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Step 6: The anatomy of a LED cube

We are going to be talking about anodes, cathodes, columns and layers, so lets take a moment to get familiar with the anatomy of a LED cube.

An LED has two legs. One positive (the anode) and one negative (cathode). In order to light up an LED, you have to run current from the positive to the negative leg. (If i remember correctly the actual flow of electrons is the other way around. But let's stick to the flow of current which is from positive to negative for now).

The LED cube is made up of columns and layers. The cathode legs of every LED in a layer are soldered together. All the anode legs in one column are soldered together.

Each of the 64 columns are connected to the controller board with a separate wire. Each column can be controlled individually. Each of the 8 layers also have a separate wire going to the controller board.

Each of the layers are connected to a transistor that enables the cube to turn on and off the flow of current through each layer.

By only turning on the transistor for one layer, current from the anode columns can only flow through that layer. The transistors for the other layers are off, and the image outputted on the 64 anode wires are only shown on the selected layer.

To display the next layer, simply turn off the transistor for the current layer, change the image on the 64 anode wires to the image for the next layer. Then turn on the transistor for the next layer. Rinse and repeat very very fast.

The layers will be referred to as layers, cathode layers or ground layers.
The columns will be referred to as columns, anode columns or anodes.
<p>WOW - 5 million views.</p><p>I think it's some kind of record! LOL!</p>
Hi, Where do i buy all that stuff for 69 dlls? Thanks
<p>thats projects its great! Im looking for all the stuff and making time for doing! please continue doing amazing thing. :)</p>
<p>hi, really great instructable, kind that inspires people.</p><p>This code, cube[5][3] |= (0x01 &lt;&lt; 4);</p><p>Hex01 bit wise move 4, or with a 2d array, I can't get my head around it.</p><p>Plz, a more detailed description will save me from more tablets, cheers</p>
<p>Made it!!</p><p>Thank you for the great instruction!!</p>
<p>Your print looks very neat. Mine is very messy.</p>
<p>Wow, how do you get your trace wires so straight and the perfect length?</p>
<p>I measured 1, and cut them all to the same length at once...</p><p>And alcohol-free-february also did the trick ;-)</p>
<p>Hahaha nice work!</p>
<p>Nice job. Many never get their hand wired boards working! Nice and tidy job too.</p>
<p>Do you have a list of components that that board required?</p>
<p>Thank you for your guidance chr..</p>
<p>i am selling most of the components needed from Futurlec. I decided to do the Tindie kit instead. You can find my list of parts (less 512 LEDS) and further info in the classified sale section here: </p><p><a href="http://www.instructables.com/community/Major-Parts-KIT-for-8X8-CUBE-LED-from-Furturlec/">http://www.instructables.com/community/Major-Parts...</a></p><p>I am offering this at a discount and Priority mail within the US. </p><p>thank you</p>
<p>What's the purpose of the address bus?</p><p>And can all of the cube or generally any number of IO's can be runned with only 3 pins by making layers of shift registers?</p>
<p>Is it possible to just switch out these same color LED's for some RGB LED's without changing anything else, apart from the code?</p>
<p>I understand that RGB LEDs have 4 pins, and this may be change the layout of how cube is soldered. How much harder am I making this project by deciding to use RGB LEDs. This is my first LED cube so I don't want to get in over my head.</p>
<p>hi</p><p>i need a help for connecting program (3d8s alpha ) to arduino uno </p>
<p>If we want to replace all transistors, for cathode riser, like Đ&ocirc;ng Phạm post, we can use ULN2803. If we are anode riser, TD62783 is the replacement for ULN2803.</p>
<p>Great Tutorial. Thanks</p>
<p>hi<br>thanks for this nce tut. </p><p>can any one tell me if i can use SN74LS574,HD74LS138P instead of 74HC574,74HC138 and im using arduino uno <br>thanks alot<br></p>
<p>hello all of you, I have an idea to replace 16 BJT by ULN2803, it would save up for your area, and it works very tot.Toi did 2 cube leds and it all works fine however, I did not design the RS232 connection on my circuit. and here are some pictures about it:</p>
<p>Hi DongP1, I am so like the Cube and I want to make it and give to my girl friend as a big surprise. Can you send all schematics ,programs and other files to me . Thans so much.</p><p>My e-mail address: dongliang.ma@matrixopto.com </p>
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzXbfPpoHKV5eWQxU1VQODZhTTA/view?usp=sharing
<p>Hey guy, if i use STK500 device to set up for atmega32 then plug it to the board , so, can i remove RS232 and AVR Isp?</p>
<p>sir, i have successfully made my cube, now the problem is with the code... im using arduino uno and the code given in this article i.e for arduino user is working fine for me... but other codes which are used for AVR is not compatible with aduino ? does coding for both arduino uno and AVR are different ?</p><p>i got a error as &quot;compilation terminated </p><p> exist status 1</p><p> error compiling &quot;</p><p>if there is solution for this plz post . </p><p>and the code in the link which u gave is compatible with arduino uno ? </p><p> Thanks :)</p>
<p>You likely need an older, or possibly a newer copy of the IDE.</p>
<p>sir presently im using latest version of IDE i.e 1.6.7</p><p>can i know the the exact version of IDE ??</p><p>and sir how can i make others codes compatible with IDE?</p><p>Thanks :)</p>
mail me.. 233himanshu@gmail.com
This is here. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzXbfPpoHKV5eWQxU1VQODZhTTA/view?usp=sharing and don't need chager in program .
<p>Hi Phamd4 , thank you so much. I have another question, I can not open the CUBE schematic and pcb files with Protues Desing Suite 8.0 , my computer is Win 7 system. whether the version of the Protues is not matching? Can you help me .</p>
<p>You can use even less space using SMT 2N2222 type transistors. My board will take either.</p>
Can you please kindly send me the circuit and diagram.
<p>The circuit diagrams for this project are in this instructable.</p>
My email address is sisirroy777@gmail.com
<p>Hello DongP1, <br>Can you share a more clear schematic how did you used the ULN2803 and explain what changes have you done to the code ?</p><p>Thanks</p>
You don't need changes in code
<p>OK you, I'm very fun when help you. You can use Proteus to open file schematic and PCB, and i did fixed code. all in here:<br>https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzXbfPpoHKV5eWQxU1VQODZhTTA/view?usp=sharing<br>when you use atmega32 you must set fuse for it. <br></p><p>and when you solder PCB solder you should note carefully and did not miss any legs, as this is the second circuit face, you can also book for someone trained to do it to ensure circuit reliability. And my final non-electric circuits become restricts motherboard area, it absolutely does not affect the led. And can not forget that it is a 5V supply. Wish success. I look forward to seeing your circuit here.</p><p></p><p>Inside the downloaded folder: principle diagram, schematic print, inside a simulated 3d opened by Proteus, the revised code with external hex file, inside the code can edit custom and standard you, use WINAVR (recommended recommended). and images to set the fuse for ATmega32.</p>
<p>Hi!!<br>Do you know hoe to flash the EEPROM of Arduino just like we do in normal non-arduino boards..<br>i.e. we flash .eep file directly into the micro controller.. do you know any similar or equivalant thing in Arduino...?</p>
<p>I sorry you, because I do not use Arduino, so I did not go through the difficulties you face, but you can read more online material on its use. I can only help you in terms of hardware. Good luck. I believe you will succeed! : D</p>
<p>Thnx for replying!<br>I got a solution for it already!</p>
<p>Hello, </p><p>Now I got it. The idea to use the ULN2803 is to avoid using transistors correct ?<br>What do you mean that I need to set the fuse for the ATMEGA32 ?<br>I will be using arduino board, either Nano or mega. </p><p>Thanks for your reply </p><p>Jose </p>

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Bio: I like microcontrollers and LEDs :D
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