LCD-LED Display

3X3X3 LED Cube Circuit

This article explains how to make a simple LED cube circuit and how it works. Microcontrollers are used in the majority of LED cube circuits. However, in order to create a circuit with minimal programming challenges, we settled on a simple approach of driving the cube with just a timer and counter arrangement. We’ve arranged a total of 27 LEDs in a cubical pattern, resulting in 9 sets of three LEDs. We only need a 555 timer and two 4017 counter ICs in addition to the LEDs. The IC 4017 is a CMOS decade counter with an integrated counter and decoder. The 4017 IC was chosen because of its ability to drive LEDs directly without the use of a BCD decoder.


  • 3X3X3 LED Cube Principle:
  • 3X3X3 LED Cube Diagram:
    • 3X3X3 LED Cube Circuit Design:
    • Working of 3X3X3 LED Cube Circuit
    • 3X3X3 LED Cube Circuit Applications:
    • 3X3X3 LED Cube Circuit Limitations:

3X3X3 LED Cube Circuit Principle:

This circuit works on the premise of using clock pulses to drive LEDs. The goal is to gradually migrate from one set of trio to each face of the cube to the entire cube itself. This is accomplished by using two counters, with the first counter playing for the first nine pulses and the trio of LEDs lighting up for each pulse. The second counter begins to play on the tenth pulse, and each cube face begins to light. A 555 timer in astable mode is used to generate the clock pulses.

3X3X3 LED Cube Circuit Diagram:

LED Cube Circuit

3X3X3 LED Cube Circuit Design:

The first step in the process is to design the 555 Timer as an astable multivibrator. We’re going to assume that our desired time period is roughly one second. We calculate the values of both resistors to be around 10K based on the frequency of the output signal provided by f = 1.44/ (Ra+Rb) C and the values of C estimated to be around 100uF.

The counter unit is the second element of the design process. The divide by 10 output pin is left disconnected because we are just utilising one counter.

The divide by 10 output pin or the carry out pin of one counter is connected to the clock pin or carry out pin of another counter in cascading operation. Both the master reset pin and the clock enabling pins are grounded.

Designing the LED cube circuit is the third and most crucial step. We achieve this by organising 9 sets of a series triple of LEDs in a cubical way, with the cathodes of each LED connected to the anodes of another and each trio of LEDs connected in parallel to another, resulting in a 3 by 3 by 3 LED cube arrangement. All of the LEDs’ anodes are connected to the ground potential.

Working of 3X3X3 LED Cube Circuit

When switch S1 is brought to the closed position, the circuit operation begins. The 555 Timer IC generates the appropriate clock pulses for the counters to be triggered.

The astable operation of the 555 timer, which is used to generate high and low clock pulses at the desired interval, does this. The IC’s output pulse is supplied to two counter ICs in a parallel arrangement to provide clock signals at the same time. In this case, the two counters are stacked in a cascade pattern. A five-stage Johnson counter and display decoder circuitry make up the IC 4017.When the input clock pulse is a high logic signal, it outputs a high logic signal at its output. In other words, the counter output at the associated output pin will go high for each positive clock pulse received. The counter IC will continue to work until the reset and clock enable pins are both grounded. Because each output pin is connected to each of the LED series, the matching series of LEDs will light up whenever one of the output pins is set to logic high.

For example for the first clock pulse when pin 3 of the counter IC goes high, the connected trio of LEDs start glowing. For the first 9 pulses, the each trio of LEDs glows.

Thus this circuit displays a spectacular view of the LED cube wherein for each clock pulse, each trio of LEDs glow and since time period of clock pulses is quite low, and the cube appears to blink.

3X3X3 LED Cube Circuit Applications:

  1. This circuit can be used as at homes for decoration purpose.
  2. This circuit can be modified with further changes to make the LED cube glow as a whole.
  3. It can be used at home lighting system.

3X3X3 LED Cube Circuit Limitations:

  1. The circuit is complicated and requires complex connections.
  2. The use of digital counter ICs causes time delay owing to propagation delay of the digital ICs.
  3. This is a theoretical circuit and may require changes.
  4. The use of CMOS devices causes problem of being static and cannot be handled with bare hands.
  5. This circuit does not have the provision to switch on all the LEDs simultaneously.


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