The pxlBlck_8x8 was one of the first members of the pxlBlck family. Thanks to the few parts and the prefabricated WS2812 8×8 LED matrix, it can be set up fairly quickly and thanks to the adapter board it offers some expansion options that are not visible at first glance.
Using the installed pxlBlck plugin for ESPEasy, animations and icons can be displayed on the connected LED matrix. Different effects can be configured for both.
In addition, various watch faces and screen savers are available.
How you should proceed when building your own pxlBlck_8x8 is described in the following article.
I know the following notes are always kind of annoying and seem unnecessary. Unfortunately, many people who knew "better" have lost eyes, fingers or other things due to carelessness or injured themselves. Data loss is almost negligible in comparison, but even these can be really annoying. Therefore, please take five minutes to read the safety instructions. Because even the coolest project is not worth injury or other trouble.
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For the assembly you have to master soldering tasks. The following articles contain tips on this.
- Electronics - My friend the soldering iron
- Electronics – Solder THT components by hand
- Electronics – Solder SMD components by hand
In the following lists you will find all the parts you need to implement this article.
|3D printing filament Buy at Amazon
|Solder 1mm Buy at Amazon
|Wemos D1 Mini Buy at Amazon
|Hot glue stick Buy at Amazon
|No products found. No products found.
|USB power supply Buy at Amazon
|WS2812 8x8 LED matrix Buy at Amazon
|Micro USB cable Buy at Amazon
Here you can see a small overview of what the display of animations and the time can look like on the pxlBlk_8x8.
Collect the necessary parts
So that you can start building your pxlBlck_8x8, you should first gather all the parts you need.
To assemble the pxlBlck_8x8 you need the following parts.
- 1x WS2812 8×8 LED matrix including pin header
- 1x satin acrylic glass plate 66x66x3mm
- 1x Wemos D1 Mini including pin header
- Adapter board
- 3D printed light grid
- 3D printed frame
Further overview of the required parts.
Adapter boards for the pxlBlck_8x8
The current version (v1.4) has space for various breakout boards. The pxlBlck_8x8 can easily be equipped with additional functions.
For example, it is possible to connect capacitive buttons/electrodes and use them to trigger actions on the pxlBlck or in the SmartHome. With the right extension, the pxlBlck_8x8 can also be used as a doorbell sensor, which notifies you when the doorbell is pressed via a loudspeaker and also via MQTT.
Ultimately, this board also makes installation much easier.
I uploaded and summarized the board data using the following link. You can also have the circuit boards manufactured there. New board versions will also be listed here.
You can find the STL files to print on your 3D printer in the repository for the pxlBlck_8x8 under the following link.
Solder Wemos D1 Mini/ESP8266 to the board
To make installation easier, you should first solder the ESp8266 installed on the Wemos D1 Mini to the adapter board
Insert the first pin strip for connecting the Wemos D1 Mini into the board as shown and first solder only one pin to the board.
Now check that the pin header is correctly aligned. It should work in both directions...
...be straight and at right angles to the board.
If not, you can heat the solder of the soldered pin again and correct the alignment of the pin header.
As soon as the pin header is correctly aligned, you can also solder the remaining soldering points on the pin header.
Once the first pin header is soldered, the part of your adapter board should look like this.
Now solder the second pin header using the same principle.
Once you have soldered both pin headers, your adapter board should look like this.
Another view of the soldered pin header on the bottom of the adapter board.
After you have soldered the pin headers to the adapter board, it is now time to solder the Wemos D1 Mini to the pin headers.
To do this, place this on the pin headers as shown.
Make sure that the Wemos D1 Mini is not pushed all the way onto the pin headers. It should sit on the pin headers as shown.
To prevent the Wemos D1 Mini from slipping, you can solder one of the contacts to a pin.
Then check again that the Wemos D1 Mini sits straight and parallel to the adapter board on the pin headers.
As soon as it is in position you can solder the remaining contacts to the pins on the pin header.
The following contacts are important for the function:
Prepare LED panel
In order for the LED panel to be connected to the adapter board, it must first be soldered to a pin strip.
To do this you need the WS2812 8×8 LED matrix and the associated three-pin pin strip.
Is the pin strip plugged in...
… on the page with the “DIN” contact…
…into the board of the 8×8 LED matrix.
Then solder the pin header on the front.
View of the WS2812 LED matrix with the pin header soldered (on the back).
Solder the LED panel to the circuit board
Now you can solder the prepared parts together.
To do this, you need the prepared adapter board with the Wemos D1 Mini installed on it and the prepared WS2812 8×8 LED matrix.
Now you can plug the adapter board onto the pin header of the WS2812 8×8 LED matrix as shown.
Align the LED matrix and the adapter board parallel to each other and then solder the pin header to the adapter board.
It is also important at this point that you connect your solder jumper marked “SJ1” with some solder. This solder jumper connects the data line between the Wemos D1 Mini and the LED matrix.
Another view of the unit consisting of adapter board and WS2812 8×8 LED matrix.
Insert the prepared circuit board into the housing
After you have prepared the “electronic part”, you can now move on to the “mechanical part”: assembly with the 3D printed housing parts.
For this you will need the following parts.
- 3D printed frame
- 3D printed light grid
- Acrylic glass plate 66x66x3mm satin finish
- The prepared unit consisting of Wemos D1 Mini, adapter board and WS2812 LED matrix
Now first insert the acrylic glass plate into the 3D printed frame as shown.
The light grid is now inserted into the frame in a similar way to the acrylic glass plate.
Pay attention to the correct orientation. There are recesses in the bars of the light grid, which leave space for the capacitors on the WS2812 8×8 LED matrix.
View of the inserted light grid.
Now you can use the prepared unit consisting of adapter board, Wemos D1 Mini and WS2812 8×8 LED matrix as shown…
…insert into the housing frame.
To ensure that the inserted parts stay in place, you should now add a drop of hot glue...
...put dex pxlBlck_8x8 in each corner.
This is how the inserted parts should…
...can no longer fall out.
View of the inserted and glued parts.
And that's it for the construction of your pxlBlck_8x8.
After setting up the pxlBlck_8x8, you now have to install ESPEasy including the pxlBlck plugin on the ESP8266. How you can do this is described in the following article.
Configure pxlBlck plugin
After installing the firmware you have to configure the plugin correctly. You can also find information about this in the article pxlBlck - Install and configure the pxlBlck plugin.
For additional orientation, you can also use the settings from the screenshot shown here.
Articles are listed under the tag "pxlBlckUsecase" in which you can find examples of use. It also explains how you have to configure your pxlBlck for this.
Animations, icons and commands
More information about the display of animations, icons and the possible commands with which you can configure your pxlBlck can also be found in the following articles.
- pxlBlck - Configure and display animations
- pxlBlck - design icons, transfer them to the pxlBlck and display them
- pxlBlck - Commands for configuring the pxlBlck
Have fun with the project
I hope everything worked as described for you. If not or you have questions or suggestions please let me know in the comments. I will then add this to the article if necessary.
Ideas for new projects are always welcome. 🙂
PS Many of these projects - especially the hardware projects - cost a lot of time and money. Of course I do this because I enjoy it, but if you think it's cool that I share the information with you, I would be happy about a small donation to the coffee fund. 🙂