Picture of 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.

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Step 1: Building

Picture of Building
LEDs on Wood.jpg

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

Picture of 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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J.W.N.R.6 months ago
Qsonic20141 year ago

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)

hkerr1 year ago
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?
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
portreathbeach (author)  Gasburner5 years ago
You need a PICKit 2. Plugs into a USB and then you can program the PIC
GeArGuY3 years ago
Does anyone have a website where you can get all of this????
hkerr GeArGuY1 year ago
cheaper from ebay
antoon GeArGuY2 years ago
vanvan671 year ago
Help.,!!!!!!!!!!! can anybody tell me where can i see the program of this.?
PH0t0G3N1US2 years ago
can anyone direct me to website or video that makes the 3x3x3 led cube that uses 4pin Leds??? Thanks
mcruz272 years ago
Robbiezxc2 years ago
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
Robbiezxc2 years ago
could one some please please send me the HEX code robbiezxc@me.com
rkshirsagar2 years ago
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!
fehera852 years ago
Hi there I would like to attach this picture might be helpful!http://www.instructables.com/files/deriv/FOZ/OPB2/HAFHLHW3/FOZOPB2HAFHLHW3.THUMB.jpg
When i unzip the vb code file I get a "temp" file. what opens it?
OrciTheOrca3 years ago

My cube.

Also I etched my own PCB's. Files can be found in the description of the video.

I used:
3mm Blue LED's
PICkit 2 programmer
3x 330ohm resistors
9x 220ohm resistors
16V 220uF Capacitor
PN2222 Transistors
L7805CV 5V regulator
Power connector
Male and female pin connectors

Also a 20 pin easy release thing for the chip that I never remember what is called....
How many volts does the capacitor need to be?
how many i o pin are needed to control this cube?
jimy2684 years ago
I attach the improved photo, the schematic graph and the modified ASM. I DID MY OWN PATTERNS AND DELAYS. You can use the " LED Cube pattern generator " to create his own patterns. Remember that the PICF84A has a limit of 1024 words whereas the PIC16F690 of 4096. " Make to Pocket LED Cube " it is the manual of how to construct the Led Cube
Foto.JPGDiagrama 3.PNG
jimy268 jimy2684 years ago
New schematic
Diagrama 3.PNG
as did his scheme and wanted to test it so a lower layer but the LEDs do not blink, you can test only one layer?
I appreciate if you can help me thanks.

This is a simple program (Test LED 3x3x3) which test (lights) the layers one by one


cblock 0x0C

; Main program starts here


MOVLW B'11111111'
Goto Loop

; Generado con PDEL ver SP r 1.0 el 21/11/2011 Hs 03:47:41 p.m.
; Descripcion: Delay 700000 ciclos
DEMORA movlw .17 ; 1 set numero de repeticion (C)
movwf PDel0 ; 1 |
PLoop0 movlw .47 ; 1 set numero de repeticion (B)
movwf PDel1 ; 1 |
PLoop1 movlw .218 ; 1 set numero de repeticion (A)
movwf PDel2 ; 1 |
PLoop2 clrwdt ; 1 clear watchdog
decfsz PDel2, 1 ; 1 + (1) es el tiempo 0 ? (A)
goto PLoop2 ; 2 no, loop
decfsz PDel1, 1 ; 1 + (1) es el tiempo 0 ? (B)
goto PLoop1 ; 2 no, loop
decfsz PDel0, 1 ; 1 + (1) es el tiempo 0 ? (C)
goto PLoop0 ; 2 no, loop
PDelL1 goto PDelL2 ; 2 ciclos delay
PDelL2 clrwdt ; 1 ciclo delay
return ; 2+2 Fin.

can i use avr studio 4 to programatize this pic with this code?
kkcg jimy2684 years ago
new schem? Why? Your first schem worked only on breadboard but by the time we do the ckt it doesn't work. How can that be? How will this new schem help us?
jimy268 kkcg4 years ago
The new schematic is to show you where the 22 pF capacitor y crystal are place. Should be a wrong connection or wrong track. If you want sent me de the PCB schematic.
can you send me the instructions via email?

brunder jimy2684 years ago
with my 3V leds with what volts I need to replace a 220om resistors?
jimy268 brunder4 years ago
R = (Vbattery - Vled)/ I of the led
Vbattery =12V  
Vled = 3V
I Intensity of the current in ampere (A).
If your led works with different I you must change it.
If you work with different voltage you must change it.

of the led = 20mA = 20/1000 = 0.02A

R = (12-3)/0.02 = 450 Ohms

vvaidya jimy2684 years ago
hey can u send me pcb schematics and source code on my email

brunder jimy2684 years ago
MY leds are 0,025A(I)
wait vbattery are 5v? in the picture you show 5V?
it follow R=(5-3)/0.025=80 OM resistors right?IF IM not please tell me what resistors?
jimy268 brunder4 years ago
That is correct. Though if you place a major resitor the led was illuminating less.
brunder jimy2684 years ago
I willl try first with 200 OM resistor iff the lef light low I will change with 80 OM resistrors what do tou tink?
brunder brunder4 years ago
Hey jimmy can you send me the soursecode for the programing? the .hex fail right?My email is beam124@abv.bg or on skupe naruto.u2 please sedn me the fail...
jimy268 brunder4 years ago
The downloading file : FM2PAY6GIYWWDPW.TEM
You have to change it : FM2PAY6GIYWWDPW.ASM
If you want, you can change the name. (Led3x3x3x.ASM)

To obtain the file hex, you can use MPLAB.
brunder jimy2684 years ago
I dont understend please send me the fail?
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