This year, I put up some programmable LED Christmas lights. I’ve been wanting to give this a try for a while, and took the leap this year. I had to learn a few things but, I’m happy with the outcome.
With these lights I can choose the colors, the effect, and so much more with an app on my iPhone. The only hard part now is deciding which combination to pick. I change it up about daily.
I was amazed how easy it was to get this all up and running. I learned the basics from Dr. Z’s Beginners Guide video. He’s got a lot of information in there and is a good place to start.
The lights are powered by a single power supply hooked up to a NodeMCU microcontroller. The lights are LED Pixels, and it took four strings to go across the front of the house. The NodeMCU has wifi, so I can control the lights via my iPhone and the WLED app.
I went with a pretty simple solution.
- 5V 2A Power Supply
- You may have one of these already from electronics you have at home.
- You can also start with just a micro USB cable to test things out.
- Power plugs so you can plug them in as the strings don’t come with them.
- A string of LED Pixels WS2811 or LED light strip WS2812B.
- I used 5v Pixels
- A NodeMCU ESP8266 microcontroller.
- WLED on your Phone.
To put them on the house, I just used gutter hooks. Most people like perfectly straight lines and fancy installs, but that’s a lot more work and time.
I didn’t buy enough strings to go across the whole house, but I have to start somewhere. If I were to get more strings, I’d probably have to learn about power injection, which sounds easy enough, but I haven’t done it yet.
I’m very happy with the outcome. It’s only been a few weeks though, and we haven’t been through a snow storm, or really any weather, yet so, I’m not sure how they’ll hold up. I think they’ll weather just fine, though. I did put the NodeMCU in a junction box to protect it from the weather and covered any connectors with electrical tape.
Like I said, the hardest part now is choosing the design. I switch it up every day or so. There are so many colors and effects that I’m always trying out something new.