Create 16×16 LED Displays with Flexible Reference Design

by donpedro

MAXREFDES99_LED-driver_SHobbyists and makers now have more flexibility and options when developing LED signs, using the MAXREFDES99# 16 × 16 display reference design from Maxim Integrated Products, Inc.
LEDs continue to dramatically transform signage and lighting. However, often LED displays today are 8 × 8 and cannot communicate many international alpha-numeric characters. MAXREFDES99# integrates four MAX7219 LED drivers to provide designers a 16 × 16 display with 256 LEDs, allowing them to create signs in multiple languages. The MAX7219 driver simplifies the process of controlling multiple LEDs in matrix or numeric display form. For fast prototyping, software code developed for the MAXREFDES99# reference design works with both ARM® mbed™ and Arduino® platforms. Developers are encouraged to build upon and enhance the code base for more signage possibilities.

Key Advantages

  • Flexible: Provides 16×16 dot matrix display for signs in multiple languages
  • Reliable: Integrates time-tested MAX7219 LED drivers for long-life signage
  • Easy to Use: Compatible with Arduino and ARM mbed platforms for quick prototyping


16 × 16 displays are becoming more common building blocks and are the future of LED signage,” said David Andeen, Director of Reference Designs at Maxim Integrated. “With this new reference design and readily available code, sign developers and makers can immediately start displaying their LED creations.”

Availability and Pricing

  • The MAXREFDES99# reference design is available for $49 at Maxim’s website and select franchised distributors. Hardware and firmware design files, as well as test data, are provided free and available online.
  • For more information about MAXREFDES99#, visit
  • For information on other reference designs, visit

Maxim Integrated

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