ESP32 maximum number of pixels

I’m new here and new to the WLED software, thanks AirCookie for that.
I have a few other projects where I’ve written some of the software myself and have one large array in the loft with about 750 WS2812Bs so am aware of the need to inject 5V at regular intervals and all the 5V power requirements.
I’m now looking to put an array outside but it would be around 3500 LEDs is this possible with an ESP32 and WLED, sounds a bit much?

Thanks in advance.

3500 would technically be possible if you don’t care about refresh rate. If you do care about refresh rate you need to reduce to 800 roughly for 40fps, 1000 for 30fps and around 14-1500 for 20fps. This is a limitation on pixels not the controller they run on.

I Believe currently wled only works up to 1500 to minimize issues like refresh rate. Also, that said when considering some of the other things Like receiving Wi-Fi data as well as ram available in a given controller some limits can be pushed a little in regards to refresh rate. But you can’t ever go faster than the pixel itself can actually run.

Also my numbers aboive are per output.

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TheDanny - I am waiting to take down my Christmas tree before trying a ESP32 (instead of the 8266).

If I understand your statement “per output”, does that mean one could have 4,000 leds at 30fps?
(ie 4 x 1000 for 30fps)

Additionally - on an ESP32, can each channel be independently controlled by something like xLights/Vixen - and how would one address each channel. I am probably getting ahead of myself having not yet installed on an ESP32 - but I am wanting to know what lies in wait for me.


You can have up to eight outputs.

Thanks @Thedannymullen.
You are of course correct I really didn’t consider the timing issues for that many LEDs.
I’m now considering using WS2815s as using 12V probably makes more sense than 5V.
My longest unbroken run is about 1000-1100 LEDs for the front and back of the house and around 650 LEDs for the sides for 60 LEDs/m tape.
I’m considering using 3 ESP32s, one for the front/back and one for the sides running WLED and then a separate ESP32 using some custom software to control WLED using the HTTP GET API, some small scale experiments have this working fairly well.
Is there a better way, does this sound too complicated, as I’m always open to fresh ideas?
Also intrigued to know what you mean “per output” as I thought there was only 1 output per ESP32/WLED controller?

Many Thanks

Yes this is correct. Some controllers have 1 output 8266 for example, some have 4,8,16… like the falcons and kulp ones.

THe wled on esp32 has been developed so you can have up t 4 segments I believe. This is where the question of horsepower comes in. Can the esp32 keep up with the proper frame rate for 4 outputs given it has to service Wi-Fi and other system parameters.

I am confident it will run wled with no issues it is when receiving streaming data from xlights or vixen. I am looking for a way to test frame rate haveing a little trouble getting that figured out just yet but I have some ideas in my head.

Yes generally speaking there is only one output on these smaller devices like esp8266 and esp32. However there is the capability on esp32 with wled to have multiple outputs. As stated in my other response we just have to be mindful of refresh rate with some of these options.