Introduction: 3x3x3 Led Cube Using a 555 Timer and a 4020 Shift Array IC - No Programming (for the Complete Novice Like Myself)
Seeing a video of an 8x8x8 led cube on you-tube, led me to the instructables website for the first time, now I'm hooked. However, I had or should I say have a fundamental problem absolutely no experience or understanding of electronics. So I am a complete novice!
I have endeavoured to learn the fundamentals and have reached the stage where I am confident about attempting something a bit more complicated than a rudimental breadboard circuit. I therefore decided to build a proper gizmo or thingamabob. One involving the manufacture of home made pcb's and using proper soldering, wow!
For my first build, I decided to attempt a simple 3x3x3 led cube! Which would involve absolutely no programming (I have bought an arduino but it is staying in the box for the time being). I came across a straightforward design involving a 555 timer and a 4020 14 stage binary counter at instructables.
however, no one has built it at instructables, so I trolled the Internet and come across the same design on any number of sites. The only entry I could find pertaining to a working 555-timer cube, I found on You-Tube. This actually showed video of a working cube, unfortunately for me though, there were no instructions, but armed with the evidence of my own eyes I knew it could be done! So was worth a go.
I actually succeeded so decided to make this instructables to pass it on, see the video at:
I first built the cube using the exact values of components (except for leds, unknown) on a breadboard. I had a problem, it would not work, and I checked all connections, several times, not a flicker from the leds.
Being a very simple design with only 4 components (apart from the leds), two of which were pretty much fixed (the IC's). I started to play about with the capacitance; resistance and I also lowered the voltage.
After a lot of trial and error, I finally came up with a working cube using the following values.
Voltage = 4.5volts.
Capacitor = 100uf.
Resistor = 91ohms.
The design of the circuit remains the same and I used 3mm leds.
Note: I don't yet know how to use CAD packages to produce pcb's so I used windows paint, a very painless method, for me.
As long as the proportions for the IC sockets remain constant, then the jpeg image can be pasted into Microsoft word and stretched corner to corner untill the correct size for printing (works for me, I could describe in more detail if anyone is interested)
I built two of these cubes one using all red leds and one using a combination of green, yellow and red like a traffic light.
There are plenty of instructables on how to etch pcb’s and make the led cubes, so these stages have been omitted.
I had a lot of fun building this and have already started my next project, hope you like it as well. Be kind.