Large LED Matrix Display – Part 2 (Driver Board Fabrication)

More work done on the LED Display!

This weekend I got the first of many (and by many I mean 160) LED driver boards. This board will eventually drive 8 of the 1280 LEDs on the final sign.

Here are some pictures of the creation of the test set of driver boards. This is the same process that I posted about before, check it out HERE.

Clean copper:


Freshly printed design. I would like to point out that I made another board with this same design and found out later that my printer had scaled the image down. Double, triple, and quadruple check this right now. This is the equivalent of measure twice cut once.


Cut out design face down on clean copper.


The board going through the laminator several times.

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The board quickly dropped into hot water.


This is the finished board. I got excited after I pulled it out of the water and forgot to take more pictures. The part of the process that you missed was drying the board, etching the board, and then cleaning the toner off with both acetone and alcohol.

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Here you can see one of the lines that got messed up in the transfer process. I drew this line back on with a permanent marker.


Here is one of the other boards. Check out how perfect these lines come out.


And finally the board starting to get populated. This was also the first board I’ve tried to reflow. I used a technique I found on the internet in which you take the board with too much solder and the parts you want to reflow placed, and throw em in a frying pan. I haven’t perfected this process as you can clearly see. I burnt the board.

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Board with the main component on and connectivity tested. The heart of this board is the TPIC6B595.


I’ll post more pictures when get the resistors thrown on and some wire soldered in for testing. The next post will be on testing this board.

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2 comments on “Large LED Matrix Display – Part 2 (Driver Board Fabrication)
  1. David Hackenbracht says:

    Thanks for showing us all your work. I worked with some old laminators for a while till the cost of bearings, etc. got to be so much, I just bit the bullet and ordered a new one to work with. A couple of questions, if you don’t mind. When you say “The board going through the laminator several times.” How many times exactly? and in photo image “IMAG0340.jpg” (the image from the printer from eagle software) can you share how you were able to get 4 images on the one sheet of paper? Might be my printer but with eagle I can only print one image per sheet without running the sheet several times.
    Thanks for the info.

    • Kennedy says:

      I usually run the board through anywhere from 4 – 6 times. As for printing multiple per page, I’ve found that using cheap imaging software is the easiest. I typically just use MS Paint and copy and paste the image around until I have the number I want.

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