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LED matrix with msp430

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I generally use a transistor array or LED constant current sink driver and run a matrix common cathode, using the microcontroller outputs for the anode drive. One of the go-to arrays I use is uln2804 (darlington array).


Unfortunately, few microcontrollers have the ability to either source or sink enough current to drive an array at significant brightness without external drivers.

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@@MSPLife as @@enl says - It's generally not a good idea to run LEDs directly off of MCU pins, although you'll notice it done on the MSP430G Launchpad (although other LPs do actually use transistors).  However - that's only one LED per pin.  Doing anything more than that and you're risking burning out pins.  I did create a project that ran a charlieplexed matrix that only lit one LED at a time - but a common-anode or cathode matrix would probably be too much - you're better off with external drivers.  Shift Registers (595) and darlington-arrays (ULN280x) work great and are both in TI's parts collection.

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