3x3x3 LED Cube




Posted in TechnologyLeds

Introduction: 3x3x3 LED Cube

Here is my 3x3x3 LED Cube project. It runs using a PIC16F690. Along with the brief explanation of how to make it, I have also included the .asm file for the PIC and a piece of software written in VB.NET that you can create your own LED patterns. These can be exported as .asm files and put into the main .asm code.

Step 1: Building

Each layer of 9 LEDS are connected with all of the cathodes together. The cube is multiplexed, meaning that only one layer is on at any one time. It happens so quickly that the whole cube looks like it is illuminated. RB5, RB6 and RB7 controll which layer is being illuminated.

From the picture you can see the connections to the top layer. I have only connected RC2 to show you how the connection should be made, the rest of the LEDs are connected the same way.

The easiest way to connect the LEDs together is to drill 9 holes into a piece of wood (picture 2), then place the LEDs into the holes, bend the legs and solder the cathodes together. After 3 of these are created, simple stack them and solder the anodes together. You should end up with 9 anodes and 3 common cathodes to connect to you circuit.

All you need to build this cube is:

1 x 5v regulator
1 x switch
1 x PIC16F690
3 x NPN tansistors
3 x 330 ohm resistros
9 x 220 ohm resistors
1 x 220uF capacitor
27 x LEDs

oh, and MPLab PIC programming software. (Other software may work, but my .asm file may have to be changed a little)

Step 2: The Software

Now that you have an idea of how to build the cube, here is the software that you can use to generate the LED cube patterns.

Along with the software is the .asm file, in this file, there are already some patterns loaded in and it is pretty straight forward to see how to insert your own patterns.

The second picture shows you how the software saves the binary info for the patterns.

Layer 1, Layer 2, Layer 3 and Layer 4 are 4 registers used in the PIC. Obviously Layers 1,2 and 3 represent the top, middle and bottom layers, but they are only 8 bits, so another register is used Layer 4, which holds the 9th LEDs data for the 3 layers and the brightness and time the LEDs need to be on.

Hope this is a good enough explanation of the project. It's not too hard to build, just takes a bit of time to arrange the LEDs.

I have also added a zip file with the source VB code as someone asked for it!



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    Your Code.rar file actually downloads as a *.tmp file and looks like an incomplete download. I suggest you get the file name corrected to .rar

    I need code cube 3x3 can u help me .need all code

    Merci jimy268, je vais commencer avec le test des led. j'espère réussir.

    Jimy268 thank you, I'll start with the test LED. I hope to succeed.

    Kyno Québec (canada)

    can you please post a pic of bottom and top of the circuit

    hey how do you plug it in the computer? like do you use a usb or some sort of wire or what? also what powers it?

    4 replies

    could somone post a better picture of how to wire it?


    through the serial port on your computer i imagine, with a PIC, on the pic circuitboard there will be what looks like a headphone jack. When you acquire a serial lead, it will have a stereo 3.5mm jack on one end, and a plug with two layers of holes on the other. plug one end into the PIC board, and one into your computer, assuming you have a serial port in your PC. If not, then buy a serial to USB and do the same. You can get software to program PICs all over the internet, just search :D you also need a 5V regulated power supply, which you can buy from most hardware stores, im british so i would go to maplin, if you are american go to Radioshack, hope i helped :D

    You need a PICKit 2. Plugs into a USB and then you can program the PIC

    Does anyone have a website where you can get all of this????

    2 replies

    cheaper from ebay


    Help.,!!!!!!!!!!! can anybody tell me where can i see the program of this.?

    can anyone direct me to website or video that makes the 3x3x3 led cube that uses 4pin Leds??? Thanks


    i have made made the HEX file for this cube if any one would like it e-mail me robbiezxc@me.com or if you don't have a programmer i will send you a per-programmed 16F688 for a small fee

    could one some please please send me the HEX code robbiezxc@me.com

    Hi origami_roast, Once you have made your pattern.You have to insert the generated code in the given ASM file ,Lable the sub routine and then open the saved ASM file in MPLAB to generate the HEX code.

    Hi, Craig! So I made my pattern using the VB software and opened it on MPLAB and I was wondering if the VB software generates a code that is ready for compiling to .hex? Or do I still need to modify the code? Define the labels, include pic16f690 etc.? Thank you!