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PixelController - a matrix control project by Michael Vogt , (c) 2010-2012. The main goal of this application is to create an easy to use matrix controller software which creates stunning visuals!

Primary Website:

My Blog:




  • Java Runtime, v1.6+
  • If you want OSC Messages, use PureData (, download the extended Version.

Run PixelController.cmd on Windows, PixelController.command on OSX and on Linux to start the application. Make sure your led matrix connected to you computer before the application is started and you configured your output hardware in the file.

Here is a very primitve diagram, how everything is connected: [PURE DATA FRONTEND]---<TCP>---[PIXELCONTROLLER]---<SERIAL>---[ARDUINO OR TEENSY]---[LED MODULES]


Check out and to see PixelController in action on two PixelInvaders panels.


PixelController supports different (LED) matrix hardware devices:


There are different frontends for PixelController:

  • Native Java: based on P5
  • PixConCli: Command Line interface for PixelController,
  • PureData: PureData frontend, very flexible, extensible (OSC, MIDI)


Try to understand WHAT does not work, which component? is it the frontend? PixelController itself? or no output?

Here are some common errors:

  • Did you forgot to edit the configuration file "". Take a look at the config.examples subdirectory!
  • Did you flash the correct firmware to you Arduino/Teensy? PixelInvaders should display an animated Rainbow if powered on (
  • A User reported that the PixelInvader firmware did not work on a new Arduino UNO r3 board. I think the reason for this is the big serial latency. However using a Arduino UNO r1 worked flawlessly. Technically this is not a big deal, as the timeout value cold be adjusted.



Then run

# mvn initialize
to install the needed packages in your local repo and    
# mvn clean package
to build PixelController, the distribution directory is "target/assembly/PixelController-VERISON/".

Hint: if you're using eclipse and you see an error like this java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: Could not initialize class Could not initialize class make sure you add the lib/serial directory as "Native library location"


It should be pretty simple to add support for new hardware. All Output code should go into the com.neophob.sematrix.output package (src/main/java/com/neophob/sematrix/output directory). All you need to do in the Output class is, take an array of int's (one int is used to store the 24 bpp) and send this buffer to your output device (via serial port, ethernet, bluetooth...). Maybe you need to reduce the color depth, flip each second scanline due hardware wiring, such helper methods should go into the class.

As a string point, add your hardware in the class and have a look where the other entries are referenced. Take a look at the existing Output classes, this should help you!


With the JMX interface you can monitor the status of your PixelController instance in real time. This will provide you with useful data such as required time for each layer (generator, effect, mixer…), the frame rate of your instance, allowing you to diagnose problems or performance issues. To read the JMX data, you will need to use a JMX client or the PixConCli util.

Example how to use PixConCli:

localhost:PixelController-1.3-SNAPSHOT michu$ ./ -c JMX_STAT -p 1337
Create an RMI connector client and connect it to the RMI connector server
Get an MBeanServerConnection...

server version           : 1.1
current fps              : 20,036 (100% of configured fps: 20)
frame count              : 1771
running since            : 0:01:28.980

The following average times have been collected during the last 10.007 seconds:
   generator             : 0,310ms
   effect                : 0,000ms
   output schedule       : 0,140ms
   fader                 : 0,000ms
   debug window          : 15,210ms
   output prepare wait   : 0,005ms
   output update wait    : 0,005ms
   matrix emulator window: 0,440ms

Ouput-specific average times for output #1: NULL (NullDevice)
   prepare               : 1,550ms
   update                : 0,000ms

Close the connection to the server


  • Michael Vogt: Project Lead, Main Developer
  • Markus Lang: Maven enhancements, Output enhancements, Performance enhancements
  • McGyver666: Contributor
  • Rainer Ostendorf: Artnet Output
  • Pesi: miniDMX Output, Tester
  • Scott Wilson: Arduino/Rainbowduino Howto
  • Noxx6: Bugfixes
  • Psykon: Example Visuals
  • okyeron: Stealth output device
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