Art and Technology are Friends

Aurora mini 18

Aurora mini 18 is only 2 inches in diameter, yet controls 18 full-color (RGB) LEDs individually. The technology that enables this little thing is as amazing as the lights it produces.

Please review the instructables before purchase – assembly requires soldering skill. You will also need PIC programmer such as PICKit 3, ICD 2, ICD 3 (PICKit 2 doesn’t work with the PIC used). If you don’t have a programmer, you can purchase the PIC programmed with the latest firmware. (The PIC will be soldered to the PCB)

- Detailed technical information at

- Aurora mini 18 part placement chart (PDF)

* Firmware update – download here *

*** Purchase Here ***

21 Responses

  1. Rakesh

    How do u program the Aurora mini 18

    May 15, 2014 at 8:45 pm

  2. Rakesh

    I am going to the maker fair this weekend, will u be there. What skill do u have to have to solder this piece.

    May 15, 2014 at 8:44 pm

  3. Mike

    Just a few minutes ago, I completed assembling my Aurora mini 18 kit… it is the first SMT soldering I have ever done, though I have done quite a bit of through-hole in my day. At 40, I was afraid I would not be able to see those tiny parts well enough to solder them.

    BUT, I guess I must have done an OK job, because it lights up on the first try and is even more beautiful in person than in your videos! I am just grinning from ear to ear. :-) I am not sure I am ready to tackle the 9×18 or 18×18 just yet, but if that 9×18 mk 3 ever comes out… I might just have to do it.

    Thanks for making beautiful LED art and making it available to the rest of us. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with next.

    January 18, 2014 at 4:47 pm


    I am from sri lanka how can I bye thise kit

    July 18, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    • Just use the “Add to Cart” button, and go through the checkout. I will ship to Sri Lanka.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm

  5. Hello, are the leds on the A18 or A12 controllable? meaning can the array of color be “paused/held” at each possible color across all the LEDS? as well as paused/held mixed color patterns? I’m looking to purchase one for a near future project and I need to control the light as best/much as possible. This without having to reprogram via the PIC or what have you?


    July 9, 2013 at 1:17 am

    • Aurora mini 18 only has one button, so the control is limited to changing/selecting the animation patterns and turning the power on/off.

      I might come up with a way to do what you are describing in the future update…


      July 9, 2013 at 8:49 pm

  6. Jonathon

    Hi is it possible to add the audio interface to the Aurora mini 18? I think that would be awesome. Please let me know.

    May 19, 2013 at 7:38 pm

  7. Niki


    You have posted the schematics of the Aurora 18 on Instructables. Just out of curiosity and correct me if I am wrong.
    Every RGB LED’s current is sink into the PIC24F. Every LED would be around 20mA. So 18 LEDs would be more than 300mA to be sunk by the PIC (of all ports). Wouldn’t it fry the PIC?

    May 18, 2013 at 12:43 am

    • ACG

      20ma is MAX. LED’s do not hit MAX when they are PWM’ed. Its not necessary and would blind you. Even if not doing PWM 5mA is more than bright enough.

      That 20mA myth makes me want to cringe. It’s still around like a bad date.

      April 20, 2014 at 4:28 am

  8. Dick C

    I just purchased 2 of the Aurora-18 kits, and I’m very impressed with the pcb quality and the instructions. I have one question: in the photos the LEDs appear to be mounted flush with the pcb. But my LEDs have little kinks in their leads that prevent them from being mounted any closer than about 1/4 inch from the pcb. Are they mounted flush or not?


    April 25, 2013 at 8:08 am

    • Thanks for the comments.

      You can usually push a little to get the LEDs to go in past the “kinks”. However it’s easier to cut the leads right at the end of the “kinks” and insert them into the PCB.
      If you prefer the look of LEDs lifted from the PCB, that’s fine too.


      April 25, 2013 at 9:33 am

  9. gino guevarra


    can we add the audio adapter to the aurora mini 18.


    October 12, 2012 at 3:23 am

  10. Brad

    I was wondering how long two 2 AA batteries will last if I leave it on constantly?

    I’m making a phone dock out of legos and this would be perfect to place in the base.

    October 3, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    • I can’t give you a precise figure because I never actually run it until the battery stop working. But Aurora mini 18 draws about 20 to 30 mA from 3V power source, so assuming 2,000 mAH typical of alkaline battery, you should get pretty long run time. However Aurora mini 18 requires minimum of 2.7V to operate (which means you can’t utilize much of the battery capacity), so I recommend using 3 AA (4.5V) if you want long run time.

      October 4, 2012 at 12:26 am

  11. Jay

    Does the preassembled mini 18 come preprogrammed as well?
    Thank you

    September 13, 2012 at 8:52 am

  12. Tim Brengle

    I love your work!

    Two questions about this beautiful piece:

    1. Could it be powered by Joule Thief?

    2. What do you think about using a coin cell holder attached to the back to make it completely self-contained?

    Thank you!

    August 14, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    • Hello Tim,

      Did you read my mind?!
      I have both things in the works. May or may not be exactly the same as Aurora mini 18, but they will have full color LEDs.
      Stay tuned!

      August 14, 2012 at 2:28 pm

  13. Steven Zukerman

    What frequency does the Aurora mini 18′s
    microcontroller operate at?

    October 26, 2011 at 12:03 pm

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