New SmartLED Shield (formerly SmartMatrix Shield) V4

A new SmartLED Shield (formerly SmartMatrix Shield) is available from Adafruit!

All new design:

  • Fully assembled (no soldering required)
  • Teensy 3.5/3.6 support
  • Connector and drivers for APA102 LEDs
  • New connection options.

The SmartLED Shield V4 is sold out again (after 3 days). A new larger batch is being manufactured now and will be available on Adafruit when it is ready.

Signing up for the “Back in Stock Notification” on the Adafruit product page is the best way to know when it’s available again.

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Hi Louis, how is manufacturing going? I’ve signed up for the stock notification and just wanted to see if you had an estimate of when they will be available again.

I had a bunch that are assembled, and Adafruit has placed an order, but they still to be tested in China before shipping with a new test fixture that is not yet ready. I’m hoping they’re back in stock at the end of January, or in early February.

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Hi Louis,

Is adafruit the only place these are able to be purchased I have looked everywhere. And no one anywhere has any in stock. Would it be possible to purchase these as a DIY/Un-assembled any sooner.


Hi, Adafruit is my only distributor at this time. I’m not selling them direct.

You may be able to find some stock of the old SmartMatrix Shield V3 (Kit) from Adafruit’s distributors. There’s at least a partial list of distributors that have purchased SmartMatrix Shields in the past at the bottom of the Adafruit product page. Cool Components (in the UK) had stock last time I checked.

Also, you don’t need the shield to use the SmartMatrix Library. There are instructions here on how to wire something up yourself.

Update 2019-03-22: I noticed some stock of SmartMatrix Shield V3 at Digikey

Is there any update on the availability of the v4 shield at adafruit? I am looking for a plug and play solution for a high school robotics team and this seems like a perfect product, but only if we can get one in the next couple weeks.


Quick question - what was the reason for removing the SD card?

My manufacturer is preparing the next shipment to Adafruit now, it’s going to be sent out tomorrow. I hope Adafruit is able to have it in stock sometime next week. Make sure you sign up at Adafruit to get the in stock notification.

With the Teensy 3.5 and 3.6, the SD card reader is redundant. As you can see from the picture above, there’s not really room for it in this design. The cost of materials and assembly has gone up from when it was a kit that needs to be hand soldered, and to keep the SD card reader on the board, I’d have to raise the price of the shield by roughly $5, for a feature that not everyone needs, and can be solved by instead paying $5 more for a Teensy 3.5.

I recognize the solution isn’t ideal if you want the compactness of the Teensy 3.2, and want to use a microSD card. LMK if that’s what you’re looking for and we can try to brainstorm ideas.

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Thanks for the explanation, that’s very clear. My mindset was about adding it to already owned T3.1’s, but I can always convince myself to get a Teensy (3.5), rather than spending time trying to retrofit.

Hello Louis,

How are you? I came across this guy who made a gif playing LED cap for his graduation and he used a Teensy 3.2, 32x32 LED Matrix, and a SmartMatrix Shield. I totally want to give it a try for my high school graduation. I have a quick question since there’s an update for the SmartLED Shield that supports Teensy 3.5/ 3.6 and the SD card slot was removed. Is there another place besides Adafruit that sells a SmartMatrix Shield that still supports Teensy 3.2 and also have a SD card slot? Thank you :grin:

Hi Quinny, I probably saw the same post, that’s a great project. In some ways, the SmartLED Shield V4 is better for this project than the SmartMatrix Shield V3, as the shield can plug directly in to the LED Matrix panel without taking up as much vertical space. If you use a ribbon cable, that connector is always going to be fairly tall when plugged in. To get the shield as low profile as the other guy did, you’d have to desolder the connector on the panel, and solder up a bunch of jumper wires. It’s a bit more difficult and probably more fragile, but can be done. Changing from the Teensy 3.2 to the Teensy 3.5 to get the microSD reader shouldn’t be a big deal as it’s vertical space that’s at a premium in this project, not horizontal.

If you absolutely need to use the Teensy 3.2 with separate microSD card reader, you might be able to find some old stock of the SmartMatrix Shield V3, I made a note here about where to look.

I don’t have time today to take some measurements and pictures of how tall the panel is with the SmartLED Shield V4 plugged in. If you make a new topic about “LED GIF Graduation Cap” or similar, I’ll write back when I have some more time.

Hi Quinny, I saw a project on Hackster about someone making a graduation cap, was that you? Anyway, might get some ideas from it if that wasn’t you: LED Matrix Animated GIF Graduation Cap

Hello Louis! :grin:I haven’t started yet my graduation cap hasn’t arrive yet :upside_down_face:. Also thanks for linking this website because I’m a beginner and I kinda don’t know where to start. I’m still putting pieces of information together thanks to this video at I can start planning. :grinning:

Hey Louis, “found you” and about to try to build! Cant find the v4 Shield here in Australia, none of the Ada distributors hold the v4 shield. Do you have any other suppliers? I see PJRC doesnt show any shields?

Sorry, Adafruit is my only distributor. You could try asking one of the distributors to stock the shield (sourcing from Adafruit). Sourcing the parts and PCB yourself and hand assembling is another option. Sorry it’s not more easily available for you.

No Stress, ordered last Sunday, arrived in Australia Thursday… my project for the weekend (I hope!)
Only downside was the shipping cost $21.07 :frowning: so to make it worthwhile stocked up on some other items (that i didn’t really need :slight_smile:)