last edited: Sep 2, 2014

NCIDdisplay Matrix Assembly

Bill of Materials

If you do not have access to tools to cut/mill plexiglass, an alternative is to score/break the plexiglass to size with a scoring tool. Additional details about this method are available on wikihow. If you plan to use the score/break method, it is recommended that you use 0.118" thick plexiglass.

Need a wifi connected NCIDdisplay? While preliminary testing of an Arduino Yun has been successfully performed, there are latency issues with the Yun Bridge. As a result, it is recommended that you use an ethernet bridge for wifi connectivity. A cost-effective and very stable alternative is the TP-LINK TL-WR702N Wireless N150 Travel Router that can easily be setup as an ethernet bridge.

Program Arduino Ethernet

  1. Download and install the Arduino IDE if you do not already have it installed. Any version >=1.0 should work.

  2. Download the latest version from sourceforge, unzip the files, and copy the files into a directory named NCIDdisplayLED in your Arduino sketch folder.

  3. Program the Arduino Ethernet:

NOTE: It is strongly recommended to NOT program the Arduino while it is plugged into the LED matrix panel assembly.

Hardware Assembly

  1. Cut 36" x 1/2" x 1/16" aluminum into 2 pieces 18" x 1/2" x 1/16". Drill 3/16" holes to align with the holes in LED Matrix panels. A drilling template in pdf format is included with the source code zip file to assist with drilling the holes.

  2. Mount the LED Matrix Panels on the aluminum bars from Step 1 using the 10x 4-40 x 1/4" screws, 10x 4-40 nuts, and the hex binding posts. The hex binding posts go in the 4 holes on the outside and 2 holes near the middle holes.

  3. Cut the plexiglass to a size to suit your desired look; as a suggestion, make the plexiglass 1/4" to 1/2" larger than the overall LED matrix panel. Drill 3/16" holes to allow screws to connect the plexiglass to the hex binding posts. A drilling template in pdf format is included with the source code zip file to assist with drilling the holes. 6 holes in each plexiglass panel provide good stability of the completed assembly.

  4. Connect the LED Matrix Panels together with the 6x 10-pin Socket/Socket IDC cables as shown in the picture for Step 2.
  5. Insert the 2x5 0.1" female headers into the appropriate holes on the NCIDdisplay PCB. It is possible to rotate the NCIDdisplay PCB so that the Ethernet port is either pointing up or down depending on your needs. Solder all connections on the 2x5 headers. The photo below shows the orientation that will result in the Ethernet jack facing the top of the final assembly. The specified 2x5 headers have retentive pins to make it easier to flip the board over to solder the pins. Solder the pins.

  6. Align the NCIDdisplay PCB with the Arduino so that the 0.1" breakaway headers are inserted through the appropriate holes. Solder the pins.

  7. Remove the Arduino from the NCIDdisplay PCB. Solder the 2.1mm x 5.5mm DC barrel jack in place.

  8. Program the Arduino with the NCIDdisplayLED.ino sketch if you have not done so already (see above section on programming the Arduino).

  9. Connect the Arduino to the NCIDdisplay PCB. Press this assembly into the LED Matrix Panel.

  10. DO NOT USE THE POWER CONNECTOR ON THE ARDUINO BOARD. Provide regulated 5V, 2A of power to the system through the power connector on the NCIDdisplay PCB. If you have done everything correctly, the NCIDdisplay will show that it is connected to your NCID server and then display the most recent call from the NCID call log.

  11. Once everything is working, attach the front and back plexiglass panels with 4-40 screws.
  12. Finished! Below are some examples of NCIDdisplay in action.




The hardware design (schematics, pcb, and assembly) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Click the icon below for more information on this license.

The software/firmware license is GPL 2 or later; full details are in the source code.