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 layout 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 . 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.
• 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
Now , 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 inch.
• 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 .
• 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 inches . Whatever the unit you used , Make sure that you are creating a circle that have a diameter equal or greater to “1”.
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 we need .For placing pixel LED reference point 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 .
• 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”.
Now , We have pixel LED reference points along the radius . Let’s duplicate each one of these reference points along each circumference 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).
• 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 points center . 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).
• 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’m going to use 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 doing in the layout should be the 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 .
• 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 else where 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 .
• 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 over wiring is done . It’s time to connect the pixel LEDs to the Pixel LED controller. 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 .
• 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” .
• Type the character “p” followed by the port number (no spaces ,Simple) .
• Highlight the created text and give the text size as “1.0000” from the text format window .[img]
• 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.
• 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 , these text doesn’t have a center . 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” we have created in the previous step.
• 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’ . Then click . 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 .
• 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 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.
• 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 into both of these versions.
• Open The LEDEdit software and click on “File” and select “New Project”.In new project window , Select your controller and pixel LED String . Then change the settings as we have mentioned in This Article .Click “OK” .
• 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”.
• 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 unit 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 no non existence of port label (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 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” .
Error : Failed LEDs.
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
Creating pixel LED layout using AutoCAD is one of the first steps when programming . Although , LEDEdit software have some features to create any type of layout .They are not advance enough to be used for custom layouts that have many geometric features in them. This lead us to use third party software to be used . Because , They are made for designing such advance shapes without much effort . Unfortunately , The LEDEdit software doesn’t supports 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 designing custom pixel LED layout designing. If you have good Coreldraw skills you can do the same using the corel draw software – Here is how to