Pixel LED layout using AutoCAD

This is a complete tutorial on how to create Pixel LED layout using AutoCAD software. LEDEdit is one of the most popular software when it comes to pixel LED programming. Because it supports large variety of pixel LED controllers and Pixel LED drive chips , It’s almost essential for pixel LED programming. [ Download LED EDIT ] . One of the first steps when programming your pixel LED is designing the pixel LED layout .Layout is the software illustration of physical LED layout .In order to program the pixel LED you need to design the layout first . Here in this article lets find out how to create an Irregular Layout using Auto CAD software .

The Pixel LED Layout

There are two types of layouts when it come to designing pixel LED layout in the software . However , To create some of the layouts effectively you have to use third party software.

Regular Layouts .

Irregular Layouts.

Regular Layouts  are the layout that have regular shapes square , rectangle , line etc.. These type of layouts can be designed inside the LEDEdit software.

Irregular Layouts are the layouts that have shapes other than above mentioned . Although , You can create an irregular layout  using the manual layout creator . But , lack of features available for creating such elements make it difficult to create such layout in LEDEdit. That’s why you need the help of third party software like AutoCAD , Coreldraw ,etc.. In this article we are going to focus on how to create Pixel LED layout using AutoCAD software .

Creating Pixel LED layout using AutoCAD

We are going to use AutoCAD 2007 version. Because, LEDEdit software doesn’t support the .dxf files that created using newer versions of AutoCAD.  This bug might be fixed in future . But , For now lets use 2007 version of AutoCAD . For this tutorial we are going to create a circle shaped layout. First things first  , Lets create a new project in AutoCAD.

AutoCAD unit selection

AutoCAD unit selection

Double click on the AutoCAD Icon to run it.

Click on “AutoCAD” classic and click on “OK” in the workspace mode window .

Click on “Format” and choose “Units” . In the units window choose a preferred unit from “Insertion Units” drop down list (We are going to use Inches as preferred unit) . Then , Click “OK” .

Creating Pixel LED Reference Points

Lets create our first pixel LED reference point .Each Pixel LED reference point represents a physical pixel LED in your layout . To create pixel LED reference points we are going to use circles that have diameter of one unit.

AutoCAD creating pixel LED reference points

creating pixel LED reference

Click on the circle tool from the left side tool bar . Then , left Click on anywhere in the workspace to place the center of the circle.

Move the mouse cursor off the center of the circle .Press left mouse click to create the circle .





pixel LED radius

pixel LED radius

Double click on the circumference of the circle .This will bring up the properties of the circle . Input radius as “1” and press “Enter”.

What we have done is , We have created a circle with a diameter of one inch . Whatever the unit you use , Make sure that you are creating a circle that have a diameter equal or greater to “1” unit.


Placing Pixel LED Reference Points

Now , We have created our first pixel LED reference point . It’s time to duplicate this reference points to create the layout shape that we need .For placing pixel LED reference points , You can use the AutoCAD built in features such as mirror , offset , array etc . Place the reference points as you want using the built in tools and features of AutoCAD .

Example : Creating Round Layout

For this tutorial we are going to create a circle layout.  The main tool we are going to use in this tutorial is the array tool . We are going to create a circle or round shaped layout with filled inside . To place the created pixel LED reference inside of this layout ,  We are going to use the array tool . Array tool is a feature that allows you to create copies of a object or objects at a given pattern. Lets see how to do this .

First , We are going to lay these pixel LED reference points along the radius of the circle .

Autocad array settings - pixel led creation

Array settings

Click on the first pixel LED reference point . Then , click on the “Array” icon on the right side window.

In the array window check “Rectangular Array” .Since , we are creating a line of pixel LED references . Type “1” in the “Raw” input field . Then the amount of pixel LED reference points that we need to lay along the radius of the circle in the “Column”  input field .

• Type the distance between each pixel LED references in the offset input fields . Since , We have pixel LED references in columns only , We set the “column offset” to 3 . Make sure to leave enough distance (offset) value so they doesn’t overlap.Then , Click on “OK”.

Creating rectangular array result

Rectangular array result

Now , We have pixel LED reference points along the radius . Let’s duplicate each one of these reference points along each circumference (Guide circles) they are in. Since , The amount of pixel LED references can be placed along these circumferences are different due to the sizes of each circumferences are being different from one to another. Thus , The amount of pixel LED references that you can place along these paths are different too. Lets place these according to the above plan . Starting from the second pixel LED reference (First pixel LED is in the center of the circle).

Creating Polar Array

Creating Polar Array

Click on the second pixel LED reference then click on the “Array” tool from right toolbar . In the “Array” window .Click on “Polar Array” radio button.

Click on pick center button and click on the center of the first pixel LED reference point . Select the “Angle to fill & Angle between Items” from the “method” drop down list .

Input the amount of reference points that you wants to placed along the circumference .Depends on how close to the center (Closer to the center lesser the amount and higher the angle between items).

Polar Array AutoCAD result

Polar Array result

• Since , We need pixel LED references all alone the circumference For the “Angle to fill” input field , I’m going to give “36o” . For “Angle between Items” Input field type the angle between  references that you need to place along the circumference. Then , Click OK .(Here are the values , I have used respectively for each item 60°,30°,20°,15°,10°,10°,8° )

Repeat above steps for all the pixel LED references along the radius of the layout. Here is the final result .

Wiring Pixel LED Reference Points

Wiring means connecting these individual pixel LED references together .To do this in AutoCAD  , We use “Line Tool” .The wiring or connecting these reference points is a continuous process . Start from the 1st pixel LED reference and end with the last pixel LED reference for that port . Wiring of individual ports must be done separately . The wiring you done in the software layout should be the final wiring of the physical product . Here is an example where we are going to connect these pixel LEDs to two ports .

Example : Wiring Round Layout

We are going to split this layout into two parts and wire it separately .

Connecting pixel LEDS in AutoCAD

Connecting pixel LEDS

Click on the line tool from the left tool bar and click on the center of the first pixel LED that you wants to wire. Then , Click on the second and so on. Until , You reach the last pixel LED that connects to that port.

Click contentiously , If you have mistakenly click on somewhere else instead of center ,  Press “Ctrl”+”Z” to undo .You can interrupt the connecting by pressing “Enter”. Then , You can continue connecting  by clicking on the last pixel LEDs center that you have wired . Then , Continue the wiring as usual .



Autocad pixel LED layout wiring

Final Result

Once a wiring for one port is done . Press “Enter” and click on line tool again and continue wiring the pixel LED references for the second port .

Creating The Port

Now all the wiring is done . It’s time to connect the pixel LEDs to the Pixel LED controller. The port labels that we are creating represents the physical ports of the controller or controllers. The port in this case is a text line . First character is “P” followed by the port number. Eg – p1 ,p2 ,p3 , p4 … . Here is how to create it .

Creating pixel LED port label

Creating port label

Click on the “Text Line Tool” from the left toolbar and click on the worksheet next to the fist pixel LED of the set of LEDs that connects to that port .

Then type “1” as the size and Press “Enter” .




Pixel LED Port label creation Autocad

Port label size

Type the character “p” followed by the port number (no spaces ,lower case) .

Highlight the created text and give the text size as “1.0000” from the text format window .

Press “Esc” to exit the text tool.

Example : Creating Ports

As we have mentioned , This is a two port layout we are creating . So lets create port 1 and port2 for each section of the led layout.

pixel LED Port labels

Port labels

• Click on the “Text Line tool” and click next to the first LED of the upper section of the layout . Type “1” as the size and press “Enter”.

Type “P1” for port 1 and change the text size to “1.0000” .

Do the same to the next section , Instead of “P1”  Type “P2” for port2 .

Connecting The Port

Now , We have created the ports .Lets connect them to the related set of Pixel LED reference points . But , First we need to turn on some snap settings .Because , Unlike circles , Text doesn’t have a center point . They have nodes .So , Lets start by enabling snap to nodes settings .

Right click on the “SNAP” button on the bottom and select “Settings”.

In the snap settings window , Go to “Snap to Objects” tab and check “Nodes” .Then , Click OK .

Now we are done changing snap settings . It’s time to connect it to the “Port” that we have created in the previous step.

Connecting pixel LED to the port

Connecting to the port

Click on the “Line Tool” from the left toll bar and click on the center of the first pixel LED reference that you wants to connect to the port .

Now move the mouse cursor towards the bottom of the “P” character of the port label that you wants to connect it to . You will see a tool text “node”. Click  when you see that tool text. This will snap the other end of the line to the bottom node of the “P” character .

Example : Connecting to Ports

As we have mentioned we have two parts in this layout that connects to individual ports . In this case two ports .

Autocad pixel LED port connection

Two Ports connection

• For the first port we are going to click on the first pixel LED’s center of the top portion of the layout .Then , Click on the bottom node of the “P” character of “P1” port label .

• Do the same to other port labels as well .

Saving The File

Now all we have to do is to save the file . We are going to save this file as .dxf file . AutoCAD 2007 DXF file to be exact . So , We can later import it to LEDEdit software.

save pixel LED layout

Click on “File” and select “Save As” .

In the “Save As” window , Type a name for your file and browse a location to save that file .

Select the file type as “AutoCAD 2007 DXF (*.dxf)” . Then , Click on “Save” button.

Importing The file

Now we are done with AutoCAD . It’s time to import this layout to LEDEdit. As we have mentioned in This Article , There are two different versions of LEDEdit . LEDEdit version and LEDEdit-K versions. Lets find out how to import this DXF file we created LEDEdit version .

LEDEdit Versions

Open The LEDEdit software and click on “File” and select “New Project”. In new project window , Select your controller and pixel LED string or strip . Then change the settings as we have mentioned in This Article .Click “OK” .

Importing dxf files to lededit

Importing dxf files

Click on “Project Config” and select “Import dxf” . A pop-up window will appear .In that window choose “Not accurate attachment” option and click “OK”.

• Browse for the .dxf file we have created in the previous steps and click on “Open”.




Dxf file import success message

Import success message

You will see a message stating how many pixel LED references were imported and how many failed .

That’s it , That’s how you Pixel LED layout using AutoCAD software .You will see your layout in the LEDEdit work space . Now continue programming as we have mentioned in This Tutorial

Troubleshoot –  Pixel LED layout using AutoCAD

Error : The diameter of the circle in .dxf file is <1.0 , Please change it as >= 1.0

Description : If you are getting a error like this . This is due to the size of the pixel LED reference points being too small for the LEDEdit software .

Fix : To fix this error you need to make sure that all the pixel LED references in your AutoCAD file are greater than 1.0 units . Recreate the whole layout with circles that have radius greater than 1.0 unit or double click on each circle (Pixel LED reference) and set the radius to 1.0 units in the properties.

Error : The wires should be connected according to the sequence of p1 ,p2 …pn to save the space.

Description : This is due missing port labels (p1 ,p2 ,p3 etc..) or the bad connection between the port label and pixel LEDs .

Fix : To fix this error you need to make sure that ports labels are correctly connected to the pixel LED reference points .Make sure that there are no other chatterers entered in the labels and make sure to connect the line end to the bottom node of the character “p” of the port label.

Error : Failed LEDs.

dxf pixel LED layout troubleshoot -bad connection

bad connection

Description : If you are getting a message with import failed led amount . This is due to bad connection to these pixel LED references .

Fix : Once imported , Look for white pixel LED reference . These are the references with bad connections . Go back to Autocad software  and delete the connections to these LEDs by clicking and pressing “Delete” button. Then , Redo the connection to these reference points using the line tool . Make sure to click on the center when connecting.

Conclusion – Creating Pixel LED layout using AutoCAD

ConclutionCreating pixel LED layout using AutoCAD is one of the first steps when programming pixel LED. Although , LEDEdit software have some features to create any type of layout .They are not advance enough to be used for custom layouts with many geometric features. This lead us to use third party software such as AutoCAD and CorelDraw. Because , They are made for designing such advance shapes without much effort . Unfortunately , The LEDEdit software doesn’t supports 2008 or later versions of AutoCAD software. It’s hard to use old AutoCAD software versions in new operating systems due to compatibility issues . However , This is the best and easiest method when it comes to custom pixel LED layout designing. If you have good CorelDraw skills you can do the same using the CorelDraw software – Here is How To

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can Use Other CAD software ?

    Yes , You could , But , Not sure the dxf files that crated using those software are compatible with LEDEdit. Also , You can use graphic design software like CorelDraw to create custom pixel LED layouts . If you are interested in using CorelDraw to design custom pixel LED layouts Click Here or Click Here for the updated article.

  • What are the AutoCAD versions supported ?

    AutoCAD 2007 version is the best software version for LEDEdit . AutoCAD 2008 or later versions may not supported by LEDEdit . But , If you cant find AutoCAD 2007 version , Then use a later version . But , Make sure to save the .dxf file as “Autocad 2007 DXF” file .

  • Importing failed , What should I do ?

    If the dxf file cannot be imported  , It may due to compatibility issue or due to LEDEdit software cannot find any layout details such as ports or pixel LED reference points in the dxf file . Make sure that you are using AutoCAD 2007 version . Make sure that the pixle led connections are properly made . If above solutions doesn’t work , Try a different version of LEDEdit.

Disclaimer – The content in this article may get updated in the future . This is not a sponsored tutorial . We are not partnered with any of the software mentioned in this article .We are not certain whether this software poses any security risks or not .Use at your own risk . Since , There are many downloadable setup files in the internet .There are many setup files with viruses and adware . We strongly advice you to scan the setup files using a proper virus guard before installing them . This tutorial doesn’t provide or teach any illegal activity.

Author : Senel Nanayakkara
Published on : 03|11|2020