Tag Archives: Hackaday.io

The world’s tiniest RGB LED cube

This 4x4x4 cube measures only 2cm on each side.

If you read Atmel’s blog, chances are that you’ve seen a programmable LED cube. Given the amount of soldering involved, adequate space between each light would seem like a necessity. Hari Wiguna, however, decided that he could make a 4x4x4 cube measuring only 2cm on each side. In other words, as seen in the first video below, it would roughly fit on a quarter.

This build took Wiguna “months to build, but it’s finally done,” and, unless he hears differently, it is the smallest 4x4x4 LED cube in existence. Soldering, as shown in the second video, seems that it was quite a nightmare, but at least he had a custom PCB on which to set his LED stacks once they were assembled. For work that small, he needed a fine-tip soldering iron, but had to actually build his own set of jigs to assemble everything correctly.

The circuit, seen in the third video uses an Arduino Nano (ATmega328) to control the 64 RGB LEDs used. It’s a very clever setup, modeled after the Charliecube design found here. The four stacked LEDs are each rotated 90 degrees to each other, allowing its diode property to separate out each light’s signal.

The resulting animations are quite impressive — amazing for something this size! Check out the three clips below for even more background on this tiny wonder.

Maker builds a scrapyard truck simulator

Have you ever wanted to play a truck simulator with a real dashboard on your PC? Now you can. 

As much fun as flight, truck or giant robot simulators can be when played with a keyboard and mouse, having a realistic cockpit to go with it certainly would enhance the realism. Jeroen vd Velden, who works in tech support at a home automation distributor and is also a licensed truck driver, decided to take this to the next level, using an actual truck dashboard and components with a PC simulator.


As documented on Hackaday.io, this was accomplished via an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) along with a CAN-BUS shield. CAN-BUS is an interface standard that allows one to “pull codes” when a car or truck is broken, and Velden is using this with his new cockpit.


In addition to the CAN-BUS, an Arduino Leonardo and a Pro Micro (both of which are powered by an ATmega32U4) are used to sense other inputs, like handbrakes and switches. When they receive signals, the Atmel chip translates them into virtual keyboard presses that go into the PC simulator, Euro Truck Simulator 2.


One interesting aspect is how Velden modified the handbrake to output electrical signals. You can see the process documented in the video below. The project is ongoing, and Velden will be updating the documentation as things progress. As Velden puts it, “The Scrapyard is a great place to start with Arduino!”

Adafruit’s Pro Trinket gets the Hackaday.io treatment

Last year, Adafruit launched the Trinket, a tiny microcontroller board built around our ATtiny85. Then back in August, they shared the news that the uber-mini board was getting a big sister, the Pro Trinket. Based on the incredibly-popular, Maker favorite ATmega328, the Pro Trinket offers the familiarity of an Arduino Pro Mini with more pins and USB thrown in the mix.


Today, paying homage to our friends at Hackaday, the Adafruit crew has even unveiled an Hackaday.io branded Pro Trinket — black solder mask, Jolly Wrencher and all. And, it’s stunning.


As Hackaday points out, the board features a micro-USB plug on one end, integrated voltage regulator, 16MHz crystal oscillator, and the chip is running a modified version of V-USB (meaning that it can be programmed via USB). With the Pro Trinket, Makers have the choice of either programming with the Arduino IDE, using AVRdude with the “-c usbtiny” programmer flag, or flashing the chip directly with an AVR programmer like the AVR Dragon.

Don’t let its size fool you. The super small Pro Trinket boasts more flash and more RAM — 18 GPIO, a pair of extra analog inputs, 28K of flash, and 2K of RAM. While the Pro Trinket may only measure 1.5″ x 0.7″ x 0.2″ (without headers), it possesses the same capabilities as a much larger Arduino Uno.


Aside from the on-board ATmega328P, other key specifications include:

  • 16MHz clock rate, 28K FLASH available
  • USB bootloader with an LED indicator
  • Headers for an FTDI port for reprogramming
  • Micro-USB jack for power and/or USB uploading
  • On-board 5.0V power regulator with 150mA output capability and ultra-low dropout
  • Power with either USB or external output (such as a battery)
  • On-board green power LED and red pin #13 LED
  • Reset button for entering the bootloader or restarting the program.
  • Works with 99% of existing Arduino sketches (anything that doesn’t use more than 28K, and doesn’t require pins #2 and #7)
  • Mounting holes

According to our pals over at Hackaday, “This is also perfect for taking with you on the road. The board is so small you’ll always have space for it. I already travel with an external battery and a micro-USB cable for topping off my cellphone. These will work perfectly as a power source and programming cable for the Trinket Pro. The board itself and any hardware I want to hang off of it is all that I’m adding to my backpack. Above you can see the quick proof-of-concept I made while at the Hackaday anniversary party. It’s a row of 8 LEDs and some current-limiting resistors. Want to try your hand with PWM and visualization? You can do it on a plane, you can do it on a train, or a bus, or a boat (Trinket prototyping while bicycling is not recommended).”


Are you just wrapping up a prototype on an Arduino Uno and looking to shrink it down? Do it in style with the Hackaday.io Pro Trinket. Interested? Head on over to the official Hackaday Store here.

Meanwhile, following the success of their 10th anniversary Trinket Pro boards, Hackaday has just announced their latest Trinket Everyday Carry Contest, which encourages Makers to create pocket-sized electronics projects using the ATmega328 based board.