Display BTC price on dot matrix using Maker Pi Pico


In this tutorial, I will share how to display text on dot matrix MAX7219 using Maker Pi Pico, and I program it using CircuitPython. Before that, what text we want to display? It’s ok, I will grab the BTC (Bitcoin) price from internet and display it.


Hardware Preparation

This is the list of items used in the video.

Sample Program

This is CircuitPython sample program. You need to include these 4 libraries in you CIRCUITPY/lib folder. You can download it from CircuitPython Library Bundle.

  • adafruit_espatcontrol
  • adafruit_max7219
  • adafruit_framebuf.mpy
  • adafruit_requests.mpy

Display text on dot matrix (MAX7219) using Maker Pi Pico and CircuitPython
– Maker Pi Pico
– ESP8266 ESP-01 WiFi Serial Transceiver Module
– 4 In 1 MAX7219 Dot Matrix Display Module
– USB Micro B Cable
Libraries required from bundle (https://circuitpython.org/libraries):
– adafruit_espatcontrol
– adafruit_max7219
– adafruit_framebuf.mpy
– adafruit_requests.mpy
– https://github.com/robertgallup/circuitpython-multimatrix
– https://learn.adafruit.com/quickstart-rp2040-pico-with-wifi-and-circuitpython/internet-connect
– https://github.com/CytronTechnologies/MAKER-PI-PICO/tree/main/Example%20Code/CircuitPython/IoT
Last update: 6 Dec 2021
import time
import busio
import digitalio
from board import *
from multimatrix import MultiMatrix
import adafruit_requests as requests
import adafruit_espatcontrol.adafruit_espatcontrol_socket as socket
from adafruit_espatcontrol import adafruit_espatcontrol
import json
# Get wifi details and more from a secrets.py file
from secrets import secrets
except ImportError:
print("All secret keys are kept in secrets.py, please add them there!")
URL = "http://api.coindesk.com/v1/bpi/currentprice/USD.json"
led = digitalio.DigitalInOut(LED)
led.direction = digitalio.Direction.OUTPUT
# Initialize UART connection to the ESP8266 WiFi Module.
RX = GP17
TX = GP16
uart = busio.UART(TX, RX, receiver_buffer_size=2048) # Use large buffer as we're not using hardware flow control.
esp = adafruit_espatcontrol.ESP_ATcontrol(uart, 115200, debug=False)
requests.set_socket(socket, esp)
print("Resetting ESP module")
WIDTH = const(32)
HEIGHT = const(8)
mosi = GP7
clk = GP6
cs = digitalio.DigitalInOut(GP5)
spi = busio.SPI(clk, MOSI=mosi)
display = MultiMatrix (spi, cs, WIDTH, HEIGHT, orientation=1)
def scroll_text(s):
# scroll a string across the display
for pixel_position in range(WIDTH, (8*6)1, 1):
display.text(s, pixel_position, 0)
def clear_display():
while True:
# Make sure WiFi is connected.
while not esp.is_connected:
led.value = True
response = requests.get(URL)
btc_float = response.json()['bpi']['USD']['rate_float']
btc_int = int(btc_float)
print("\nBTC rate: {}\n".format(btc_int))
led.value = False
except (ValueError, RuntimeError, adafruit_espatcontrol.OKError) as e:
print("Failed, retrying\n", e)

view raw


hosted with ❤ by GitHub

from adafruit_max7219 import max7219
import math
class MultiMatrix(max7219.MAX7219):
Driver for LED matrices based on the MAX7219 chip.
Supports multi-matrix displays.
Automatically calculates number of 8×8 modules based on grid size
:param object spi: an spi busio or spi bitbangio object
:param ~digitalio.DigitalInOut cs: digital in/out to use as chip select signal
:param int width: pixel width of grid (default=8)
:param int height: pixel height of grid (default=8)
# Register definitions
_DECODEMODE = const(0b1001) # 9
_SCANLIMIT = const(0b1011) # 11
_SHUTDOWN = const(0b1100) # 12
_DISPLAYTEST = const(0b1111) # 15
_DIGIT0 = const(0b0001) # 1
_INTENSITY = const(0b1010) # 10
def __init__(self, spi, cs, width=8, height=8, orientation=0):
# Number of 8×8 LED displays required is calculated as width/8 * height/8
# ceil() is used to round both up to next whole matrix
self._num_displays = math.ceil(width/8) * math.ceil(height/8)
# Display matrix orientation
self._orienation = orientation
super().__init__(width, height, spi, cs)
def init_display(self):
Initializes displays
# Initialize important registers
for cmd, data in (
self.write_cmd(cmd, [data] * self._num_displays)
def brightness(self, value):
Sets the brightness of all displays.
:param int value: 0->15 dimmest to brightest
self.write_cmd(_INTENSITY, [value&0xFF] * self._num_displays)
def write_cmd(self, cmd, values):
Writes a list of values using the same register command
before each value
:param int cmd: a single command (e.g. register number)
:param list values: a list of values.
# Command list of alternating cmd and value pairs
# cmd_list = [[cmd, v] for v in values]
cmd_list = []
for v in values: cmd_list += [cmd, v]
# Set CS low and write the command list to the devices
self._chip_select.value = 0
with self._spi_device as spi:
def text(self, strg, xpos, ypos, color=1):
Write text into frame buffer for LED matrix
:param int xpos: x position
:param int ypos: y position
:param string strg: string to place in buffr
:param color: Odd number sets the text, clears otherwise
self.framebuf.text(strg, xpos, ypos, color & 0x01)
def clear_all(self, color=0):
Clears display. Default is clear to 0.
:param int color: even is clear to LED off, odd is LED on
self.fill(color & 0X01)
def show(self):
Updates all displays from the frame buffer
# Each matrix takes 8 bytes (one per row). So, the same rows on
# different matrices are 8 bytes apart in the frame buffer. But,
# the rows must be output in reverse matrix order, i.e. data for
# the last matrix in the chain is output first (just like a shift
# register), then the next closest one, and so on.
v = 0
values = bytearray(self._num_displays)
for y in range(8):
if self._orienation == 1:
d = self._num_displays
for display in range(self._num_displays):
d -= 1
for x in range(8):
v = (v >> 1) | ((self._buffer[(d * 8) + x] << y) & 0b10000000)
values[display] = v
d = self._num_displays
for display in range(self._num_displays):
d -= 1
values[display] = self._buffer[y + (d * 8)]
self.write_cmd(_DIGIT0 + y, values)

view raw


hosted with ❤ by GitHub

# Secret Keys.
secrets = {
"ssid" : "my_wifi_ssid",
"password" : "my_wifi_password",

view raw


hosted with ❤ by GitHub

Thank You


Thanks for reading this tutorial. If you have any technical inquiries, please post at Cytron Technical Forum.

Please be reminded, this tutorial is prepared for you to try and learn.
You are encouraged to improve the code for a better application.

2 thoughts on “Display BTC price on dot matrix using Maker Pi Pico”

  1. Hi,

    I had downloaded the 3 files and the libraries as above and put inside the device. I did modified my wifi credential too, but I have no luck to see the expectation output as per video. There are 3 block of LED are lighted without any pattern and scrolling. May I know what did I missed out? How can I debugging this device? How can I check the log files?

  2. Hi ,
    I had downloaded the 3 files and the libraries as above and put inside the device, but I could not see the pricing as per video. Some of the LED are lighted without scrolling and can not see the numbering. May I know what I missed out? how to debugging the device? Any idea on how to check the log of the device?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Share this Tutorial

Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on print
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on print
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest

Latest Tutorial

Interface RFid RC522 Reader using Maker Pi Pico and CircuitPython
Maker UNO DHT11 Alphanumeric Display
Internet Clock using Maker Pi Pico and CircuitPython
Snap & Fit ABS Case Stressberry Test
Maze Pro Passive Aluminum Case Stressberry Test
Tutorials of Cytron Technologies Scroll to Top