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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.

CLICK HERE TO JUMP TO MY CONSTRUCTION OF THE CUBE

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>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>
<p>David Yee made Arduino music response code which is posted here.</p>
<p>Note that his code is for the Arduino MEGA 2560, not the UNO.</p><p>If you want music response, I suggest not using the UNO. Use the MEGA2560, the ChipKit UC32, or ChipKit UNO32</p>
<p>Here is a<br>picture of my past work.</p><p>I have<br>started building a 8x8x8 RGB cube using the PCB and bridge-board from SuperTech-IT.<br>For building the panels I have used the building principle from K.Michalsky<br>/Steve Manley using most of their techniques (see his video under <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vaaau4P1kE" rel="nofollow">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vaaau4P1kE</a>).<br>As most RGB cube builds &ldquo;suffer&rdquo; under the time demanding preparation and<br>bending of the LEDs I have built a dedicated bending tool resulting in a final<br>time demand of 45 seconds per LED for the complete preparation process (bending<br>of the legs of the leds, cutting to right length and bending of the bail). So,<br>for the 512 LED for an 8x8x8 RGB Cube it took less than 6 hours. The final<br>soldering of the panels and installation on the PCB took another hour / panel.<br>I have decided to build the cubes &ldquo;upside down&rdquo; &ndash; meaning the soldering faces<br>are facing to the LEDs making the chips in its sockets easy to assess on the<br>underside. To control the cube I am using the ChipKit uC32 and the<br>Super_Big_Show programmed by Doug Domke. </p><p>But the 8x8x8 RGB cube was just the starting<br>point &ndash; next I extended an 8x8x8 cube to an 8x8x16 &ldquo;pillar&rdquo; by using and an additional board with a 74HCT541 and 8 BD136 PNP<br>transistor to drive layers 9-16. To do so I only had to use additional output<br>pins of the uC32 to connect to the second 74HCT541 on my custom board. To<br>change the routines in the background of Doug Domke&acute;s Super_Big_Show was a bit<br>challenging for me as a beginner in arduino programming but finally I<br>understood the programming principle and was able to adopt most animations the<br>extended possibilities of my &ldquo;pillar&rdquo;. </p><p>But the winter as long &ndash; so there was<br>the desire to have an even bigger led &ldquo;sculpture&rdquo; so I decided to build a<br>16x8x16 LED cuboid based on 2 of SuperTech-IT&acute;s PCB&acute;s. This cuboid has now 2096 RGB LEDs and is still<br>running on a single uC32 arduino with adopted animations of Doug Domke&acute;s<br>Super_Big_Show. </p>
<p>Awesome adaptations!</p>
<p>Just a thought, wouldn't using RDM512 addressable pixel LED strips or the addressable modules from the strips cut down the wiring issues greatly? The standard can easily support 7 channels per grid point. Use any light controller software and nearly any microprocessor or computer to control it.</p>
<p>Possibly, and feel free to try it. The idea behind my PC Boards and this instructable was to take the projects by Kevin Darrah and Nick Schulz and allow people that otherwise couldn't have tackled either project, be able to build one project that worked like both. I wasn't trying to re-invent the wheel. I couldn't have hand wired Kevin's circuit myself unless I took 3 months to do it - plus all the troubleshooting - so initially the PC Board was for myself. So many people wanted one though that I put them up for sale. I've seen cubes made from strips, and in my opinion, they don't look nearly as good.</p>
<p>FYI, your website seems to be down.</p>
ya, it's royally pooched...no idea what happened...
<p>It's fixed now, so if you wanted to order a board, you can again.</p>
<p>Do you know when you'll be shipping PC boards for 2016?</p>
my best guess is by this weekend.
Ok, great. You should have an order on the books by me already, and an email regarding that order (I think I originally ordered the incorrect bridge board, I need one for the uC32). Thanks
<p>Orders have been post paid and ship in the morning. Thanks for your patience.</p>
<p>Thanks for all the help and great parts, SuperTech-IT!</p><p>My cube is almost finished. While I kind of went against the grain here and used 10mm leds, which required bringing back all the wires you were trying to eliminate, I still had a great time building it and learned a lot!</p><p>Here's a link to some more pictures:</p><p>http://www.tacticaltoolsusa.com/rgbcube/</p>
<p>What spacing did you end up going with for the 10 mm LEDs?</p>
I went an inch and a half for all spacing. I used a poplar 1x2 from Menards as the template/measuring stick
<p>Nice pictures and a great box. I'm planning on something similar but I'll have an acrylic cube covering the whole thing.</p>
<p>Where are you ordering the acrylic cube from?</p>
<p>For a custom 5 sided cube, I ordered from here:</p><p>http://www.theplasticmart.com/index&amp;pg=store.html?cPath=6_80&amp;zenid=0m43esqs56gllb6ig9mlq8kih5</p>
<p>Try looking on Amazon</p>
<p>Thanks!</p><p>Yeah, my acrylic cube is on order. I needed a custom size, 13.125 x 13.125 x 13.125. This is something I should of thought about earlier during the build so I could've worked with standard sized cubes that are easily available.</p>
<p>Hi all</p><p>can someone give me a connection diagram between Arduino UNO and PCB boards from Supertech IT (V5 Rev 1)</p><p>I am a beginner just finished building the RGB Cube 8x8x8 and can not get up and running.</p><p>I have downloaded the program from Kevin Darrah (RGB_CubeV12_BitwiseFix) down, but it does not.</p><p>Connection diagram in the software:</p><p>latch 2</p><p>Blanc 4</p><p>Data 11</p><p>13 Clock</p><p>Which pins are among the PCB?</p><p>Do I have the anode pins Layer 1-8 also anschlissen?</p><p>Or do you have other options?</p><p>Thanks for the answer</p>
<p>Try this</p><p>#define latch_pin 2// can use any pin you want to latch the shift registers<br>#define blank_pin 3// same, can use any pin you want for this, just make sure you pull up via a 1k to 5V<br>#define data_pin 11// used by SPI, must be pin 11<br>#define clock_pin 13// used by SPI, must be 13</p><p>This is what's used in the code on the theledcube website;</p><p><strong><a href="http://www.theledcube.com/text/RGB%20Arduino%20Parallel%20code%20FIXED.ino" rel="nofollow">RGB Arduino Parallel code FIXED.ino</a></strong></p><p>Try the code from the supertech-it website. You're using his board so it makes sense to use his code.</p><p>Tell me how it works out for you.</p>
<p>Yup, that's the code he needs with the parallel layer outputs. We moved away from the serial layer backward compatibility about a year ago. Thanks for being a valued contributor to the project.</p>
<p>Hello there,</p><p>many thanks for the help.</p><p>Everything works.</p><p>Are there other programs for the Board?</p>
<p>Kevin's circuit uses serial data for the layers and will not work &quot;out of the box&quot; on my boards unless using an Arduino Eliminator board with the extra shift register on it (discontinued long ago). You need to download the modified code here from the firmware step or go to www.TheLEDCube.com and download the arduino code from the software repository there.</p>

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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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