For this we transform the states of the LEDs (ON = 1 and OFF = 0) in a 64-character string and store it in a TListBox component.

The implementation of the code works just over two loops. Is a LED on, is added a 1 to a string s. If the LED is off, the string s is expanded with a 0. Finished!

if GetPixel(x,y)=true then s:=s+'1'
else s:=s+'0';

To display the matrix picture again, a reverse procedure is missing. The 64-character string is again broken down piece by piece in an x ​​and y coordinate, and turned on the LED:

procedure TMainForm.StrToMatrix8x8(value : string);
var x, y: integer;
begin
  for x:=0 to 7 do
    for y:=0 to 7 do
      if copy(value,x*8+y+ 1,1)='1' then SetPixel(x,y,true)
      else SetPixel(x,y,false);
  m8x8.Display;
end;

The actual animation takes place via a timer component. At each timer event a global variable is incremented and the next “image” from the listbox with procedure StrToMatrix8x8 is displayed.

That was it! In the sample app a few more functions are implemented: to change the order of images and to open and save the animation.

Have fun trying!

animation example

Animation sample: matrix and screen

Download

symbol_download

Source code of the sample app mini animation
use tar xfvz en.tar.gz

Links

Website of TMS software: https://www.tmssoftware.com/site/tmslclhwpack.asp

TMS package on github: https://github.com/tmssoftware/TMS-LCL-HW-Pack-for-Raspberry-Pi

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