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Hobby Components 8x8x8 Cube Kit (HCKITS0050) 
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Post Hobby Components 8x8x8 Cube Kit (HCKITS0050)
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LED light cubes are a hugely popular and fun project. With this kit (HCKITS0050) you will have all the parts to build your very own. The kit includes all the components necessary to build the driver base board and a whopping 512 3mm diffused blue LEDs to build an 8 x 8 x 8 cube measuring approximately 17cm square. The kit has been deliberately designed to only use through hole components to make it as easy as possible for people who don't have much soldering experience (we do still recommend a little experience with soldering).

When completed simply plug in a power supply and the cube will spring into life displaying cool patterns in 3D - no computer is required! What's more, your completed cube is actually an Arduino compatible in disguise. It has an ATMega328 device with the Arduino bootloader pre-programmed into it. Just connect a standard programming cable and download our 8x8x8 Cube library (link below) and you can reprogram your cube with your own patterns directly from the Arduino development environment.

Please note: To construct this kit you will need a soldering iron, solder and some tools such as a pair of snips, and long nose pliers.

Please see posts 2 and 3 for a guide on how to build your LED cube kit.




Item number: HCKITS0050
Number of LEDs: 512
PCB size: 185mm x 185mm
Approx cube size (W x L x H): 170mm x 175mm x 185mm
Supply voltage (via DC input): 7.5 - 9V DC
Supply voltage (via Vcc pin): 5 - 5.5V DC
Supply current (all LEDs on): ~630mA


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The HC8x8x8Cube library can be downloaded from the software section of this forum here:

http://forum.hobbycomponents.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=1968



FAQ:

How to I reprogram the cube?

To reprogram the cube you will need to have a copy of, and be familiar with the Arduino IDE which is available for free download via arduino.cc. Connect the cube to your computer via the supplied serial cable as follows:

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An Arduino library and example sketches are available for download via the software section of this forum here: http://forum.hobbycomponents.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=1968

When programming the cube via the Arduino IDE select "Arduino Nano" as the board type. If using the supplied serial cable you will also need to manually reset the cube when the sketch is uploaded. To do this reset the cube via its reset button as soon as the Arduino IDE finishes compiling your sketch and reports that it is "Uploading" it to the cube.

WINDOWS 8/VISTA/10 USERS:

The latest Prolific of the drivers for the supplied cable breaks compatibility with newer version of windows. If you have problems getting the driver to work please see the forum post for this cable for a solution.

viewtopic.php?f=79&t=1815


What is the purpose of the line in jack socket?

Currently this interface has no purpose which is why we don't currently advertise it as a feature. The line input would allow you to feed an analogue audio signal into analogue pin A5 of the microcontroller. This can be read using the built-in Arduino analogRead(A5) function should you wish to write your own sketches for it. If you don't plan to reprogram your cube with your own sketches then you do not have to fit the line-in components.


What is the purpose of the 10 pin auxiliary header?

The 10 pin auxiliary header is just a header with all the spare unused IO pins from the ATMega328. They are just brought out to the header simply to make these pins easy to access should you wish to re-program the cube and want to interface to external hardware. If you don't plan to reprogram your cube with your own sketches then you do not have to fit the auxiliary header.


Should me kit have come with a DC power cable and if not how do I power it?

The kit doesn't come with a DC cable however it does come with a USB programming lead. You can use this cable to power your cube via a USB port on a computer or a standard 5V USB charger adapter with at least 500mA supply capability. See the image above for details of how to connect the cable. If you just wish to power the cube you only need to connect the +5V and GND wires.


I want to power the cube via the DC socket, what type of adapter to I need?

If you want to power the cube via the DC socket you'll need a DC adapter that can supply between 7.5 and 9V with a current capacity of at least 500mA. The adapter will need to have a 2.1mm DC plug supplying the +Ve to the center pin.



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Wed Mar 16, 2016 10:14 am
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Posts: 647
Post Re: Hobby Components 8x8x8 Cube Kit (HCKITS0050)
BUILDING YOUR LED CUBE KIT PART 1 - PCB

Required Tools:
Soldering iron.
Solder.
A pair of snips for trimming component legs.
A pair of small long nose pliers for bending legs of the 3mm LEDs that make up the cube.

Recommended Tools:
A magnifying glass to help with soldering components.
A piece of perspex or plywood measuring about 185 x 185 mm which will be used as a jig for soldering the LED's that make up the cube.
3mm drill bit and drill.


Soldering tip: When soldering components to a circuit board it is always best to start with the smallest components first. This helps keep the board flat and stops access to pads from being restricted by larger components. The first step is to start by soldering the small components such as the resistors, capacitors, and diode. When soldering the components with multiple pins, such as ICs, it is recommended to solder the two opposite corner pins first. You can then check that the component is flat and if not just heat one of the soldered pads and gently push the component against the PCB to make it flat. Once you've determined that the component is flat against the PCB the other pads can be soldered.


Important notes:

For some components the orientation of the component is important. These components will be highlighted in the build guide.

When constructing the PCB, with the exception of the cube socket pins, all components should be fitted to the underside (white side) of the PCB.



Building your PCB


RESISTORS

All resistors in the kit are coloured light blue and will have a series of five coloured bands. The band colours signify the value of the resistor. When fitting these resistors the orientation of the resistor is not important.


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Solder the four 100 Ohm resistors (Brown, Black, Black, Black, Brown) to footprints R2, R3, R4, & R5.

Solder the four 1K Ohm resistors (Brown, Black, Black, Brown, Brown) to footprints R8, R9, R10, & R11.

Solder the one 10K Ohm resistor (Brown, Black, Black, Red, Brown) to footprint R1.

For optional line input:

Solder the 1.5K resistor (Brown, Green, Black, Brown, Brown) to footprint R7.

Solder the 15K resistor (Brown, Green, Back, Red, Brown) to footprint R6.

Use a pair of snips to trim any excess component legs protruding from the opposite side of the PCB.



CAPACITORS - CERAMIC

All the ceramic capacitors in this kit are a small light brown coloured disc shape. A number on the side of the capacitor can be used to determine its value. When fitting these capacitors the orientation is not important.

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Solder the two 22pF (usually marked with the number 22) capacitors to footprints C13 & C14.

Solder the nine 100nF (usually marked with the number 104) capacitors to footprints C1, C2, C3, C4, C6, C8, C10, C11, & C12.

For optional line input:

Solder the 10nF capacitor to footprint C15.

Use a pair of snips to trim any excess component legs protruding from the opposite side of the PCB.



16MHZ CRYSTAL

The crystal is an oval silver metal can with the number 16.000 engraved on the top. When fitting the crystal the orientation is not important.

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Solder the crystal to footprint X1 and use a pair of snips to trim any excess component legs protruding from the opposite side of the PCB.



Diode

The diode is a small black cylindrical component with a silver band at one end. The band denotes the negative end (cathode) of the component. When placing the diode make sure that the silver band faces the bottom of the PCB as shown in the image below.


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Solder the diode to footprint D5 and use a pair of snips to trim any excess component legs protruding from the opposite side of the PCB.


IC SOCKETS

IC sockets are holders that the IC's will be inserted into. There are a total of seven IC sockets to be soldered in this kit. When installing the sockets there is a small notch at one end. Each socket should be orientated so that this notch is on the same end as the back silkscreen tab on the footprint.

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Solder the 16 pin IC socket to footprint U1.

Solder the 18 pin IC socket to footprint U3.

Solder the 24 pin IC sockets to footprints U5, U6, U7, & U8.

Solder the 28 pin IC socket to footprint U2.



PUSH SWITCHES

There are two small push buttons in the kit which are used as reset and mode select buttons. They are small square silver and black components with four legs. The orientation of these switches is important. Position both switches so that the orientation of the legs matches the diagram below.

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Solder the push switches to footprints SW1 & SW2.


REGULATOR

Before fitting the regulator its pins need to be bent so that the regulator sits flat to the PCB. Do this by bending the pins about half way down using a pair of long nose pliers so that when the regulator is inserted into the PCB the metal tab at the top of the regulator lays flat against the heatsink pad.

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Solder the regulator to footprint U4 and use a pair of snips to trim any excess component legs protruding from the opposite side of the PCB. You can also optionally solder the tab of the regulator to the large square pad beneath it.



HEADER PINS

There are three headers in the cube kit, a 5 pin right angled header for the serial interface, 2 x 3 pin straight headers that make up the 6 pin ICSP header and an optional 10 pin straight header for the auxiliary interface. For the ICSP and auxiliary headers these may be provided in the kit as one continuous strip of pins. You simply snap this strip into appropriate lengths using a pair of long nose pliers.

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Solder the 5 pin right angled header to footprint P1.

Optionally solder the two 3 pin header pins to footprint P4.

Optionally solder the 10 pin header to footprint P2.



TRANSISTOR

The transistor is a small black 3 pin component and will have the number BS170 etched on the flat face. The orientation of this device is important. When placing the transistor make sure that the flat face is facing in the same direction as the footprint outline.

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Solder the transistor to footprint Q1 and use a pair of snips to trim any excess component legs protruding from the opposite side of the PCB.


POWER AND LINE CONNECTORS

The power and optional line-in connectors are black plastic 3 pin sockets and should be positioned so that the socket is facing the outside of the PCB.

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Solder the 3.1mm DC socket to the footprint labelled 'POWER'.

Solder the 3.5mm jack socket to the footprint labelled 'LINE IN'.



CAPACITORS - ELECTROLYTIC

The 100uF electrolytic capacitors are two legged cylindrical shaped components. These are black or dark blue with a silver stripe down one side. This stripe denotes the negative side of the component. Unlike the ceramic capacitors the orientation of these components is important. When placing the component the silver stripe on the capacitor should be on the black half of the footprint.

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Solder the three electrolytic capacitors to footprints C5, C7, C9 and use a pair of snips to trim any excess component legs protruding from the opposite side of the PCB.


LED CUBE SOCKETS

The LED cube sockets are provided in the kit as strips of 40 way plastic turned-pin sockets. They have round pins on one side and sockets on the other. The pins will be soldered into the PCB and the sockets are what the component legs at the base of the LED will be pushed into. Break these 40 way strips into single way pieces using the long nose pliers. When breaking them and soldering them into the PCB be careful not to bend the pins as they break easily. We have provided spare pins in the kit. You will need 72 pins in total. These single pins must be soldered to the BLACK side of the PCB (opposite side to the components). It is also important for these pins to be soldered flat to the PCB otherwise your LED cube will not sit evenly in the sockets.

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Solder the 72 cube sockets to the pads marked in the above image.


10MM LEDS

The four 10mm white LEDs will act as the legs of the cube. The orientation of these LEDs is important. You can identify the negative pin (cathode) as it is slightly shorter than the positive (anode) one. When placing the LED the shorter negative pin should be positioned to the flat edge on the PCB footprint.

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Solder the 10mm LEDs to footprints D1, D2, D3, & D4 and use a pair of snips to trim any excess component legs protruding from the opposite side of the PCB.



INSERT THE ICs

All the components that require soldering should now be soldered to the PCB. The final step is to insert the ICs into the IC sockets. The orientation of the ICs is important. At one end of each IC there will be either a notch or a small circle cut into the IC package. When inserting the ICs make sure they are orientated so that this end is at the same end as the black silkscreen tab on the footprint.

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Insert the 16 pin IC into the U1 socket.

Insert the 18 pin IC into the U3 socket.

Insert the 28 pin IC into the U2 socket.

Insert the four 24 pin ICs into sockets U5, U6, U7, & U8.


This completes the building of the PCB. You can now proceed to constructing the LED cube.

The contents of this guide are copyright Hobby Components Ltd and may not be copied, reproduced, or reused elsewhere without permission.


Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:07 am
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Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:02 pm
Posts: 647
Post Re: Hobby Components 8x8x8 Cube Kit (HCKITS0050)
BUILDING YOUR LED CUBE KIT PART 2 - THE CUBE

To build your LED cube you will need to solder the 512 LEDs supplied in your kit in to 8 sets of 8 x 8 grids. This will take a little time and so it is important that you understand how to construct these grids before starting.

Optional template:

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Whilst with a little care you can construct the grids by hand, it is recommend that you first construct yourself a jig/template as this will allow you to construct the grids quicker and with more accuracy. To do this you will need a piece of perspex, plywood, or any stiff material you can drill holes into measuring at least 185 x 185 mm. You will need to drill a set of 3mm holes arranged in an 8x8 grid. The center of each hole should measure 0.9 inches from each neighboring hole.

Step 1:

Note: When bending the legs of the LEDs be careful not to cause too much mechanical stress to the base of the LED as this can damage them n a way where they will either no longer work, or work intermittently. We recommend using long nose pliers when bending the legs at the base. We also provide extra LEDs in the kit just in case of accidental damage.

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Insert one row of 8 LEDs into your template as shown in the above image. Note the orientation of the LED legs with the long legs at the top the top and the short legs at the bottom. Then carefully bend the short legs by 90 degrees at the base of the LED so that each short leg is touching the short leg of the LED to its right.

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Make sure these legs to not touch the longer legs of each LED and then apply a small amount of solder to hold them in place.

Step 2:
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Repeat step 1 for the other 7 rows. The result should look like the image above with each short leg soldered to the short leg of the LED directly to its right.


Step 3:
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Bend each long leg at a 90 degree angle so that it touches the long leg of the LED directly above it.

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Note that you will need to be the leg slightly higher so that it can pass over the short legs of the LEDs above it without touching them.

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Do this for each row of LEDs apart from the top row and solder each leg in place the same as you did with the short legs. Your completed grid should look like the image above.

Step 4:
You have now completed one 8 x 8 grid of LED's. Carefully remove this grid from your template and set it aside. Now repeat steps 1 to 3 to create 7 more identical grids.

Step 5:
Once you have 8 complete grids you are now ready to construct your cube.

Before proceeding it is recommended to test each grid in turn as it is inserted into the controller board.

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Take one of your 8x8 grids and insert the remaining short legs on the end row into the sockets on the controller board as pictured above. Be careful not to bend the sockets when inserting the legs into the sockets as the are a firm fit. Note the extra row of pins on the controller board in the far left of the picture. These are the positive supply pins and are used to supply power to each horizontal row of the LED cube. The remaining 8x8 grid are the negative pins and are tuned on and off to control each column of LEDs above it. By controlling these two sets of pins to select a particular row and column each individual LED in the cube can be selected. With your first grid inserted use a piece of wire to connect one of the positive supply pins to one of the long legs of your grid as showing in the above image. If everything is connected correctly you should see the row of LEDs flash on and off in random patterns as the controller board runs the pre-programmed demo . Do this for each row of the grid to check that there are no bad connections.

Step 6:
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Once you have checked all the rows of your grid repeat step 5 for each of your 7 remaining 8x8 grids. All the LEDs of each grid should be pointing in the same direction. Once all the grids have been inserted disconnect the controller board from your computer before proceeding.

Step 7:
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Solder the remaining unconnected long legs of each of your 8x8 grids to the legs of the next grid. Start with the top row of legs and work your way down. Before soldering make sure each 8x8 grid is evenly spaced so that the entire cube is square.

Take a look at your cube. If every LED has been soldered correctly you will notice that all the long legs on each horizontal 8x8 grid are connected together and the short legs of each 8 led column are connected together and in-turn connected to one of the negative pins of control board.

Step 8:
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The final step is to connect the long legs of each horizontal 8x8 grid to the positive pins on the controller board. Reference the above image for the order.
Each of 8 positive pins should be connected to one of the horizontal 8x8 grids with a piece of wire. If the wire you are using isn't insulated then you will need to make sure that it is slightly bowed out so that it doesn't touch any of the LEDs it runs past.

Your cube is now complete.

The contents of this guide is copyright Hobby Components Ltd and may not be copied, reproduced, or reused elsewhere without permission.


Fri Mar 18, 2016 10:40 am
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