Wi-Fi LED strip controller

The Pixelspark Wi-Fi LED strip controller allows controlling of WS2801 ‘digital’ individually addressable LED strips (and, through software, possibly also for WS2812 based strips). Alternatively the board can be configured to provide I2C output for use with e.g. the MCP23017 daughter board.

The LED strip controller is based on the ESP8266 (ESP-01 module), which is very cheap (<$4) and provides connectivity to 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi networks. It obtains power over micro USB or a pin header. It allows selecting between 5V or 3.3V SPI bus power (SPI communications is always in 3.3V). When used for I2C, voltage shifting logic is in place to allow the I2C bus to operate at 5V.

The rev. 2 PCB layout

The most recent incarnation of the design, which can be plugged into a USB wall charger directly and has an even more convenient layout

The board as it is currently in use

The software to operate this board and the WS2801 LED strip is written in C++ and allows for full control over the LED strip through UDP messages (either a buffer containing color information for each LED, or a small program describing an animation for the LEDs). Additionally the software provides a ‘soft AP’ interface for configuration (i.e. the controller will present a Wi-Fi network to allow it to be configured for connecting to an existing network).