Step 19: Build the cube: soldering advice

You are going to be soldering VERY close to the LED body, and you are probably going to be using really cheap LEDs from eBay. LEDs don't like heat, cheap LEDs probably more so than others. This means that you have to take some precautions in order to avoid broken LEDs.

Soldering iron hygiene
First of all, you need to keep your soldering iron nice and clean. That means wiping it on the sponge every time you use it. The tip of your soldering iron should be clean and shiny. Whenever the you see the tip becoming dirty with flux or oxidizing, that means loosing it's shinyness, you should clean it. Even if you are in the middle of soldering. Having a clean soldering tip makes it A LOT easier to transfer heat to the soldering target.

Soldering speed
When soldering so close to the LED body, you need to get in and out quickly. Wipe your iron clean. Apply a tiny amount of solder to the tip. Touch the part you want to solder with the side of your iron where you just put a little solder. Let the target heat up for 0.5-1 seconds, then touch the other side of the target you are soldering with the solder. You only need to apply a little bit. Only the solder that is touching the metal of both wires will make a difference. A big blob of solder will not make the solder joint any stronger. Remove the soldering iron immediately after applying the solder.

Mistakes and cool down
If you make a mistake, for example if the wires move before the solder hardens or you don't apply enough solder. Do not try again right away. At this point the LED is already very hot, and applying more heat with the soldering iron will only make it hotter. Continue with the next LED and let it cool down for a minute, or blow on it to remove some heat.

We recommend using a thin solder for soldering the LEDs. This gives you a lot more control, and enable you to make nice looking solder joints without large blobs of solder. We used a 0.5 mm gauge solder. Don't use solder without flux. If your solder is very old and the flux isn't cleaning the target properly, get newer solder. We haven't experienced this, but we have heard that it can happen.

Are we paranoid?
When building the 8x8x8 LED Cube, we tested each and every LED before using it in the cube. We also tested every LED after we finished soldering a layer. Some of the LEDs didn't work after being soldered in place. We considered these things before making a single solder joint. Even with careful soldering, some LEDs were damaged.
The last thing you want is a broken LED near the center of the cube when it is finished. The first and second layer from the outside can be fixed afterwards, but any further in than that, and you'll need endoscopic surgical tools ;)
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<p>hai guys I want to know how much power and amp give for cube and I am using arduino so arduino hold 1.5 amp 5v and connect to driver board or I give power to driver board separately and arduino separately and how much I want give can u give me detail</p>
<p>Hello i have built this cube but i am having problems. i upload the test code and everything works but after i uploar the second code as well as the firmware nothing happens</p>
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<p>I will make it</p>
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<p>I am using arduino mega as isp to program or usb pic or if u any software for led programming that is also good </p>
I'm good to go now found good files on pyroelectro.com by thepyroelectro www.pyroelectro.com/projects/8x8x8_led_cube/arduino_8x8x8_cube.pde
can you tell me how to copy and paste animations into the my main sketch from other sketches? So I can add more animations. what section sketch to copy and where to place it. thanks
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<p>hi , i have made CRR's led cube but something very strange is happening</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/YZucW88VQr0" width="500"></iframe></p><p>there are led lighting that must not light. I have change emmitter with collector , i have use only one 2n222 as <a href="http://www.instructables.com/member/SuperTech-IT/" rel="nofollow">uperTech-IT</a> says but nonthing good.</p>
<p>I noticed you got yours up and running. Congrats. I see you went the 2 transistor rout in the end, but that's OK, it's just more parts than needed.<br>My boards are a lot more compact than yours, and allow Arduino's ATmega328p or the ATmega32/32A/32L processors, but the end result is pretty much the same. LOL. Here you can also see one of my completed single colour cubes beside one of my RGB cubes.<br></p>
2N2222 transistor have 600ma current max on colector and one led need 0.015ma mutil by 64 led each layer equal ~1A. Therefore you need at leat 2 2N2222 transistor
<p>More precisely, my design uses single 2N2222 for the layers - the whole cube with all LEDs lit draws under 700mA. Anyways, if you still have not worked this out, go to www.TheLEDCube.com and download my source code for your processor which contains a POWER ON SELF TEST. Video the POST and put the video up here and I will analyze it and point you to pretty much exactly what's wrong right off the bat unless there are multiple shorts / bad connections.</p>
<p>Hey, can u uploade a bit more detailed description of the power supply.</p><p>I cannot figure out how to solder the pieces</p>
<p>Your best bet is to simply get a 5V 2A plug-in power supply.</p><p>These are cheap and plentiful on ebay.</p>
<p>What have you used, atmega or arduino? </p>
<p>i use atmega</p>
<p>It worked flawlessly buddy. it is such a great feeling achieving that task</p>
<p>The Arduino is also ATmega in that the processor is an ATmega328P.</p><p>Most people prefer the ATmega32/32A/32L for this project though.</p>
<p>Finally, It worked flawlessly. Now I want to go to the next level and use atmega32. Problem is to get the crystal, I'll have to import it</p>
<p>and of course i have place 8 pull up resistors on collectors ,6.2k</p>
<p>finally it works! there were many short circuits and tow transistor had electrik leak</p>
<p>Glad you got it all up and running! Hope to see a video of your cube in action!</p>
<p>Is there any program to control led cube and make coding easy ,just clicking on leds we want to gets on with the order we want?</p>
wow I'm blown away. I built the jameco 8x8 cube pcb version. their sample code works great but I sure would like more code that will work with this kit. I'm glad I made the cube large with 25mm spacing thanks for the advice.
I built the Jameco 8x8x8 cube PCB version. I need better code than the sample file. Please help.
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<p>I am not using rs232 ic just using atmega32 and 74hc574and 74hc138ic just using basic module I don want confuse I want program the atmega working alone </p>
<p>give me link </p>
<p>Hai guys I need help with complete code and this is my first project I am done everything I need only code I am using 74hc574 ic I want code based on that and another thing I am chef I not familiar with c programming I am doing project in hobbies because I love electronics pls help me with that ,that's greatfull for me</p>
<p>Help needed!</p><p>I managed to put everything together and now I am having problems with programming. I have little experience in this, so I don't what's wrong:</p><p>I have (a copy of) Arduino Uno, i programmed it as an ISP so that i would able to program the cube's Atmega32. </p><p>I wrote: </p><p>avrdude -c avrisp -P COM3 -p m32 -U lfuse:w:0b11101111:m -F</p><p>(I used -F to get any result, because otherwise all i got was: </p><p>avrdude: Device signature = 0x000000</p><p>avrdude: Yikes! Invalid device signature.)</p><p>And i get a verification error (see screenshot). If I do anything afterwards, all i get is this: avrdude: stk500_cmd(): programmer is out of sync</p><p>After reconnecting Arduino usb, i get the same result (verification error and then out of sync error). </p><p>Also, it is unclear to me whether the programming header's jumper should be used. If I disconnect it, the avrdude displays out of sync error immediately. If i do use the jumper, the cube lights up seemingly randomly and after some time pretty much all of the LEDs are lit up. Is it a soldering problem or is it supposed to happen?</p>
<p>I suggest getting an USBASP or USBTiny off ebay. They are typically $2 to $5.</p><p>The other option is to program your arduino to control the cube itself.</p>
Thanks, i figured that would be necessary. Would i have to make any changes to the board to use Arduino with it? Or should i just wait for the programmer to arrive?

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Bio: I like microcontrollers and LEDs :D
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