How complex would this be? (basic electronics)

How complicated a circuit would you need for this to work?

A simple, hollow cube, each side with about 25 LEDS on it (looking a little like a Rubix's cube). I would then want these light to either..

- turn off one by one in a sequence (which could be mirrored on each side or be different)


- have the light turn off one by one in a random order

I was also thinking of having a timer so the speed of the sequence could be slowed or sped up. So it could go from taking 15mins for it to turn on/off, to up to about 4-5hours.

Thank you so much for any help, this would reallllly help my project out if anyone has any advice on this or knows where I could get advice on this. Thanks :D

Thank you for all the help :) Searching those things will really help me. I have no knowledge of electronics at all, but we've been set a lighting project at university. We don't have to make any of the electronics or make it work, but we need to be able to prove that it *would* work if made in industry / had more knowledge. These links and equipment stuff really helps, thank youuuu


Most Helpful Guy

  • You can use software or hardware (like almost any other circuit).

    Unfortunately I've forgotten most of my electronics.

    You'll be working with some kind of shift register. Look up things like Johnson counters, ring counters, sequential logic, etc. You might even check combinational logic for a semi-random affect.

    You will need some sort of clock, like an oscillator, frequency generator, or something simple like a "triple nickle" (search 555 timer).

    You can use simple RC networks for short time periods like 15 minutes. For long term timing up to 4-5 hours might be a little trickier. I've forgotten most of this stuff and can't think of anything off the top of my head for long term timing other than a processor or a counter combined with a 555.

    • link


      You do NOT need to understand the technical details for the shift registers, etc. You are concerned about their function, not how they work internally.

      If you know a little programming just think of shift registers as the hardware equivalent of a rotate command.

    • You might check this out too. It's kind of a cheap all-in-one processor that's pretty versatile.


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What Guys Said 5

  • Lighting LEDs isn't difficult. Controlling them independently in some sort of patterns is. It's complex, but doable.

    Check out some of the tutorials on instructables:


    • Those look really similar to the construction I was thinking, that helps. Thank you :)

  • Try posting on or

    I understand how you want to be helped. Most people come here for relationship problems. I wish I can help you but these links are the only one who can help you. I hope you success on your project.

    • Thanks, I'll check that out. I was a bit clueless as to where I should look for this, haven't done anything electrical since I was 12. Glad someone on here knew :)

  • I think fairly complicated, and perhaps quite bulky - it probably wouldn't fit inside a box the size of a Rubik's cube, for example (esp. if it needs a battery too). Like Aercz says, this probably isn't really the best place to ask.

    The easy alternative would be to just use a programmable controller, like a Mini Maestro / Arduino - but that might be considered cheating...

    • It could plug into a wall (don't know if that creates more problems or not) Cheating is fiiiine, they don't mind. I'll be google-ing those later, thanks :)

    • If you're okay with all six sides showing the same thing, then I'd go for a 24-channel controller (eg. Mini Maestro 24), and run one LED per side from each channel. That would be a 5x5 grid of LEDs, minus one LED - you could replace the central LED on each side with things like the USB socket, power socket, on/off switch, screws holding it all together, logo, etc.

      You'd then be able to program any sequence you like on your computer, and then upload it to the device.

    • It wouldn't need to be connected to USB the rest of the time, as the controller has its own internal memory. The software to write these programs is free to download and fairly easy to use. You could program far more elaborate sequences this way. For example, a 5x5 grid is enough to write any single letter or digit, so you could program the cube to spell out a whole sentence, one letter at a time.

  • It's more complex then you think.

    Does this help?


    • I've made a very basic circuit in the past, just one that turns on and changes color. Thankfully don't actually have to make this one. Thanks :)

  • Not that complicated. Just look up LED sequencer circuits. It's like a timer, a counter, a few resistors, a hand full of LEDs, a capacitor, etc. For increasing and decreasing speed I'm guessing you're going to need and oscillator to control the speed of the clock. Search google for circuits and kits I'm sure you can find something close to what you want to play with on a bread board.

    • Scares me less that I actually know most of those words. Thank you :)

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