(Almost) Wireless LED strip controller

After a failed attempt, I succeeded in building a wireless analog LED strip controller.

Glowing led strip around controller

The most important part in this setup is a 12V-3.3V regulator that passes 12V to the transistors and 3.3V to the WiFi chip. Instead of gluing inefficient Darlington transistors on top of CD cases, I used IRFZ44N MOSFETs with a heatsink each on a stripboard. The principle remains the same as with the Arduino.

Controller top view

There are fewer long cables, which makes the controller more compact and less ugly.

Controller back view

On the ESP8266 runs a web server with a simple API to change the colors and a UDP listener that allows the Hyperion server to connect. The Arduino sketch can be found here.

Controller attached to FTDI

A few weeks later, I spotted a mistake in my build. I used IRFZ44N transistors but I should have used IRLZ44N transistors instead. The difference is that the Z version needs a higher voltage at the base, so the LEDs were never bright and drew just about two thirds of the power at maximum brightness.