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20 UNBELIEVABLE ARDUINO PROJECTS PDF

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Power supply considerations This step is easy to overlook. We now use a regulated computer power supply to get a stable high current 5V supply. At over mA and 12V input. Cube drawing almost half an amp at 5 volts. In addition to that. We later removed this chip. Multiply this number by This will power it up. They already have a convenient enclosure. Build a power supply A couple of years before we built the LED cube.

That is the kind of plug you find on hard drives before the age of S-ATA. We won't get into any more details of how to make a power supply here. Power supplies have a lot of wires. The only thing you have to do is to add external power terminals. Used a Molex connector so we could disconnect the cube easily. We use the second 5V output to power an 80mm PC fan to suck or blow fumes away when we solder. Inside here is a small powersupply that used to supply the SCSI hard drive that was inside.

This is what we have been using to power the LED cube. PC power supplies are nice. I'm sure you can find another instructable on how to do that. If you want to use an ATX power supply. About 15 bucks will get you a nice PSU. Old SCSI disk 2. We have 12V output. External hard drive enclosures are especially nice to use as power supplies. Our recommendation is to use 3mm diffused LEDs. Maybe we should have taken the hint. This creates some unwanted ghosting effects. To compensate for this.

We actually ordered diffused LEDs from eBay. So many choices. Defusing is something you do to a bomb when you want to prevent it from blowing up. A diffused LED will be more or less equally bright from all sides. With 3mm round LEDs. Shipping them back to China to receive a replacement would have taken too much time. The cube design in this instructable uses the legs of the LEDs themselves as the skeleton for the cube. Therefore we strongly recommend using diffused LEDs.

If your cube is made up of clear LEDs. But keep in mind that the quality of the product may be reflected in it's price.

These are the ones we ended up using http: Clear LEDs also create another problem. We went with 3mm LEDs because we wanted the cube to be as "transparent" as possible.

It works fine. In order not to exceed this. You have to keep within the specified maximum mA rating for the output pins. This gives you 6. If you look in the data sheet. Diffused LED. BAD This is not what we ordered! Damn you ebay! If your LEDs draw 20mA each.

You will find this line: We ended up using resistors of ohms. The only transistors we had available had a maximum rating of mA.

Choose your resistors There are three things to consider when choosing the value of your resistors. GOOD This is what we expected to receive. While you are waiting for your LED cube parts to arrive in the mail.

If all the LEDs on one anode column are on. We could have made the cube smaller. We had seen some people using metal rods for their designs. Add 1mm margin for soldering. By choosing a LED spacing of 25mm. Viva la resistance!! Choose the size of your cube We wanted to make the LED cube using as few components as possible.

We figured that the easiest way to build a led cube would be to bend the legs of the LEDs so that the legs become the scaffolding that holds the LEDs in place. Our recommendation is to use the maximum spacing that your LED can allow. Seeing all the way through to the furthest layer wouldn't be a problem. Many of the metal rod designs also looked a little crooked.

The only wire we had was on spools. We tried to bend it into a straight wire. By making the 4x4x4 version first. Before we built the 8x8x8 LED cube. Check out our 4x4x4 LED cube instructable for instructions on building a smaller "prototype". If you have a vice. We remembered that the wire was totally straight and symmetrical after being pulled like that.

Practice in small scale Whenever Myth Busters are testing a complex myth. This would probably be a lot easier. They start out with a spool of really thick wire. So we figured we should give pulling a try. You only need to stretch it a couple of millimeters to make it nice and straight.

Get a firm grip of each end of the wire with two pairs of pliers Pull hard! You will feel the wire stretch a little bit.

Our first attempt at this failed horribly. We recommend that you do the same thing. Here is how you do it.

Electronics For You

Remove the insulation. Then we remembered an episode of "How it's made" from the Discovery Channel. The episode was about how they make steel wire. These indentions will prevent the drill from sliding sideways when you start drilling. You don't want it to be to tight. If the hole is too snug. Everything but the kitchen sink? We sort of used the kitchen sink to hold the jig in place. All done. If you make a small indentation before drilling. If the holes are too big.

A steel wire will be soldered in here in every layer to give the cube some extra stiffening. We used this LED to test all the holes. This makes it easier to spot differences in brightness. We found a couple of dead LEDs and some that were dimmer than the rest. So we decided to test every LED before using it.

Wipe your iron clean. This little gadget is great for cleaning your soldering iron Step That means wiping it on the sponge every time you use it. Don't use solder without flux. Soldering iron hygiene First of all. Apply a tiny amount of solder to the tip. Whenever the you see the tip becoming dirty with flux or oxidizing. The last thing you want is a broken LED near the center of the cube when it is finished.

Some of the LEDs didn't work after being soldered in place. If the tip of your soldering iron looks like this. Having a clean soldering tip makes it A LOT easier to transfer heat to the soldering target. We also tested every LED after we finished soldering a layer.

Mistakes and cool down If you make a mistake. We haven't experienced this. Even if you are in the middle of soldering. You only need to apply a little bit. You might also want to have another LED with its own resistor permanently on the breadboard while testing. Let the target heat up for 0. Even with careful soldering. Do not try again right away. If your solder is very old and the flux isn't cleaning the target properly. Are we paranoid? When building the 8x8x8 LED Cube. We tested some of the LED before we started soldering.

Only the solder that is touching the metal of both wires will make a difference. The tip of your soldering iron should be clean and shiny. This might be less of a problem if you are using LEDs that are more expensive. We considered these things before making a single solder joint. Remove the soldering iron immediately after applying the solder. Soldering speed When soldering so close to the LED body.

Touch the part you want to solder with the side of your iron where you just put a little solder. We used a 0. This means that you have to take some precautions in order to avoid broken LEDs. Get out your breadboard. The first and second layer from the outside can be fixed afterwards. At this point the LED is already very hot. Solder We recommend using a thin solder for soldering the LEDs. A big blob of solder will not make the solder joint any stronger.

Continue with the next LED and let it cool down for a minute. LEDs don't like heat. This gives you a lot more control. Then place the one to the left. We leave this in place and use it to connect ground when testing all the LEDs in a later step. Take a straight peace of wire. Repeat until you reach the bottom. Solder all the joints. On the column to the right this leg will stick out of the side of the layer. Simply grabbing both ends of the layer and pulling would probably break the whole thing if a couple of the LEDs are stuck.

Start by lifting every single LED a couple of millimeters. When all the LEDs are freed from their holes. Looking at the LED sitting in a hole in the template with the notch to the right.

We used one bracing near the bottom and one near the middle. Do this for both braces. Just enough to feel that there isn't any resistance. At this point the whole thing is very flimsy. At the top of each layer each LED is rotated 90 degrees clockwise. Depending on the size of your holes. Repeat 8 times! Note on images: If you are having trouble seeing the detail in any of our pictures.

Start by placing the LED second from the top. Rinse and repeat until you reach the left LED. Just mentioning here so you don't remove the layer just yet. That way your hand can rest on the wooden template when you solder. All our close up pictures are taken with a mini tripod and should have excellent macro focus. If it is still stuck. Make sure the legs are bent in the same direction on all the LEDs.

Multimeter connected in series to measure mA. Fine tune the alignment and solder the other end in place. You will need a steady hand when soldering freehand like this. On the image page. And then the rest. About 1mm overlap. Don't remove the leg that sticks out to the side. Then do this column 3. LED ready to be soldered. Start with this row 2. It is convenient to connect ground to it when testing the LEDs. We marked off where we wanted to have the midway bracing.

Look how nicely they line up. Almost done. Brace Image Notes 1. Connect a wire to 5V through a resistor. Take the wire and tap it against all 64 anode legs that are sticking up from your template. Ground connected to the layer 2. We strongly recommend that you test all LEDs before proceeding. Connect ground to the tab you left sticking out at the upper right corner.

If a LED doesn't flash when you tap it. If everything checks out. Pin straightening paid off. While looking at the template from the side. If you look at the LEDs in your template from the side. This isn't going to be a very nice LED cube! You want all the legs to point straight up. Then rotate the template 90 degrees. We use a 4x4x4 cube here to demonstrate. You now have a perfect layer that is ready to be removed from the template. This is better Image Notes To make a solder joint.

This is enough for the leg to bend around the LED below and make contact with it's anode leg. Make a bend in the anode leg towards the cathode leg approximately 3mm from the end of the leg. Just slide it in from one of the sides. The first two layers can be quite flimsy before they are soldered together.

Solder a couple of the LEDs in the middle. Fan to blow the fumes away from my face. Connect ground to the the ground tab. Now move a 9V battery to the middle of the cube. The whole thing should be pretty stable at this point. When you have soldered all the columns. Test each led using the same setup as you used when testing the individual layers. Now solder all the LEDs around the edge of the cube. This will ensure that the layers are soldered perfectly parallel to each other.

All the pins are bent and ready to receive the next layer. Rinse and repeat! It is A LOT better to figure this out at this point. Now it's time to use it.

For the next 6 layers. Probably closer to Since the ground layers have been connected by the test tabs. In order to avoid total disaster. Start by placing a 9V battery in each corner. We taped over the battery terminals to avoid any disasters! We taped over the battery poles to avoid accidentally ruining the LEDs we were soldering. The center of the cube is virtually impossible to get to with a soldering iron.

Remember that tab sticking out from the upper right corner of the layer. We had plenty of 9V batteries lying around. Make sure everything is aligned perfectly. If the LEDs below it does not light up. You may want to put the first layer back in the template to give it some stability. Look at the cube from above. Take a piece of wire and solder the tab of the bottom layer to the tab of the layer you just soldered in place.

We added these 4x4x4 images to help illustrate the process. Of course. Then we drilled 8 smaller holes for the 8 cathode wires running up to the 8 cathode layers. To transform the template into a base.

Drill all the way through. This is mounted on the underside of the board to hold the wires in place. Staining the wood black with a magic marker worked surprisingly well! I think the one we used had a 10mm point.

We didn't have any black paint lying around. We encourage you to make something cooler than we did for your LED cube! For the template. Almost exactly 25m! It's like threading a needle. This is more than enough to hold the cube in place. Make a bend approximately 10mm from the end. Use a pen or something to poke at the LED legs that miss their holes.

This is what we used to "paint" the base. Rinse and repeat 7 more times. Layer 1 through 7 are a little trickier. Poke the wire through the hole and let the wire rest on the back wire of the layer you are connecting. Now solder it in place. No need for glue or anything else. We found it easiest to start with one end.

Carefully turn the cube on it's side and bend the 8 ground wires 90 degrees. Make some straight wire using the method explained in a previous step. Poke it through the hole for ground layer 0. Leave 10mm poking through the underside of the base. Clamp the helping hand onto the wire. You have to align 64 LED legs to slide through 64 holes at the same time. All the wires are bent 90 degrees.

Take a straight piece of wire and bend it 90 degrees 10mm from the end. Then cut it to length so that 10mm of wire will poke out through the underside of the base. Remember those 8 small holes you drilled in a previous step? We are going to use them now.

Once all 64 LED legs are poking through the base. Then bend all 64 legs 90 degrees. Position it so that the bend you made rests on the back wire of ground layer 0. This is enough to hold the cube firmly mounted to the base.

We start with ground for layer 0. We used a helping hand to hold the wire in place while soldering. That sounds very easy. Take a short piece of straight wire.

Didn't have any rubber feet that were high enough. But you need to connect the ground layers too. Our 8 wire ribbon cable didn't have a red wire. At the controller side. Ground wire for layer 0 2. Layer 1 2. The cathodes are connected with 4 wire ribbon cables. The ground layers use an 8-wire ribbon cable. Layer 3 4. The metal inserts are supposed to be crimped on with a tool.

Layer 0 Step The header connector is a modular connector that comes in two parts. Layer 0 3. Ground for layer 1 3. The red stripe on the first wire indicates that this is bit 0. Layer 2 3. See pictures below. We also added a little solder to make sure the wires didn't fall of with use.

We didn't have the appropriate tool on hand. Pre-tin the cables before soldering! These plug into standard 0. We used ribbon cable to make things a little easier. Each of these ribbon cables are split in two at either end.

Just flip the connector degrees if your cube is upside-down. Ground for layer 2 Image Notes 1. The cube will last a lot longer with this strain relief. The connections are a bit flimsy. No room for resistors and connectors. A ribbon cable transfers data lines between the two boards. You may not have the exact same circuit boards as we do.

Try to place all the components on your circuit board to see which layout best fits your circuit board. Choosing two separate boards was a good decision. This is better. Way to little space in between the ICs.

It soon became clear that cramming all the components onto one board wasn't a good solution. Instead we decided to separate the latch array and power supply part of the circuit and place it on a separate board.

There wouldn't have been much space for the micro controller and other parts. The latch array took up almost all the space of the circuit board. We want to be able to control the LED cube from a computer.

As you can see all of these RS baud rates can be cleanly divided by our clock rate. If the timing is off.

Serial communication requires precise timing. We won't be running any error correcting algorithms on the serial communications. You may be thinking that this is an odd number to use. Serial communication will be error free! To get flawless serial communication. This is the frequency of the system clock http: Probing the crystal Step Before you continue. It was a bit hard to have the camera in the way when we were soldering.

This is what the clock signal from a crystal looks like Image Notes 1. You can see in the video how we do it. I got an oscilloscope for Christmas: D we used it to visualize some of the signals in the LED cube. Once you master this technique. We had to touch some of the points twice to join them. Large capacitors can supply larger currents for longer periods of time. Resistance in the wires leading to the power supply. This works as our main power buffer.

The uF capacitor probably isn't necessary. By adding capacitors. Power supply Image Notes 1. Why so many capacitors?

The LED cube is going to be switching about mA on and off several hundred times per second. No wires. Even with the heat sink that you see in the picture.

Let's start with the easiest part. Many things contribute to this. To get 5 volts output from 14 volts input means that the LM has to drop 9 volts. When the mA load is switched on. It wasn't able to supply the necessary current to run the cube at full brightness. The moment the mA load is switched on. The LM was later removed. The LM isn't a very sophisticated voltage regulator. Bottom side of power supply. Power terminal and filtering capacitors The cube is complete. After that. We placed a uF capacitor just after the main power switch.

Way to hot to touch! The excess energy is dispersed as heat. But as you may already know. Ours outputted something like 14 volts. It is common practice to have a large capacitor at the input pin of an LM and a smaller capacitor at it's output pin. We used this with a 12V wall wart. Instead we used an external 5V power source. We squeezed it as tight as possible. Our main design consideration here was to minimize soldering and wiring. Resistor soldered to connector http: This was removed later.

Resistor soldered to IC 3. If we remember correctly. Do not get that one! The outputs of the latches are arranged in order Note that the input side of the latch IC sockets haven't been soldered yet in this picture.

In the second picture. In the first picture. Don't worry. On the output-side. We opted to place the connectors as close to the ICs as possible. A layer in the led cube is switched on. Input side not soldered yet. The resulting rise in current draw makes VCC fluctuate a little Step IC sockets. Power rails and IC power Remember that protoboard soldering trick we showed you in a previous step? We told you it would come in handy. Because it is so thin. Look how easy it is to see what is signal wires and what is power distribution!

Below each row of resistors. If we had used thicker wire. In the first picture you can see some solder traces in place. The two horizontal traces is the "main power bus". For every latch IC 74HC Connect the ICs. No need for pre-tinning.

Next to that. When the current on the output pins are switched on and off. Very tiny. Debugging a circuit with noise issues can be very frustrating. We tend to follow that principle. In the bottom right corner. At the top of the board.

This is a 30 or 32 AWG american wire gauge wire.

We used different colors for different functions to better visualize how the circuit is built. We solder them as continuous solder lines. This connects the latch board to the micro controller board. This is unlikely. From the connector at the top. We read somewhere that it is common engineering practice to place a nF capacitor next to every IC. Large circuit boards like this one.

Kynar wire is coated with tin. This is the 8 bit data bus. These are noise reduction capacitors. We went a little overboard when making straight wire for the cube.

We love working with this type of wire. We also added a capacitor on the far end of the main power bus. The tiny blue wires are connected to the same pin on every latch IC. The nF capacitors make sure that there is some current available right next to the IC in case there is a sudden drop in voltage. The orange wire connected to the bus is the output enable OE line. The tiny blue wires are Kynar wire. We used that for the VCC line that runs under the resistors.

On the right hand side of the connector. These will be used for a button and debug LED later. PORTA is connected to the data bus on the latch array. A group of 8 GPIO 8 bits. If you look carefully at the connector. Then connect the address lines and the 8 clock lines. We call this an address selector because it selects which one of the 8 bytes in the latch array we want to write data to.

The three blue wires running from the connector to the 74HC is the 3 bit binary input used to select which of the 8 outputs is pulled low. From each of the outputs on the 74HC AVR board Braaaaainzz!!! This board is the brain of the LED cube. In the first image. Just to the left of the ATmega. We use these ports to drive the data bus of the latch array and layer select transistor array.

The ATmega32 has 4 ports. At this time. The large 16 pin connector directly above the ATmega connects to the latch array board via a ribbon cable. Next to it. The blue wires are the address select lines for the 74HC and output enable OE for the latch array. We had some more left over straight metal wire. It has GND. Each capacitor is connected to a pin on the crystal and GND. On either side of the ATmega there is a nF filtering capacitor. One 10uF and one nF. The pinout on this corresponds to the pinout on the other board.

In the top left corner. When this is in place. This could possibly blow the programmer and even the USB port the programmer is connected to! The second image shows the underside. In circuit serial programming header. The smaller 10 pin connector to the left. This is the only option available to us using the parts we had on hand.

It was our only solution that didn't involve waiting for new parts to arrive in the mail. This transistor was rated at mA current. We ended up trying PNA. If you know what you are doing. They even had valid theories and stuff. The LED cube worked. Our first attempt at this was an epic fail. This type of resistor is called a resistor network.

But the cube was still very dim. The base of each transistors was connected to it's own resistor. Signal goes to two transistors. But our solution is tried and tested and also does the trick! We soldered in all the transistors and turned the thing on again. For each layer. The first thing we did was to add pull-up resistors to try to combat the ghosting.

We bought some transistors rated for over mA. Two and two resistors work together. Connect this solder trace to GND. This removed almost all the ghosting. NPN general purpose amplifier.

It just has a bunch of resistors connected to a common pin. This point was connected to VCC after this picture was taken. The emitters connected together. We don't remember the model number. The general response was. We posted a thread in the electronics section of the AVRFreaks. Layers didn't switch completely off when they were supposed to be off. Pull up resistors. The collectors connected together to GND. Needless to say. Choose the resistors that make the LED light up with the brightness you want.

A logic 0 indicates that a button has been pressed. If you use LEDs with different colors. When the button is pressed. Start the cube in rsmode http: We added one awesome looking button with two built in LEDs. We will leave it up to you to decide the placement of your status LEDs. The resistor is there to limit the current. To find the appropriate resistor. Start the cube in autonomous mode Image Notes 1. An internal pull-up resistor inside the ATmega is used to pull the pin high when the button is not pressed.

Different color LEDs usually require different resistors to reach the same level of brightness. The first button is mounted on the latch array PCB.

The wires are routed through the ribbon cable. Power on Step RS To get the truly amazing animations. RS connector http: The wires going to the 4 pin header are crossed because the first serial cable we used had this pinout. To convert the serial signals from the micro controller to something the RS port on a PC can understand. Reset 2. There are some nF ceramic capacitors surrounding the MAX The RS connector is at a 90 degree angle for easy access when the latch array board is mounted on top of the AVR board.

This removes any confusion as to which way to plug in the RS cable. The computer talks serial using RS Grathio License: Turn signal biking jacket Author: Tree Climbing Robot Author: Technochicken License: Rave Rover.. Plantduino Greenhouse Author: Bubblesteen Bubble Machine Author: Author and Copyright Notices Instructable: LED Cube 8x8x8 Author: Power Laces.

Photo booth Author: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike by-nc-sa http: Mobile Dance Stage Author: Type Case. Martin Bircher License: Sigh Collector Author: Twitter Mood Light..

Some illustrative photos do not depict safety precautions or equipment. Many projects on Instructables are user-submitted. Use of the instructions and suggestions is at your own risk. The projects are not intended for use by children. Some of the resources used for these projects are dangerous unless used properly and with adequate precautions.

It is your responsibility to make sure that your activities comply with all applicable laws. Disclaimer All do-it-yourself activities involve risk. But please read the Instructable. With that said. A video is worth a thousand words. LED Cube 8x8x8 by chr on November The software aspect of LED cubes is often overlooked. You'll still learn a lot! How to solder. I'll just leave it up to this video to convince you that this is the next project you will be building: I made this LED cube together with my friend chiller.

This completely changed my relationship with electronics. D Intro: We believe this Instructable is the most comprehensive step-by-step guide to build an 8x8x8 LED Cube ever published on the intertubes.

About 4 years ago. I went from only being able to build simple analog circuits. The remaining steps will show you how to create the software.

Skills required At first glance this project might seem like an overly complex and daunting task. The software is probably another days of work combined. One resistor or capacitor with a slightly wrong value. We would recommend against building this as your very first electronics project. A digital circuit doesn't care if a resistor is 1k ohm or 2k ohm. About halfway through the Instructable.

The build took about 4 days from small scale prototyping to completed cube. We will take you through the software step by step. The analog circuits failed over half the time even if i followed instructions. Writing code in C optional.

Course Description

We provide a fully functional program. You should have an understanding of: Basic electronics. I decided to give microcontrollers a try. I've been doing electronics for a long time. It will teach you everything from theory of operation. Then another couple of hours to debug some faulty transistors. And believe me. How to use a multimeter etc. The type with copper "eyes". See attached price list. You choose color and size. Step 2: Component list Here is what you need to make a LED cube: Image Notes 1.

This is not ohms. Lots and lots of LEDs! Make sure to get this type of prototyping PCB. Don't look at the color codes. Very tiny wire. Kynar wrapping wire. Perfect for working on prototyping PCBs. See attached excel file for full list. Fan to blow away those soldering fumes. File Downloads http: Lots of ICs Image Notes 1. When saving. Mouser or other big electronics stores. Ordering components We see a lot of people asking for part numbers for DigiKey.

If you buy these types of assortments. Try doing som eBay searches and buy some components for future projects! Another one of our favorite stores is Futurlec http: Most of the time.

This is the type of prototype PCB we used. When you're working with hobby electronics. Great value. You can get assortments of resistor.

We ordered diffused leds and got clear ones: We are big fans of buying really cheap component lots on eBay. They have everything you need. The thing they don't have is different versions of that thing that you need. But beware! The descriptions aren't always that great. For 17 USD you can get resistors of 50 different values.

You would need a micro controller with IO ports. A LED cube does not have to be symetrical. Think of it as many transparent low resolution displays. This is the reason LED cubes are only made in low resolution. This is also called multiplexing. The spacing is a trade-off between how easy the layers behind it is seen. Step 5: In normal displays it is normal to try to stack the pixels as close as possible in order to make it look better.

In the video. By flashing each layer of the cube one after another really really fast. With this setup. If you flash a led really fast. We start by flashing the bottom layer. Layer 0. Each of the 64 columns are connected to the controller board with a separate wire.

The layers will be referred to as layers. In order to light up an LED. The cathode legs of every LED in a layer are soldered together. The columns will be referred to as columns.. Then turn on the transistor for the next layer. Robots may be able to see past the illusion. All the anode legs in one column are soldered together. To display the next layer. And so on. One positive the anode and one negative cathode. 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.

The transistors for the other layers are off. Then the second. Step 6: The anatomy of a LED cube We are going to be talking about anodes. Rinse and repeat very very fast. By only turning on the transistor for one layer. Do this fast enough. The LED cube is made up of columns and layers. If i remember correctly the actual flow of electrons is the other way around.

Each column can be controlled individually. But let's stick to the flow of current which is from positive to negative for now. An LED has two legs. Each of the 8 layers also have a separate wire going to the controller board.

This table shows the current draw with all LEDs on. See table 2 for an overview of power requirements for a LED layer of different sizes. You also need 8 IO ports to drive the cathodes. A 64x64 image is flashed first on layer 0 3. One to source all the LED anode columns. For a larger cube however.

For a small LED cube. You can see a list of IO pin requirement for different cube sizes in table 1. Then another image is flashed on layer 1 4.

Keep in mind that the number of IO ports will increase exponentially. Was easier to see when I didn't draw all 64 lines Step 7: Wash rinse repeat Image Notes 1. So will the number of LEDs. If you are planning to build a larger cube than 8x8x8 or running each LED at more than ish mA. For the anode side of the cube.

Load the data of the third latch onto the bus. No AVR micro controller with a DIP package the kind of through hole chip you can easily solder or use in a breadboard.

This multiplexer uses an 8 bit latch IC called 74HC The following pseudo-code will load the contents of a buffer array onto the latch array: We will call them latches from here on. Load the data of the second latch onto the bus. The only problem with this setup is that we need 8 IO lines to control the CP line for each latch. Each out the outputs on the 74HC is connected to the CP pin on one of the latches. To get get the required 64 output lines needed for the LED anodes.

The latch pin CP on the latch is a rising edge trigger. Load the data of the first latch onto the bus. The latch can hold 8 bits of information. This IC has 3 input lines and 8 outputs. Dual Inline Package have that many IO lines available. Step 8: IO port expansion. That means that the output that is active is pulled LOW. To trigger the right latch. So when port B outputs 8 or in binary. When the CP pin changes from low to high. The inputs D of all the latches are connected together in an 8 bit bus.

The 74HC now outputs the following sequence: The input lines are used to control which of the 8 output lines that will be pulled low at any time. The multiplexer is built by using a component called a latch or a flip-flop. Consider a latch with an LED connected to output Q0. The solution is to use a 74HC This chip has the following pins: The rest will be high. Rinse and repeat.

If it had been an active HIGH chip. You are probably thinking. To turn this LED on. This circuit will multiplex 11 IO lines into 64 output lines. This uses a lot of CPU cycles. We simply connect the data input of each shift register to each of the 8 bits on a port on the micro controller. In this setup each byte will be distributed over all 8 shift registers.

Q5 into Q6. Q4 into Q5 and so on. Everything is shifted one position to the right assuming that Q0 is to the left. We went with the latch based multiplexer because we had 8 latches available when building the LED cube.

This chip has two inputs may also have an output enable pin. All the clock inputs are connected together and connected to a pin on another IO port. The state of the data input line is shifted into Q0. This setup will use 9 IO lines on the micro controller.

The way you would normally load data into a chip like this. For the purposes of this instructable. Feel free to use this solution instead if you understand how they both work. You can also use a serial-in-parallel out shift register to get 64 output lines. Wire up your cube accordingly. In the previous solution. The following pseudo-code will transfer the contents of a 64 bit buffer array to the shift registers.

We later removed this chip. In addition to that. Power supply considerations This step is easy to overlook. To calculate the current draw of your LEDs. Multiply this number by Our first attempt at a power supply was to use a step-down voltage regulator. Cube drawing almost half an amp at 5 volts. We now use a regulated computer power supply to get a stable high current 5V supply.

But remember that this circuit will draw 64 times the mA of your LEDs if they are all on.

At over mA and 12V input. About 15 bucks will get you a nice PSU. We have 12V output. This is what we have been using to power the LED cube.

I'm sure you can find another instructable on how to do that. Power supplies have a lot of wires. Used a Molex connector so we could disconnect the cube easily. Old SCSI disk 2. They already have a convenient enclosure. We won't get into any more details of how to make a power supply here. This will power it up. Inside here is a small powersupply that used to supply the SCSI hard drive that was inside. If you want to use an ATX power supply. We use the second 5V output to power an 80mm PC fan to suck or blow fumes away when we solder.

Build a power supply A couple of years before we built the LED cube. PC power supplies are nice. The only thing you have to do is to add external power terminals. That is the kind of plug you find on hard drives before the age of S-ATA. External hard drive enclosures are especially nice to use as power supplies.

To compensate for this. Shipping them back to China to receive a replacement would have taken too much time. A diffused LED will be more or less equally bright from all sides. We went with 3mm LEDs because we wanted the cube to be as "transparent" as possible.

Our recommendation is to use 3mm diffused LEDs. But keep in mind that the quality of the product may be reflected in it's price. We actually ordered diffused LEDs from eBay. With 3mm round LEDs. If your cube is made up of clear LEDs. The cube design in this instructable uses the legs of the LEDs themselves as the skeleton for the cube. Clear LEDs also create another problem. This creates some unwanted ghosting effects. These are the ones we ended up using http: Therefore we strongly recommend using diffused LEDs.

So many choices. Maybe we should have taken the hint. Defusing is something you do to a bomb when you want to prevent it from blowing up. It works fine. You will find this line: If all the LEDs on one anode column are on. GOOD This is what we expected to receive. The only transistors we had available had a maximum rating of mA. This gives you 6. While you are waiting for your LED cube parts to arrive in the mail. In order not to exceed this.

We ended up using resistors of ohms. Diffused LED. If your LEDs draw 20mA each. BAD This is not what we ordered! Damn you ebay! Choose your resistors There are three things to consider when choosing the value of your resistors.

You have to keep within the specified maximum mA rating for the output pins. If you look in the data sheet. We could have made the cube smaller. Viva la resistance!! Choose the size of your cube We wanted to make the LED cube using as few components as possible.

By choosing a LED spacing of 25mm. Many of the metal rod designs also looked a little crooked. We figured that the easiest way to build a led cube would be to bend the legs of the LEDs so that the legs become the scaffolding that holds the LEDs in place.

Our recommendation is to use the maximum spacing that your LED can allow. Add 1mm margin for soldering. Seeing all the way through to the furthest layer wouldn't be a problem. We had seen some people using metal rods for their designs. Then we remembered an episode of "How it's made" from the Discovery Channel. We remembered that the wire was totally straight and symmetrical after being pulled like that.

We recommend that you do the same thing. Here is how you do it. You only need to stretch it a couple of millimeters to make it nice and straight. So we figured we should give pulling a try.

Before we built the 8x8x8 LED cube. We tried to bend it into a straight wire.

Our first attempt at this failed horribly. They start out with a spool of really thick wire. The episode was about how they make steel wire. Get a firm grip of each end of the wire with two pairs of pliers Pull hard!

You will feel the wire stretch a little bit. If you have a vice. By making the 4x4x4 version first. Remove the insulation. The only wire we had was on spools. Practice in small scale Whenever Myth Busters are testing a complex myth. Check out our 4x4x4 LED cube instructable for instructions on building a smaller "prototype".

This would probably be a lot easier. If the hole is too snug. Everything but the kitchen sink? We sort of used the kitchen sink to hold the jig in place. We used this LED to test all the holes. These indentions will prevent the drill from sliding sideways when you start drilling.

All done. If the holes are too big. You don't want it to be to tight. A steel wire will be soldered in here in every layer to give the cube some extra stiffening. If you make a small indentation before drilling. That means wiping it on the sponge every time you use it. A big blob of solder will not make the solder joint any stronger.

Even if you are in the middle of soldering. We found a couple of dead LEDs and some that were dimmer than the rest. Soldering iron hygiene First of all. Touch the part you want to solder with the side of your iron where you just put a little solder. This might be less of a problem if you are using LEDs that are more expensive. Are we paranoid? When building the 8x8x8 LED Cube. Do not try again right away.

We tested some of the LED before we started soldering. This gives you a lot more control. Get out your breadboard. Some of the LEDs didn't work after being soldered in place. If your solder is very old and the flux isn't cleaning the target properly. Having a clean soldering tip makes it A LOT easier to transfer heat to the soldering target.

Remove the soldering iron immediately after applying the solder. Soldering speed When soldering so close to the LED body. The tip of your soldering iron should be clean and shiny. You might also want to have another LED with its own resistor permanently on the breadboard while testing.

Don't use solder without flux. Apply a tiny amount of solder to the tip. Only the solder that is touching the metal of both wires will make a difference. So we decided to test every LED before using it. Continue with the next LED and let it cool down for a minute. Solder We recommend using a thin solder for soldering the LEDs. Wipe your iron clean.

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This means that you have to take some precautions in order to avoid broken LEDs. We considered these things before making a single solder joint. Whenever the you see the tip becoming dirty with flux or oxidizing. This makes it easier to spot differences in brightness. At this point the LED is already very hot. We used a 0. The first and second layer from the outside can be fixed afterwards. LEDs don't like heat.

The last thing you want is a broken LED near the center of the cube when it is finished.

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If the tip of your soldering iron looks like this. We also tested every LED after we finished soldering a layer. You only need to apply a little bit. We haven't experienced this. This little gadget is great for cleaning your soldering iron Step Even with careful soldering. Mistakes and cool down If you make a mistake. Let the target heat up for 0. Solder all the joints. On the image page. Depending on the size of your holes. That way your hand can rest on the wooden template when you solder.

Just mentioning here so you don't remove the layer just yet. All our close up pictures are taken with a mini tripod and should have excellent macro focus. We used one bracing near the bottom and one near the middle.

Repeat until you reach the bottom. Fine tune the alignment and solder the other end in place. If it is still stuck. Simply grabbing both ends of the layer and pulling would probably break the whole thing if a couple of the LEDs are stuck. Repeat 8 times! Note on images: If you are having trouble seeing the detail in any of our pictures. Multimeter connected in series to measure mA.

On the column to the right this leg will stick out of the side of the layer. Take a straight peace of wire. Start by lifting every single LED a couple of millimeters. Just enough to feel that there isn't any resistance. When all the LEDs are freed from their holes.

At this point the whole thing is very flimsy. You will need a steady hand when soldering freehand like this. Looking at the LED sitting in a hole in the template with the notch to the right. Make sure the legs are bent in the same direction on all the LEDs. Do this for both braces. Rinse and repeat until you reach the left LED.

Start by placing the LED second from the top. Then place the one to the left. We leave this in place and use it to connect ground when testing all the LEDs in a later step.

At the top of each layer each LED is rotated 90 degrees clockwise. And then the rest.. About 1mm overlap. Start with this row 2. Look how nicely they line up. It is convenient to connect ground to it when testing the LEDs. LED ready to be soldered. Then do this column 3. Don't remove the leg that sticks out to the side.

We marked off where we wanted to have the midway bracing. Almost done. Brace Image Notes 1. We strongly recommend that you test all LEDs before proceeding. If everything checks out. Connect ground to the tab you left sticking out at the upper right corner. Ground connected to the layer 2. Connect a wire to 5V through a resistor. If a LED doesn't flash when you tap it. Take the wire and tap it against all 64 anode legs that are sticking up from your template.

Pin straightening paid off. This isn't going to be a very nice LED cube! You now have a perfect layer that is ready to be removed from the template. If you look at the LEDs in your template from the side. While looking at the template from the side.

This is better Image Notes 1. We use a 4x4x4 cube here to demonstrate. You want all the legs to point straight up. Then rotate the template 90 degrees. Make a bend in the anode leg towards the cathode leg approximately 3mm from the end of the leg. To make a solder joint. This is enough for the leg to bend around the LED below and make contact with it's anode leg. In order to avoid total disaster.

All the pins are bent and ready to receive the next layer. We taped over the battery poles to avoid accidentally ruining the LEDs we were soldering. Now solder all the LEDs around the edge of the cube. Start by placing a 9V battery in each corner.

Since the ground layers have been connected by the test tabs. The first two layers can be quite flimsy before they are soldered together.

Now move a 9V battery to the middle of the cube. You may want to put the first layer back in the template to give it some stability.

Look at the cube from above. Rinse and repeat! Make sure everything is aligned perfectly. We had plenty of 9V batteries lying around. Now it's time to use it.

Probably closer to Solder a couple of the LEDs in the middle. Just slide it in from one of the sides. Remember that tab sticking out from the upper right corner of the layer.

When you have soldered all the columns. Take a piece of wire and solder the tab of the bottom layer to the tab of the layer you just soldered in place. The whole thing should be pretty stable at this point. For the next 6 layers. Test each led using the same setup as you used when testing the individual layers.

The center of the cube is virtually impossible to get to with a soldering iron. Fan to blow the fumes away from my face. Connect ground to the the ground tab. This will ensure that the layers are soldered perfectly parallel to each other.

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It is A LOT better to figure this out at this point. If the LEDs below it does not light up. We taped over the battery terminals to avoid any disasters! We added these 4x4x4 images to help illustrate the process.

This is mounted on the underside of the board to hold the wires in place. Of course. We encourage you to make something cooler than we did for your LED cube! For the template. We didn't have any black paint lying around. Almost exactly 25m! Drill all the way through.

To transform the template into a base. Then we drilled 8 smaller holes for the 8 cathode wires running up to the 8 cathode layers. Staining the wood black with a magic marker worked surprisingly well! I think the one we used had a 10mm point. We found it easiest to start with one end. Poke it through the hole for ground layer 0. Now solder it in place. Use a pen or something to poke at the LED legs that miss their holes. This is enough to hold the cube firmly mounted to the base.

All the wires are bent 90 degrees. Leave 10mm poking through the underside of the base. Once all 64 LED legs are poking through the base. Poke the wire through the hole and let the wire rest on the back wire of the layer you are connecting.

Then cut it to length so that 10mm of wire will poke out through the underside of the base. Carefully turn the cube on it's side and bend the 8 ground wires 90 degrees. Take a straight piece of wire and bend it 90 degrees 10mm from the end. Then bend all 64 legs 90 degrees. Didn't have any rubber feet that were high enough. Make a bend approximately 10mm from the end.

Make some straight wire using the method explained in a previous step. But you need to connect the ground layers too. We used a helping hand to hold the wire in place while soldering. Position it so that the bend you made rests on the back wire of ground layer 0.

Clamp the helping hand onto the wire. Rinse and repeat 7 more times. This is more than enough to hold the cube in place. No need for glue or anything else. Remember those 8 small holes you drilled in a previous step? We are going to use them now. It's like threading a needle. Take a short piece of straight wire. This is what we used to "paint" the base. That sounds very easy. You have to align 64 LED legs to slide through 64 holes at the same time. Layer 1 through 7 are a little trickier.

We start with ground for layer 0. Layer 3 4.

The red stripe on the first wire indicates that this is bit 0. Layer 1 2. We didn't have the appropriate tool on hand. These plug into standard 0. The ground layers use an 8-wire ribbon cable. Ground wire for layer 0 2. The metal inserts are supposed to be crimped on with a tool. We used ribbon cable to make things a little easier.

See pictures below. Ground for layer 2 Image Notes 1. Just flip the connector degrees if your cube is upside-down. Layer 0 3. The header connector is a modular connector that comes in two parts.

Ground for layer 1 3. At the controller side. Pre-tin the cables before soldering! Layer 0 Step We also added a little solder to make sure the wires didn't fall of with use.

Layer 2 3. Each of these ribbon cables are split in two at either end. The cathodes are connected with 4 wire ribbon cables. Our 8 wire ribbon cable didn't have a red wire.We use the second 5V output to power an 80mm PC fan to suck or blow fumes away when we solder. Writing code in C optional.

Diffused LED. Build the cube: If you look at the LEDs in your template from the side. About halfway through the Instructable, you will actually have a fully functional LED cube. Cube size and IO port requirements. We tested some of the LED before we started soldering, and randomly stumbled on a LED that was a lot dimmer than the rest. Check out our 4x4x4 LED cube instructable for instructions on building a smaller "prototype".

REGENIA from Kentucky
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