Feature Request - Update SmartMatrix over WiFi

This is a popular request, and we’re looking into ways to add WiFi control to SmartMatrix. There’s no wireless built into the display, just USB connectivity, so the solution must involve adding another device that can receive WiFi and send commands over USB to the display.

There are a lot of things you could do with WiFi. What are the features that are most important to you?

  • Add GIFs to be stored on the display for playback later
  • Stream video in realtime from your computer to the display
  • Choose what content to show on the display (instead of using the remote)
  • Update scrolling messages
  • What else?

If you’re interested in this, please “like” the post using the heart button so we know there’s interest (you must be logged in), or reply with some feedback.


Hey there, I made the same comment up on the Kickstarter page but why a TP-Link that probably has more CPU than the Micro itself (and runs linux)? Couldn’t you just use an ESP8266 http://www.espruino.com/ESP8266 to pump wifi bits straight into your Teensy?

Here’s some ESP8266 + Teensy example code: http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~sexton/ESP8266/

Thanks for posting here as well, I’ll copy my response from the Kickstarter page:

Thanks for the idea! There’s a few reasons why we aren’t using the ESP8266 chip. First off, the hardware design is finished, beta units have already been made, and any significant change to hardware would create a delay in delivering product of months or more. Second, the chip is too new, I haven’t seen any products even on Kickstarter using the chip besides development boards. I’m not sure the chip could handle streaming video or transferring large GIFs, while I know the router can.

Makes plenty of sense, ESP8266 throughput is (anecdotally) documented here and now that I look at it 20KB/s on Rx is super weak, strange it seems to pull off max 1MB/s on Tx.

Rather than something specific to that router perhaps something we can run on an openwrt router that we already have. Or perhaps one of those HLK-RM04 Serial-to-WiFi Modules which I believe can easily have openwrt put onto them?

Excellent idea. We plan to publish our code and instructions on how to compile, and if people want to run on other hardware, great! I believe everything should run on a Raspberry Pi as well.

What about a Spark (now Particle) Photon? Super easy to program and can interface well with the Teensy.

If the Photon had a USB Host mode (99% sure it doesn’t) that could work. I think the connection would be limited to something like a serial port, with jumper wires needed to go between the expansion pads on the SmartMatrix to the Photon. That wouldn’t work for the average customer, but it could work for someone that’s willing to do a little soldering.

This post seems to say that it might be possible with the Photon:

What do you think?

This one too

That solution for USB host requires a separate chip, so the total cost (Photon + chip + PCB + soldering) is going to be more than just a Router running OpenWRT. The second link didn’t talk about USB Host, except from someone confused about the topic. The Photon is a very interesting board, but from what I’ve seen in the forums they’re still finishing up all the features they promised.

A Raspberry Pi Model A costs $20 and compatable USB WiFi adapters go for around $10 so that’s a pretty cheap and viable option too. The raspi can interface with the teensy over serial, i2c, or SPI, and there are already breakout headers for all of these so it’s not a lot of work to hook up. Also with a model B (or Pi 2), the additional USB ports become an option for interfacing with the Teensy.

For the SmartMatrix Display, the interface is limited to USB for the average user, so a model B would be needed. It’s more expensive than an OpenWRT router, but more capable as well. I’d like whatever we release to run on an OpenWRT router as well as a Raspberry Pi.

@Louis Any updates or additional thoughts on wirelessly controlling the SmartMatrix?

I’ve been working on a major release of the SmartMatrix Library over the last month or so, and I’m wrapping it up now. The new release will allow for a port of Fadecandy firmware to run on the Teensy, displaying on SmartMatrix, and that will allow for streaming to a TP-Link or RPi over WifI and to SmartMatrix through USB. I expect to have the Fadecandy firmware port released by the end of the month.

After all that is done, I’m going to focus on the Photon. It is not as powerful as the Teensy 3.1, but I believe it can run the SmartMatrix Library with some limitations after making a lot of low-level changes. This is a big project, so it might take a few months before there’s a functional port.

There’s been a few other requests on the Community for information on hooking up an ESP8266 or another module to SmartMatrix. Maybe someone will make some progress with this.

I haven’t used or worked on it lately, but I’m sure my solution (or a similar one) still works fine: https://github.com/jasoncoon/aurora-web-server-application

It’s a java web server app that should work on any PC (Windows, Mac, Linux), Raspberry Pi, etc, and allows control over USB. So you can strap a rpi to the back of your display, connect via USB, and control wirelessly from another device.

super old thread, but my ESP32 smartmatrix code takes updates over wifi :slight_smile: