Controls Up To Six 8-Segment LED Displays Or 48 Individual LED And Comes With Keyboard Scan Capabilities, Too

The TM1637 controller is a clever LED controller used in many 7-segment LED displays.

It is available in many different breakout boards.

What sets this controller apart from others is its two-wire serial interface and the built-in keyboard scan support which can make this controller a one-stop solution to control device user interfaces consisting of indicator LED and keys.

LED Driver

MAX7219 lets you flexibly control the connected LED:

Item Description
Common Anode LED are controlled by their cathode (-) and all use the same anode (+)


TM1637 supports a simple 2-wire serial interface.

Breakout Boards

Typically, the MAX7219 comes on a breakout board ready-to-use with 7-segment displays:

The controller and all logic is placed on the back side:

The actual component placement and size of the breakout boards can vary:

8x8 Dot Matrix Displays

MAX7219 is a very popular controller for driving 8x8 dot matrix displays as well:

They are cheap and available as breakout boards with one or many 8x8 dot matrix displays. In the picture you can see the connectors that take a 8x8 dot matrix module, and the MAX7219 chip beneath:

The 8x8 dot matrix modules have two rows with 8 pins each. They are available in all common LED colors.

The MAX7219 is primarily designed to drive simple 7-segment displays. Its constant current is limited. While 8x8 dot matrix modules are flexible and can display LED ticker and patterns, the brightness is very limited. These displays are not up-to-date with current technology. For vivid colors and blinding brightness, consider using modern WS2182-based RGB matrix displays instead.

Data Sheet

Data Sheet


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(content created Mar 28, 2024)