Moon Phases Matrix

by Aliisa Myllymäki


Hello, I’m a second-year student at Haaga-Helia, named Aliisa. I have no previous experience with robotics, so I started this course as a blank canvas, open to learn anything and everything. I took this course to see if robotics were something I would feel drawn to, and I wanted a course with hands-on approach. My project is LED Matrix Moon Phases.

LED Matrix displaying Waning Crescent


At the beginning I didn’t have any idea, what exactly I would like to build. Luckily, my classmates helped me come up with some ideas. These ideas included the Useless Box, a mirror which shows the timetables of nearby busses/trains and simple LEDs that would turn on when an alarm rings. Even though I had a couple of ideas, I didn’t feel too attached to any of them. I got my final project idea from the teacher, who had a list with different projects. I chose “LED Matrix Moon Phases”. I felt drawn to this idea, since it just happened to be Halloween season and a perfect time to do anything related to the moon. LEDs were something I wanted to use from the beginning, so I found this project to be perfect for me.

What did I need to learn

I had to learn how to work with Arduino, how to build the hardware and get the LED matrix to show the desired images. I began drawing the images shown on the LED matrix and creating the images as binaries and later hexadecimals. Making the images ended up being a step I enjoyed greatly, and I successfully got the images to show on the LED Matrix without bigger problems. Most of my time I used searching how to get code to work in Arduino and testing the code. After spending quite a while on my code, I got it to work and next step for me was to show display the moon phases using the clock data with ESP32.

First time trying to display the moon phases. Design paper of moon phases is under the Arduino.
Coding and troubleshooting

The outcome

After all the weeks working on my project, I didn’t quite finish it due to multiple outside factors. I still feel like I learned a lot during the course, and I’m happy I got this opportunity to do something out of my comfort zone. Surely I will benefit from the information I gathered on this course, and I might return to finish this project on another course. The course was more work than I expected, but I enjoyed the challenge.

The code base is at for you to see and develop further.

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