LED Cube 4x4x4

Amazing 3 dimensional LED display.

64 LEDs makes up this 4 by 4 by 4 cube, controlled by an Atmel Atmega16 microcontroller.
Each LED can be addressed individually in software, enabling it to display amazing 3d animations!

8x8x8 LED cube now available, by popular demand:

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: What you need

First of all, you need quite a bit of time to solder together 64 leds ;)

Knowledge list:
  • Basic electronics and soldering skills
  • Know how to program an AVR microcontroller - I will not cover that in this instructable.

Component list:
  • Protoboard. The type with copper circles.
  • Atmel AVR Atmega16 microcontroller
  • Programmer to program the Atmega16
  • 64 Leds
  • 2 status leds. I used red and green. (optional)
  • Max232 rs-232 chip, or equivalent.
  • 16 resistors for leds. (100-400ohms) will get back to this.
  • 2x resistor 470 ohm. for status leds
  • 1x resistor 10k
  • 4x resistor 2.2k
  • 4x NPN transistor BC338 (or other transistor capable of switching 250-ish mA)
  • 1x 10uF capacitor
  • 1x 1000uF capacitor
  • 6x 0.1uF ceramic capacitor
  • 2x 22pF ceramic capacitor
  • 1x crystal 14.7456 MHz
  • 2x tactile button
  • optional pwr switch
  • connector for 12v power
  • optional connector for 5v power


i see people can't seem to read.... it's not hard. 'save as' re-name


to main.hex. upload to atmega16 chip and you are done!

ClA0074 years ago
i have a question  how do i use the zip file? the hex i can use it from windows to send it to avr but the zip i didn't know how to use..! can someone tell me if it s important o not?

the zip file contains the original naked coding files which you can edit if you want to, but if you dont know what you are doing... dont touch it.

if you uploaded the .hex file... you've completed the programming of the atmega chip and theres nothing more you need to do

How do you connect an avr to your pc for the code to load on it? And yes I do have linux

you need a gadget called a 'usbtiny' which is available on Ebay

Bartjeeh4 years ago
so this is what i do. and i really don't understand what i do wrong.

Bartjeeh@linux-b5pm: cd /home/Bartjeeh/Desktop/4x4x4_ledcube
Bartjeeh@linux-b5pm:~/Desktop/4x4x4_ledcube> make
If 'make' is not a typo you can use command-not-found to lookup the package that contains it, like this:
    cnf make

in that folder are the following files

if anyone could help me please!!!

change this file :


to main.hex

then type

avrdude -c usbtiny -p m16 -U flash:w:main.hex

mateuszrjzr2 years ago
I know, that last post was in 2008, but can you explain me why when i'm klicking "4x4x4_ledcube.hex" suddenly i am downloading something like : F6JRI6AFJ1I6CP0.tmp???? please so much help me...

before you click the link, right click on it and "save as", then change the filename to main.hex...

you need to rename int to 4x4x4_ledcube.hex
andrejmdias3 years ago
someone has the full pdf of this circuit to send

if you can log in to comment you can login and download the whole pdf!

top left button with the pdf icon and the word "download"

karyochi3 years ago
i'm having some problems, when i use the make command, it responds with:"makefile: ***missing seperator", could someone plz help?, i want to use an ATmega8 or ATmega32, maybe somoene just could send me the HEX code,

dude, to change to the atmega32 you will need some sort of avr program writter like the one you can download from atmel (atmel studio).

open the makefile in atmel studio and then change this line...

mcu = atmega16


mcu = atmega32

and then compile and upload!

egange4 months ago
I recently made the cube. but i only have arduino to control it. Does anyone converted chr animation code to arduino? please helpp...
Steve25 egange3 months ago
I gues not, but why don't you buy an usbasp from ebay? It will cost you only 3 euro!
Sir can we use atmega 16 A instead of given above as I am only gettin A one on ebay so.... Please rply sir
egange Steve253 months ago
i already have asbasp programmer but i don't have Atmega32-16PU 40 pins. only atmega328 w/ 28 pins. im quite new in programming micro-controllers. i need to traslate chr code to be used in atmega328 or arduino. please helpp. :D
kchauhan17 days ago

Sir What is the total cost of whole project in INR ?

kchauhan17 days ago

Sir What is the total cost of whole project in INR ?

waka20073 months ago
I want to make this for my first real project. I was wondering how important are the transistors and the capacitors. I have seen cubes that run with just LEDs and resistors so why the extra stuff?

The short answer is because he built his development board from scratch. If you look at an Arduino, all those components are placed on the board when it is manufactured (and then you have the input/output pins to use).

temi1 month ago

can any one post me the 4x4x4' 'compiled' hex.? i cannot compile it withStudio6.0, talk less of programming it with my TL866A.

alexcavazos673 months ago

I just published a 3D-printable template for this project. I hope it is helpful to anyone out there.

photo 1.JPG
Hi guys
I built the circuit without the rs232-interface and programmed the (above attached) hex-file to the chip with a separate programmer. The status-leds are working, but none of the led's are lighting up. I measured the outputs (at cathode out from transistors and anode) and was surprised when my multimeter gave me a negative voltage.
Has anyone experienced the same problem ever?
I build it to without the rs232 interface and did not have that experience. Did you connect you're transistors right? My transistor had an TO-92 package (CEO). I nearly connected them wrong.
Hi Steve, You were right. I connected the transistors wrong. Now some Leds are lighting up but they only go on for about 10 secs and off again. Did you program the chip in circuit as in this instructable or on a separate programmer?
Yes i followed all steps in this guide. When i uploaded the program, 4 rows didn't light up. But after setting the fusebits it worked perfect.
If you also followed all the steps there might be an problem in you're wiring.

Hi Steve
It's running now! I indeed set the fuses wrong. thanks for your help! all the best
Great to hear! I'm happy that you got it working.
I build it to without the rs232 interface and did not have that experience. Did you connect you're transistors right? My transistor had an TO-92 package (CEO). I nearly connected them wrong.
erdiegange4 months ago
Can i use 16Mhz Crystal instead of 14.7456?
I just cant wait if ill buy the exact 16Mhz that i need. xD
manoulis5 months ago
Hey dude, nice work there, I'm trying really hard to make one myself, I have entered the atmel site but I see two different types of Atmel AVR Atmega16 microcontroller in PDIP.

Here is the link of the site too:

Can you please tell me which one should I order ??? Thank you in advance
Steve25 manoulis5 months ago
I bought the atmega16-16PU. But you can use the atmega16-8PU aswell so the choice is yours
Steve255 months ago
male connector 2x5 rm 2,54mm? Bought it at conrad
thanks really appreciate.

Miguel3105c5 months ago
hi guys as am new in electronic i would like to know from where do you get the socket for the AVR PROG coz i really cant find one and the name plz thanks
Miguel3105c5 months ago
hi guys as am new in electronic i would like to know from where do you get the socket for the AVR PROG coz i really cant find one and the name plz thanks
sadomukas5 months ago
Thank all for answers. Now I have othe trouble, not all of leds is working and some always lithing very brightly.
Steve25 sadomukas5 months ago
Hi sadomukas. I can't tell what's causing this problem i only can give you suggestions. First check out you're connections again. If that's all good then check you're resistor value's. If the value's are good as well then check you're leds. There is a possibility that you're leds are damaged. To check this out, take out you're volt meter and put it on bleep ore diode. You're Leds should light up when you touch them. If they do not then they are broken and should be replaced.
If this is all good then the last thing i can think of is that you broke you're chip again.

Hope this will help you out good luck again!

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?


PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!