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, 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.

If when you are done, you love this project as much as I do, please vote for any contests I might be in.

Trust me, I have some cool ideas in mind for all the prizes being offered !!!

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 TheLEDCube dot com. I do ship worldwide.


ONLY use the parts kit from HONG KONG.

A parts supplier in China copied the ad from my parts supplier in Hong Kong, but they miss parts, get values wrong, use wrong parts types etc. I have been trying to get their ad removed because of exploding capacitors and overheating or wrong size/shape/value of parts. If you bought a kit from China, I apologize, but I was not aware they had done it until quite some time had passed. If you did get one of their kits, file an "Item Not as described" case with ebay, and get your money back. You can refuse to return the parts and still get a refund in almost all cases like this. Use your refund to purchase any missing or incorrect parts. Giving negative feedback on ebay to these "counterfeit" kits would go a long way towards solving this problem.

PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO A fabrication error - if you have a V4.0 Rev 3.11 purchased on or before December 1st 2014, a small trace repair is needed - PLEASE contact me IMMEDIATELY for info. I'll post more info here as well. Any boards purchased AFTER this date will have this repair already done. ALL V4 Boards purchased before December 8th require another fix where the fabricator made one of the VIA pads too large and it shorts to one of the traces that run past it. A simple cut fixes this.

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.

Earlier on there was a problem with the parts kit from Hong Kong with the 1000uF capacitor. It's not a necessary part when using a switching supply (power brick) but the issue is the supplier switched to a 10V cap from the original 50V cap specified in my BOM to them. You can either leave the cap out completely, or put one in that is rated at at least 35V.

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 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).

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SuperTech-IT (author) 1 month ago

For those who have been asking, I finally have the definitive answer...

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 !!.

SuperTech-IT (author) 2 months ago

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.

SuperTech-IT (author) 5 months ago

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.


Hi i am very interested in purchasing the complete package from you

SuperTech-IT (author)  SuperTech-IT4 months ago

The V4.5 music module code for the ChipKit is now out.

I am going to start working on Arduino code soon now.

alex.nat.165 months ago

Just finished my first cube. Spent 3 days to assemble the cube. I use Steve Manley's way to put LEDs together, what really save a lot of time is the PCB boards from SuperTech-IT)))

IMG_0295.MOV(516x290) 22 KB
lightpoint6 months ago

here is a short video

DSC_0411.MOV(516x290) 33 KB
SuperTech-IT (author)  lightpoint6 months ago

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!

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.

SuperTech-IT (author)  lightpoint6 months ago

Inbox me and I'll give you a deal on a pair of bridge boards and music modules.

SuperTech-IT (author) 6 months ago

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.

I liked it, so I put it up for others to benefit from and to aid in troubleshooting.

SuperTech-IT (author) 7 months ago

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!

SuperTech-IT (author) made it!9 months ago

I have caught a board fabrication mistake in the V4.0 Rev.3.11 boards the connects a blue output to a green input in the top row of chips. The fix should be fairly simple for most. Cut one trace on the top, one on the bottom, and put in a jumper wire. This happened apparently when the fabricator was adjusting some of my traces to not be so close to the VIAs.

There are many ways to fix it, but I have proposed the easiest I can find here, since if you have kynar wire, you can strip it and put it through the VIA holes and solder it. If you don't, it's still easy enough to solder your jumper wire to the VIA pads.

In red, you will see the TOP layer of the board, and in green, you will see the bottom. The bottom layer image is flipped over so it looks exactly as it would if you were viewing the bottom of the board when it's flipped over.

ver4 rev311 fix 3.jpgver4 rev311 fix 2.jpgver4 rev311 fix 1.jpg
SuperTech-IT (author)  SuperTech-IT8 months ago

The other fabrication error is on the bottom of the board near the BLUE 1 chip.

Too large a VIA pad was used, and it shorts to a line running past it.

fabrication 2.jpg
SuperTech-IT (author)  SuperTech-IT8 months ago

This fix also applies boards from V3 Rev5 up to V4 Rev3.11

I just bought one on eBay, but I haven't gotten it in yet. Just follow these instructions? Also, for someone new to this type of project, is this intractable still the best place for an 8x8x8 RGB LED Cube or is there something updated? Specifically with doing the wooden rig and bends.

SuperTech-IT (author)  senohpoxas888 months ago

Please note - if the first repair was already made to your board, you will need to make the second repair noted above by cutting the oversized VIA pad away from the trace it shorts to. This applies to all who purchased between December 1st and December 8th. (the boards that shipped on the 8th have had both repairs made, and any purchases after this will be repaired prior to shipping. The upcoming rev.3.12 boards have been redesigned with these errors fixed.)

SuperTech-IT (author)  senohpoxas889 months ago

I update this instructable on a regular basis if anthing changes. To my knowledge, this is the best instructable on this project.

SuperTech-IT (author) 9 days ago

Awww, I missed it...happy belated 1 year anniversary RGB Cube instructable!

ItsGraGra23 days ago


Great project but somewhat confusing with the plethora of software downloads.

Looking on Nicks site I see many updates to what is here, particularly the music module firmware and Music CubeApp template.

I have ordered your base board, MEGA2650 bridge board and the music module board from you, plus the necessary components.

I have also ordered a Mega2560 R3 Board ATmega2560-16AU + ATMEGA16U2 which will have the bootloader installed.

Can you PLEASE advise the latest firmware required to run this setup and where to get it.

I am new to Arduino; always used PIC's and Mikroelektronika MikroC Pro for PIC IDE/compiler.

I have downloaded the Arduino IDE, is this correct as I read somewhere to use a modified version (mpide-0023-windows-20111221)?


SuperTech-IT (author)  ItsGraGra22 days ago

You can get the latest software here. You can run any software with 2560 in the name on your Arduino MEGA2560. The latest firmware is by David Yee and incorporates the Music Module routines. I am sure there will be some updates as this is a first release with music response, but it'll work for you. MPIDE is for the ChipKit UNO32 and ChipKit uC32, not the Arduinos. You can get the latest Arduino IDE directly from the Microchip website. All the firmware for my circuit boards I try to keep on both TheLEDCube.com and in this instructable.

SuperTech-IT (author) 1 month ago

I'll make a video later, but the long awaited Arduino music code is here.

Just for the Arduino MEGA2560 for the moment, but I am sure we'll have something for the UNO later on.

David Yee took the code I ported over to the MEGA from the UNO code by Kevin Darrah, and using my ChipHit UNO music code as a guide, produced code that wirks with the V4.5 music module on the Arduino MEGA2560.

The buttons function the same way as in the ChipKit code I wrote. Some of the displays function a bit differently, but till look great.

Thanks David for your efforts.

captbics2 months ago

Hi SuperTech,

I'm waaay behind on my projects and wanted to check and see if there are any issues with my board labeled board 3.0 Rev4 (bought it in Aug 2014 I think). I see your comments apply to boards 3.0 Rev5 and up.

TIA. Cheers.

SuperTech-IT (author)  captbics2 months ago

That's the board you see in all my videos - no mods necessary.

Great, thanks for the confirmation!

rmiller602 months ago

Hi, I have V5 Rev. 1 of the baseboard. What is LED_EN at the bottom right of the board next to the two LED's?

SuperTech-IT (author)  rmiller602 months ago

It's for a jumper to enable or disable those 2 LEDs (some people find them annoying unless they are having power issues)

dearle3162 months ago

Just finishing putting together the board with components bought from Hong Kong. Everything is great except the parts count. I am short (1) 0.1mF cap and have an extra 10mF cap. The only thing I can see is that on some pics of older boards - the 10mF cap went just above and to the right of the reset switch. On my board, that spot is marked as a 0.1mF cap, which is different from older boards. I can send a pic if I need to. Can you clarify the cap needed?


SuperTech-IT (author)  dearle3162 months ago

If you have to you can use the 10uF, but you will need to remove the reset link jumper on the bridge board when programming the chip, or disconnect the bridge from the base.

dama534 months ago

I finally
started my cube but have struck problems.

Board Vers 3
Rev 5.1 purchased Sep 2014

Chipkit Uno
and Mega2560

I installed
components on board and mounted the master panel
and used Chipkit master panel test code, everything worked straightaway
which is great because I've never soldered electronic components before. I
continued with panel 2 then 3 then 4 everything worked well. Then I connected
the anodes to the relevant layer and tested and it ran all the routines from
Doug's version 1 template, great!!! When
I installed panel 5 it did not work properly so I removed it from board and
retested without the 5th panel but the remainder of the panels did not work as
before, I was getting random lighting of columns. I checked the
troubleshooting guide and have checked
soldering, swapped chips and even have tried a second Chipkit Uno and now even
using a bridge board.

Currently have
disconnected anodes wire to panels 2,3,4
and running only the master panel and I am getting all permanent green columns with part of the routines on top
as in video

I have
another components kit that I have purchased so can swap more components if
need be.

What have I done wrong ? Any help appreciated.

Thanks Dan

dama53 dama533 months ago

Cube working great now after replacing all the chips a second time.

SuperTech-IT (author)  dama533 months ago

that should never happen unless you had loose solder joints, were using the wrong voltage, or got your parts kit from China instead of Hong Kong

Nice project. But really, Hong Kong is a city in China, so what you say makes no sense at all.

SuperTech-IT (author)  BenediktM2 months ago

Please check out the actual logistics of that. TECHNICALLY you are right, however they are still very very different places, even though they are on a strictly technical basis one part of the other.(reference http://gohongkong.about.com/od/travelplanner/a/hon... )

To quote the article..."for all PRACTICAL purposes, Hong Kong is actually a separate country to China."

Also, the ads of the parts on ebay specifically say HONG KONG from my supplier, and CHINA on the ads that ripped off their ad and use the inferior parts. I would like to point out though that your comment was not constructive to the project at all, and therefore should have been made as a private message rather than just trying to be a smartypants in public.

I think I
caused some of the problems by continually resoldering the sockets. On
occasions because of the lack of clearance under the 1st layer I left the chips
in situ whilst soldering which probably caused them to fail.

All the
parts (2 sets) were sourced from the recommended supplier in Hong Kong only
this last lot of DM13a chips were sourced from a different supplier in Hong
Kong not China.

Thanks for your help all working great now.

SuperTech-IT (author)  dama534 months ago
check your inbox for my skype address. We're going to have to do a live troubleshoot on this one.

Do not have Skype so will need to set it up

SuperTech-IT (author)  dama534 months ago

Look for the design flaw above which states "This fix also applies boards from V3 Rev5 up to V4 Rev3.11" and implement the fix.

If that doesn't work, then get back to me. You got lucky for a bit it looks like, and the flaw didn't present itself til you got to the 5th panel.

At green4 it does not intersect the trace ??? so do I have the problem?

green 4.jpg
dama53 dama534 months ago

Sorry for not being clear. I have found the area near blue 1. What I wanted to know is at green 4 do the boards that have the defect have the trace intersecting like you have drawn in the right hand picture because on my board there is no intersection (my photo and like your middle photo no trace intersecting) .Therefore my board might not have the problem.???

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