(this guide is a work-in-progress for an upcoming workshop)

Why do this?

There are lots of lightstrip controllers you can buy.  They’re on Amazon, Ebay, everywhere.   Why do this project?

First — This is going to be cheaper.  And exactly what you want.  And cheaper.

Second — Local control — ALL! stock firmware beacons to 3rd-party servers (many in China), and some beaconing/leakage includes wifi ssid and password in cleartext.

We will replace the stock device firmware with WLED, which is open-source and auditable. WLED is very well documented.  We’re going to be using a custom/modified fork of WLED for our project.  Source and binary available at github.

WLED has an open API and can be integrated into many automation solutions (IFTTT, tasker, home assistant etc).

On with the assembly —-

First – we must flash our Wimos D1 Mini esp8266 chip with the WLED firmware.  We will use nodemcupyflasher to do the flashing.

nodemcupyflasher and the wled binary are in the kernelcon desktop folder

nodemcupyflasher.exe

Connect d1 mini to laptop with usb cable.
Launch nodemcupyflasher
select proper port, browse to the kernelcon folder on desktop, select “wled-mac.bin” and click flash.  See screenshot for details.

When flashing, take note of the MAC address that is shown in the nodemcupyflasher window.  You need to note the last 4 characters of the MAC address.  Once the flashing completes, disconnect the d1 mini chip from the laptop.

We will start by cutting and stripping a section of RED and BLACK wire.  These wires will connect the power jack to the d1 mini chip.

Cut them to be about the length of the controller case.  Strip one end roughly 3/4″,  strip the other end to be about the same length as the ventilation hole on the side of your case.  See picture for details:

solder ground (black) wire to pin hole labeled G.
solder red (hot) wire to pin hole labeled 5v.
see below for pinout guide/map.  Pay close orientation to the orientation of the board (top/bottom) as some pictures show the backside of the board.

 

Insert rubber grommet in case hole.  Slip the 3 wires from the black JST harness through the hole.

Solder the green (data) wire to the pin labeled D4.  You must insert the grommet and feed wires through the grommet hole before soldering green wire.

We will now solder the power and ground wires to the connector.  Connector has (3) tabs.   Left — Middle/Lower — and Right.

Left Connector — Not used for this project
Lower/Middle Connector — This is where the black (ground) wires connect
Right Connector — This is where the red (5 volt) wires connect

Feed both black wires through the lower/middle connector labeled GROUND. Feed the stripped ends through the hole and fold them over.  Solder them.

Feed both RED wires through the right-side connector, labeled 5 volts.  Feed the stripped ends through the hole and fold them over.  Solder them.

Use a small piece of electrical tape to wrap around the bare terminals for safety.

Test your controller.

NOTE:  This controller is made for 5-volts.  You must use a 5-volt power supply to power it and test it.  Using a 12-volt adapter will destroy the chip.

Connect the JST connector to the light strip and plug the power cord in.  The blue LED on the chip should come on and your LED strip should turn on.  After successful test, disconnect power and JST connector/light strip.

Insert the d1 mini chip into its proper location

Tightly wrap a length of black tape around the 3 wires coming from the controller and force the taped section into the rubber grommet.  This serves as a strain relief to prevent any tugging or pulling on the wires from damaging the solder joints inside.  The grommet/tape will hold firm.

Insert the terminal into the hole, pushing the threads through to the outside.

Secure the nut onto the barrel connector.

Tightly wrap a length of black tape around the 3 wires coming from the controller and force the taped section into the rubber grommet.  This serves as a strain relief to prevent any tugging or pulling on the wires from damaging the solder joints inside.  The grommet/tape will hold firm.

Test your controller again  Connect the JST connector to the light strip and plug the power cord in.  The blue LED on the chip should come on and your LED strip should turn on.

Phone — install “WLED” app from the play store.

Power up controller and light strip

Recall the 4-digit MAC address recorded when flashing.  Look for a wireless network WLED-XXXX where your MAC address is observed.

Connect to that network using password wled1234

At this point you can configure the controller to permanently join a wireless network and control the lightstrip via network connection.  You can also simply control via this offline direct connection to the controller.  For simplicity and ease of configuration later,  choose this option.

Configure the controller to properly control the number of LED’s on your lightstrip (60) and configure the maximum power to the power of your DC adapter (most likely 2 or 2.5 amps).

Tweak colors, patterns, and animations.  Yay profit.