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MAX7219CNG - Serially Interfaced LED Matrix/ 8 Digit Display Driver - MAXIM INTEGRATED - 24PDIP
The MAX7219 does all the control and refresh work for you in driving either an 8x8 matrix display or 8 x 7-segment displays (usually these also have a dot so its really an 8-segment display) - 64 LEDs total. All you have to do is send it serial commands via the 4-pin SPI interface and it will auto-magically take care of the rest. Wiring is simplified as well, you only need to set the current level for all LEDs with a single resistor instead of 8 and you can also dim the entire display digitally. It's a thru-hole chip so you can use it in any breadboard, perfboard or other project, although if you're soldering it in, we suggest using a socket.
Technical Datasheet (456 KB)
MAX7219 and 8x8 LED Matrices Tutorial on ARDUINO Playground.
Arduino Library LEDControl for 7-Segment and LED Matrix Control using MAX72xx