Freetronics 4x4x4 RGB LED Cube
This stunning 3D-matrix of 64 RGB LEDs incorporates an onboard Arduino compatible controller that allows you to produce dazzling light animations controlled by software.
The Cube4 makes a fine addition to your home as a unique mood light, or light up your party or DJ set with a custom light show!
Electronics student? Great! The Cube4 is a great way to get started in electronics as it comes in a partly assembled DIY kit with all the surface mount components already fitted. All you need to do is solder in the LEDs and assemble the 3D matrix (instructions included).
Tools Needed for Construction:
Powered by Arduino
The Cube4 comes with a sketch pre-installed that runs through a test pattern and will listen to the serial port for commands. Once you have assembled the Cube4 you can connect it to a serial monitor (such as the one in Arduino IDE) and send commands to it to create your own patterns.
Probably the coolest thing about this cube is that you can upload and create your own "sketches" using the Arduino IDE which makes it easy to customize and implement your own designs, and this is only limited by your imagination.
You could display:
Weather conditions based off online weather service data
Heart beat animation driven by heart rate monitor
Colour animations synchronized to music
The level in a water tank
Notifications for IM & Email
A visual countdown timer for some event
Ambient mood lighting for relaxation
And much more!
Features on the Cube4 PCB
The Cube4 base board PCB has a number of breakout regions that you can use to attach your own devices for customizing your projects.
Once your Cube4 is assembled, these regions are all accessible from the bottom.
This male right-angle connector provides power and ground, two digital pins, and five analog pins (A0-A5.) You can use these pins in your sketches for analog inputs, ie:
byte x = analogRead(2);
However you can also use them anywhere you use digital pins, ie:
Microcontroller to LED Driver
These pin holes provide access to the pins that the microcontroller (Leonardo compatible Atmega32u4) uses to drive the LED display. Usually you don't want to connect anything to these pins, unless you want to drive the LEDs directly from an external controller.
Note that the holes labelled A0-A3 here stand for "Anode Driver" and are not the same connections as the Analog Pins on the edge of the PCB.
Serial & I2C communications
These two pin headers provide access to the hardware serial RX (digital pin 0) and TX (digital pin 1), and the i2c SDA and SCL pins, as well as power and ground. This makes attaching i2c peripherals to the Cube4 quite easy.
For i2c peripherals, if you connect devices that don't contain their own bus pullup resistors then you will need to solder 4.7K (or similar) resistors in the two spaces marked on the PCB as "SCL PULLUP" and "SDA PULLUP".
For serial communications, if using the hardware TX and RX pins provided on these headers then this is referenced as "Serial1" in your sketches. The normal "Serial" device is the built in USB CDC device.
XBee is a common socket format for lots of wireless devices. The Cube has PCB mounting holes for an XBee socket. These pins are not connected to the rest of the board. Lots of XBee compatible devices use different combinations of pins for different functions, so this allows you to wire the particular connections you need.