It's been a long time coming, but my Universal RGB cube is finally ready!

Now we can run the animations and use the code by both Kevin Darrah and Nick Schulze (slightly modified, but basically identical - minor timing and layer control tweaks were all that was needed). Plus Doug Domke made a whole new set of code from scratch that makes creating your own animations easy!

Although the majority of the code written is for the ChipKit UNO32 and uC32, Kevin's code for the Arduino UNO, and the version I ported to the Arduino MEGA2560 work on the same cube just by adding a couple jumper caps.

TO THOSE THAT CAME HERE BECAUSE YOU FOUND THE PARTS KIT FOR THIS PROJECT ON eBay - NO the parts kit does NOT include the circuit board - it's the parts kit FOR the circuit board. Inbox me for direct board pricing and availability or go to www.TheLEDCube.com . I do ship worldwide. Please make sure you get your parts kit from the links there - don't use the cheaper kits offered by sellers other than WKWS20 .

Once you select the circuit board, you will see links down the right for any parts kits etc you might need.

To those that got the Mini Music Module before Feb 2015 - due to a change in the parts kit, the USB port MUST BE MOUNTED TO THE BOTTOM OF THE BOARD!!! The V4.X music modules fix this, as well as an input sensitivity issue.

ATTENTION: If your layers 5, 6, and 7 are not working on your Arduino UNO, there is a code fix. Please download the new RGB Arduino parallel code!

We currently have code for the Arduino UNO, the ChipKit UNO32 (PIC32MX processor), the ChipKit uC32, The Arduino MEGA2560, and my UNO Eliminator boards [discontinued except by special order in favour of the bridge boards] (which get rid of the last of the wires)

Jerry Lesnefsky and Karl Moeller made a great little music module that fits onto the base / driver board, and allows the PIC ChipKit Eliminator to plug right onto it - and in the process, noticed the the I/O Aux header has A2 and A8 labelled backwards on the eliminator board !!!! If you are hand wiring a music module to your ChipKit Eliminator, please make note of this!

SPECIAL THANKS to Doug Domke who is making firmware templates for the PIC32 (ChipKit UNO32) which work much more like standard Arduino code so that we can more easily create animations on the PIC.

See his page at http://d2-webdesign.com/cube for information and downloads. I will add code here as I create more animations using his template.

This was originally inspired by the project by Nick Schulze, and then added to using the project by Kevin Darrah.

You can use the cube assembly method Nick Schulze at HowNotToEngineer.com uses, however I did develop my own assembly method. Nick's method is great if you enjoy woodworking, or you can use mine if not.


When I first started looking for my Next Big Project (after the original 8X8X8 LED mono colour cube) my searches came overwhelmingly to two.

Nick Schulze and Kevin Darrah.

My problem is that I don't get along well with wood. It's just a medium I haven't mastered.

That's why my previous cube assembly method used a cardboard motherboard box for the LED layer template.
It did work extremely well though, and I was quite happy with the results!

So, with that in mind, I WILL show you how I built mine (steps 9 to 15 currently) but initially we will go on the assumption that you will build Nick's assembly rig modified to a 26.5mm spacing to fit my board.
If you'd rather just build it the way I built mine, go directly to step 9. It seems others are finding my assembly method to be favourable to the big wooden rigs. Once you have your notched rulers made, you never need make another measurement with my method.

Please also see the original projects if you want schematics or theory of operation etc. I am not here to re-invent the wheel. I am here to bring these projects to those that:
otherwise couldn't have made them;
tried to make them and failed;
cannot read a schematic;
are overwhelmed with the magnitude of wiring involved;
are (like myself) not good carpenters ;
want a portable or "neat" looking project;
require the cube to be portable;
or a plethora of other reasons.
If you are looking for schematics and the technical info on how it all works, please go to these links:

How Not To Engineer - RGB Cube project by Nick Schulze

Dedicated To Design - RGB Cube project by Kevin Darrah

All the theory and design and schematics that I used to base this circuit on are there. For the most part, my circuit very closely conforms to Nick's except that I use through hole chips rather than SMT.
My chips are just a touch slower, so I had to modify Nick's code to widen a couple pulses, but other than that, his code is stock.

Feel free to ask questions about my design other than "do you have schematics" or "can I have the Eagle files".

I don't design with Eagle, and I also don't make schematics. I design the PCBs in my head, and go right to design on the fly. I don't know why I work this way, I just always have, and it works for me...at least eventually...

I almost always have flaws in the initial designs that do not present themselves until I start building the project.

That's when a new version is made. Minor tweaks or additions are the revisions within those versions.

It took me until Version 3 Revision 4 of the PC Board before I was ready to make an instructable for it.

I am happy to clarify anything you don't quite get about the way it all works etc. (assuming I fully understand it myself enough to explain it better than the original explanations. The hardware I can easily explain - the software is better explained by the authors).

Step 1: Eliminating the wires and mess

As you may know from my previous instructable "CHR's 8X8X8 LED Cube Revisited with improvements!" the one thing I hate is wires, and the one thing I love to do is take an otherwise daunting or nearly impossible build, and make it so anyone who can solder can build it, even if they don't understand why and how it works.
I felt that the projects these two guys made needed to be more accessible to the more general public.

Many people wanted to make the original 8X8X8 LED cube, but either couldn't read the schematics, had trouble understanding the instructions, or got close, but just couldn't get the darn circuit to work!

Once again, I have taken the mess of wires and circuit building that prevent most people from being able to make these, and made a circuit board to handle it.

After all, who has time to wire it like that???

One of these is the project by Kevin Darrah - it's the one that uses the Arduino and has the hand wired circuit.

The other - and the inspiration for my board - is by Nick Schulze. It uses the ChipKit UNO32 which uses a PIC microcontroller rather than the ATmega328P. He made a circuit board, but one issue is that it takes SMT chips, and a lot of people aren't comfortable soldering those.

The other problem is that there's STILL 200 wires to run to the cube from the board.


<p>For those with the newer boards than the ones here on step 3, the construction is pretty much identical. The new boards have little niceties like pins to disable or dim the onboard LEDs, and mounting holes. </p>
<p>I got a bad MSGEQ7 in my parts kit - so if that happens to any of you, contact the parts supplier. What mine does is very low response on the first 3 frequencies, and almost nothing on the upper 4. With another chip though, it works like a champ. Just remember that the USB port mounts on the BOTTOM of the music module!</p>
<p>I was just reading this - and thought I should note that the USB mounts on the top of the 4.5 and above music modules.</p>
<p>Thanks to those that ordered boards over the holidays despite the out of stock and closed for holidays notices. Board shipping is scheduled to resume this weekend (mid January 2016). Your patience and patronage is appreciated. Many may recieve bonus gifts along with your boards while supplies last.</p>
<p>For those who have been asking, I finally have the definitive answer...</p><p>With the discontinuation of the ChipKit UNO32, many have been asking if the ChipKit uC32 will work. I am happy to report that mine arrived today, and yes, it appears to be 100% backward compatible. I connected the bridge and music module, uploaded the code (don't forget to change your board type in the MPIDE) and PRESTO - it all worked right out of the box! This along with now having music response code for the Arduino MEGA2560 (Thanks David Yee) is good news for us all !!.</p>
<p>On the V5 and above boards, people are asking about the LED EN pads. They are for jumper pins so you can enable or disable the onboard power LEDs. Alternatively, you can put in a resistor to just dim them. Don't ask what value, how dim you want your LEDs is a personal preference, so you'll just have to play with the value.</p>
<p>IF YOU ARE JUST GETTING YOUR BOARDS NOW - Please watch the following video in it's entirety. Hopefully it'll answer all the question you were about to ask me ahead of time.</p><p>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ll8ayM7O744</p>
<p>Hi i am very interested in purchasing the complete package from you </p>
<p>The V4.5 music module code for the ChipKit is now out.</p><p>I am going to start working on Arduino code soon now.</p>
<p>Just finished my first cube. Spent 3 days to assemble the cube. I use <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxmLUiM0Y4VZUR87m-FQGeg" rel="nofollow">Steve Manle</a>y's way to put LEDs together, what really save a lot of time is the PCB boards from SuperTech-IT)))</p>
<p>here is a short video</p>
<p>Awww...arduino...too bad , I would have loved to see them running Left / Right audio! If you want to sometime though, we can try some linking experiments to control both cubes with one arduino!</p>
<p>Have to make a audio module for new cube . Linking the two up sounds interesting I have two chipkit unos but have to make another board to hook without wirers. </p>
<p>Inbox me and I'll give you a deal on a pair of bridge boards and music modules.</p>
<p>The above master panel test code isn't the one in the video. It was written by Jeff DeSilva who wrote it to test his cube-in-progress.</p><p>I liked it, so I put it up for others to benefit from and to aid in troubleshooting.</p>
<p>I am sorry for recent delays in product shipping. All orders will be shipped as soon as possible. We had a fabrication problem with the last batch, and I am currently relocating, and unable to receive the new shipments til the end of the month or so. Thanks for your patience. Many will receive a bonus product or shipping rebate for your patience!!!</p>
<p>update - a small order was stolen along with the backpack they were in, my ipad, high power laser kit and other expensive goodies. I again thank you all for your patience, and as soon as I can afford to replace the boards, they WILL ship out. Again, I am sorry for the long delay and I truly appreciate all your patience.</p>
UPDATE:<br>I am sorry to report that all orders placed after April 15 have still not shipped. However all current refund requests have been fulfilled. This unfortunately leaves me at zero trying to gather the cash to replace the lost and stolen orders. As you may have read in the instructable, I suffered one loss of boards in a move, and then had an entire shipment stolen before I had a chance to ship any of them out (along with my ipad and many other expensive goodies). Your orders are still in the system and noted as priority from oldest to newest. I will understand if you want a refund, and would not blame you, but please note that the refunds are making it extremely difficult for me to save enough for a run of boards to fill the existing orders. Thanks again for your patience in this matter as I try to get business rolling again.
<p>Any updates? I have received my parts kits and am just waiting on the boards. I will keep my order active, since this is a project that I want to build and your boards seem the best that I can find.</p><p>Thank you.</p>
<p>Slowly trying to gather enough cash to fill the current orders. Sorry, no ETA at this time.</p><p>Thanks for the kind words about the boards themselves, but the main reason most order and repeat ordered in the past was the support along the way if anything goes wrong or if there are any issues. Thanks for hanging in there. I am not going anywhere, and I will have this project back on the road as soon as I can afford to.</p>
<p>UPDATE: Realizing I simply don't have the income currently to get a set of boards while people are backing out and requesting refunds, I am reaching out to possible investors that want to help me get this project back up and running so that you can all get your products or refunds in a more timely manner. To those being patient, I thank you. To those backing out, I don't blame you at all. Please be aware that I am doing all I can to get everything resolved.</p>
<p>Thanks for the update. :)</p>
<p>I can vouch for this guy. His word is good.</p>
<p>Finally got around to building my cube and I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out.</p><p>I'm driving it directly from a Raspberry Pi - software available from <a href="http://picube.uk/" rel="nofollow"> http://picube.uk/</a></p><p>All Pi models work, even the $4 Pi Zero and with the interactive shell it's much more fun to interact with the cube in real-time and quickly develop new patterns or animations.</p>
<p>Is there an ETA on the new batch of boards?</p>
Unfortunately, no. I am trying to save up for a new batch to replace the stolen ones, but as people request refunds because of the delays, those savings go out in the form of refunds, and I am at zero again.<br>It's a bad downward spiral that is starting to get quite depressing.<br>Trust me, if I come into any sort of windfall, or if I get a bunch of orders without refund requests, I will get a new batch ASAP.<br>Unfortunately, current circumstances make it impossible to form any kind of an ETA. Thanks for your patience, and I will keep you all updated.
<p>It's been a couple of months since the last update and several weeks since I placed my order. Can you please provide an update / ETA? I would very much like to keep my order active, however without any updates that is hard to justify. Thanks.</p>
<p>I do provide updates as they occur, but unfortunately I am still in a holding pattern gathering the cash to replace the boards that were lost and/or stolen. Runs are pretty expensive and I am simply not in a position to save much especially as people are asking for refunds - which always provide first. The moment there is an update I will release it. I am currently thinking I may get small batches to at least get the older orders out, but as each run has a $290 tooling and labour cost, doing a number of small runs is counter-productive. I will provide information as it becomes available and/ or changes, or when requested.</p>
<p>Possibly indicating how many orders are needed for you to submit a board run/order would help those who are apprehensive about placing an order. I might order another set, if it would help </p>
<p>I have enough non-refunded orders to warrant a full run - the issue is that I need to gather up the cash myself as the money for the run was spent on a run that got stolen and a partial run that got lost while relocating.</p>
<p>Ant that which did come in after that mostly went to refunding people that could no longer wait for their boards.</p>
<p>To everybody waiting for their boards, I built 2 cubes on those boards. They're definitely worth the wait.</p>
<p>Thanks for your kind words. On top of everything else, I had a pending assault case that was quite disconcerting - however today I was vindicated as the charges were completely withdrawn, putting me back to my lifelong zero record. I have moved again to a temporary location with a good friend, who I will hopefully be getting a permanent location with afterwards. I will keep all of you notified of updates as they become available.</p>
<p>theledcube .com ne r&eacute;pond &agrave; aucun de mes nombreux mails.</p>
Please email supertech at theledcube dot com directly and in English if you are having problems using the in-site messaging system
<p>I currently have one of the eight panels on my board, but was getting annoyed with the size of the Arduino Uno, which I have. I had decided not to get the Uno Eliminator, mainly due to the price, but I realized that the Arduino Pro Mini has the same processor and is basically the same board, so I decided to see if I could use it. I designed a bridge board and set it up, and as far as I can tell. it is even smaller than the Uno Eliminator! When I ordered the custom circuit boards, I had to get them in multiples of three, so I have two extras that I'm willing to sell, if anyone is interested. Here is a picture of one assembled and connected to the base board.For $10, I'll just send the bridge board without the Pro Mini in an envelope. For $20 plus shipping, because once I add the plug it will be too thick for the envelope, I'll connect the Pro Mini so that it's ready to program and plug in to the main board. Unfortunately, the first one I assembled had a defective connection in the bridge board, so if you have me assemble one, I'll test it to make sure it works properly. The Pro Mini is only different from the Uno in size and the fact that it requires an external programmer, which costs less than $5, so it works great with the rest of the cube. It doesn't even hang over the edge at all! Please message me if you're interested in getting one.</p>
<p>That's a nice little piece of work there! Glad to see others are expanding on this project. Hopefully boards will be shipping out again soon. Keep up the good work folks!</p>
<p>When will you have boards available again? Your website shows back order.</p>
<p>Hello, thx for previously answers. Now I have some additional question. First question is connected with 8 additional resistor for arduino (I have Mega 2560) please let me know how you connect those resistor on your pcb ? Second question relate to music module. Please let me know how it should by connect to mega 2560?? On schematic above we can see A1,A2,A8 and 38, but in arduiono_mega2560_ code there is:</p><p>pinMode (A0, INPUT); // where we read the analog MSGEQ7's output<br> pinMode (A1, OUTPUT); // MSGEQ7 RESET line<br> pinMode (A2, INPUT); // music mode button<br> pinMode (A3, OUTPUT); // MSGEQ7 strobe line<br> pinMode (A4, INPUT); // animation mode button<br> pinMode (A5, INPUT); // Virtual Gain potentiometer</p><p>So please tell me how it should by? And what is virtual gain potentiometer and what have to be connect to A5 pin?</p><p>Best regards,</p><p>Darek</p>
The resistors are from the layer outputs to ground to prevent ghosting between layers.<br>The pins you are referencing are for the music module.<br>Virtual gain is simply a variable resistor that is read as an analog value from 0 to 1023 and the value is then converted to a multiplier / divider for the value read from the MSGEQ7 chip. This allows you to virtually control the gain of the input via software. The pot goes from ground to +V with the wiper on pin A5.
<p>That`s look it very good</p>
<p>Hello,<br>Very nice project. I'm going to build the RGB cube. Now I have some questions about the additional elements which are not in the original project, ie. 74541, reset switch, 8xresistor for atmega - please tell me why you used them and how they are connected to other components on the pcb? Thanks in advance for information.</p>
<p>Hello,</p><p>Very nice project:). I'm thinking about building rgb cube. I saw website with the original project and yours, and now I have questions about yours hardware. On yours pcb are some additional parts: 74HC541, reset switch and 8xresistor for atmega only - so now my questions, please let me know why do you use it and how this parts are connected to other parts from original project?? </p>
<p>I use the 541 as a 3.3V to 5V level shifter so that the 3.3V microcontrollers like the PIC can control the 5V layer signals to the transistors. The resistors for the Arduino is to eliminate a ghosting problem that exists without them.</p>
These are answered if you read through the project and it's notes and comments.
<p>How does it work? Since its RGB you have to do PWM.</p><p>Do you just simply make PWM by switching the shift registers very fast? how does it work?</p>
It's done through Bit Angle Modulation as explained in Nick Schulze's original website on this project.
What could be wrong if all leds in a pillar is lit at all times, except one. Could it be an ic is leaking current?
<p>The LED that is out must be replaced</p><p><br>This is covered in the troubleshooting section of the instructable.</p>
<p>hai in msgeq7 circuit you mention on pin38 in animation this pin only for chipkit uno </p><p>or there for Arduino. so if I add music module for Arduino eliminator which pin is goes and is code for Arduino music module can u help with that</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: Just getting into the microcontroller craze. I used to do this sort of thing building circuits for 8 bit microprocessors back in the early 80s ... More »
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