Beautiful Christmas tree Lighting this year

Beautiful Christmas tree Lighting this year

Just a quick one but I thought this was worth sharing. I just bought some new “external use” RGB LED STRIP from AliExpress. Not your usual 5450 strip and not the popular copper wire strip with VERY THIN coated copper wire and very small LEDS – no, this seems to be a good compromise – the LEDs as you’ll see in the video are fully programmable – you can buy in varying legths and with varying number of LEDs per metre.

See the image and video to get an idea of the flexibility and thickness of the wiring. No adhesive on this strip but then the adhesive on tandard LED strip is all but useless anyway. Look for installations whwre people haven’t realised this (Newcastle Airport in the UK is an example – last time I looked) for otherwise neat, hidden wall edge displays with pieces falling away.

3 insulated wires – needing 5vDC and a port signal in – I control the LEDs here with the free and excellent WLED software which can be put onto an ESP8266 or ESP32 easily using their WEB Installer. Given a USB-powered ESP12 board of which there are many (AliExpress has lots – no need here for the more powerful and slightly more expensive ESP32 boards), go to the WLED Web Installer and press INSTALL.


At this point you do not have your ESP board plugged into your PC’s USB… so it’s PORT will not show up. Plug in the board to any of your PC’s available USB connectors and a new port should appear. If not, there are instructions on that web page to take you further.

Select the port and run INSTALL. You can run WLED there and then or give it the name and password of your WiFi and from then on you can plug the board into a more powerful external USB hub or USB power supply (the board takes next to no power but a load of LEDS WILL). I’m running a strip of 192 LEDs (remember these are RGB so there are 3 times that number of actual outputs) from a modern 3 AMP USB supply. My 5m long strip (2.5cm spacing) cost €14.18 all-in. The same at 1.5cm spacing would have cost under €20 etc. You can of course buy different lengths – and being serial LEDs you can cut at any point along the wire (carefully).

WLED running on new flexible RGB LED strip

FAR more info is available on the WLED site. In summary: on the WLED setup page, you tell it which port bit you are connected to (one option is D4 i.e. GPIO2) and how many LEDS (192 in my case) in your strip. Then under EFFECTS you can choose from MANY different effects and the LEDs should now start running your desired effect – all on a easy-to-use menu. THAT’s IT. The initial install is best done on a PC but once you know the IP address your board is sitting at, a phone web browser will do to play with effects, brilliance, speed and much more.