I am new to WLED and I am looking forward to building my first project in the next few weeks. I’ve scrolled through all the information I was able to find on this page and set up a wiring diagram that I would like to share with you.
In general, I have three main questions that I am going to ask you at the end of this text.
Setup: I made this wiring diagram containing the components recommended on the WLED homepage.
As LED strips, I am going to use the WS2814 model, which works with 24V. I would like to build two circuits that mainly act independently from each other but with the option to run them as one single LED strip. The first LED strip is approximately 4.5m long, and the second is approximately 7.7m. I calculated a fuse of 5A for the first circuit and a fuse with 7A for the second circuit. The third circuit contains an ESP8266 (D1 Mini) with a level shifter afterward and a step-down module to transform 24V from the PSU to 5V. The ground from all components will be connected to the one from the PSU via a Wago clamp. A capacitor and resistance will be connected to the level shifter as shown on the WLED homepage.
My questions are as follows:
- I am not sure what kind of PSU I would need for this project. I know that I need one that supplies 24V and 300 Watts. BUT: Do I need a PSU which is dimmable? Unfortunately, I was not able to find this information. If I control the LEDs with an ESP8266 (which I believe has an option to dim the lights), will the PSU need an option such as dimmable via PWM?
In this case, I would choose the PSU from Meanwell, HLG-320H-24B, but I am confused about where to connect the blue and white wire coming from the PSU for the PWM. Additionally, those PSUs seem to be very expensive, and it could save me some money if it doesn’t have to be dimmable. Do you have any recommendations on which PSU to choose?
- How do I connect both LED strips to one ESP8266? I’ve read that one of the pins of the ESP supports 500 LEDs only, and in total, I am able to connect 3 strips at all. Could you give me a brief overview of which pins to use for the two LED strips?
- I would like to implement two switches to control each strip separately. Is it possible to connect those two switches to the ESP, or would it be better to put them in the +24V line of the related strip? Furthermore, I am concerned about what would happen if I turn both switches off to have both strips stop working as the circuit with the ESP would still be connected to the power line. Would this cause a problem, and do you have any recommendations on how to improve the wiring?
Thank you very much for your help.
No. Everything happens downstream of the PSU.
Also do yourself a favor and get an ESP32 instead of a 8266, nobody should be using those anymore really.
As previously mentioned, the PSU should be fixed - typically at the voltage of your LEDs (24V in your drawing) Any other voltage(s) you may need can usually be obtained by dropping the 24V via a regulator (ok, but inefficient) or a buck converter (much better) as you show in your diagram where you convert from 24V to 5V for the ESP.
First off, I’ll 2nd the recommendation to go with an ESP32 based board. Almost no cost difference and much more capable. As far as connecting strips, there isn’t a hard limit of 500 LEDs - that’s a performance recommendation. In reality you can attach 3000+ LEDs to a single GPIO, the issue becomes what kind of performance you need for various effects. Many people have more than 500 LEDs per GPIO without issue. With an ESP32 you can use up to 10 GPIOs to connect LEDs so you should be covered. There’s good info on the GPIO pinouts
By “switches” I’m guessing you mean relays to control the LED strip power lines? That’s a fairly common usage and if you search the forum you’ll find a number of references. As far as the effect on WLED, there isn’t any. As long as you don’t affect the 5V for the ESP, WLED will continue to output LED data as you request. WLED doesn’t really have any idea what LEDs are connected to the various GPIOs.
It just sends data to the pins you tell it to.
The last item you may need to consider is the maximum distance from the ESP/levelshifter board to the LEDs. If that distance is too long, you may need to consider Long Data Lines
Thank you for your responses. I’ve decided to split the 7.7m LED strip into two approximately 4m strips each. After reading about the 5m rule, I realized that splitting the strips will prevent dealing with more than 5A. This means I’ll have three strips powered by the ESP8266. I’ll stick with the 8266 due to its lower energy consumption and because I don’t need the Bluetooth option. For future projects, I’ll consider using the ESP32.
By “switches,” I actually meant two hardware switches to manually select which strips I want to activate. I’d like this option to be independent of my phone or any other device that needs charging. Therefore, I’m thinking of integrating the switches directly into the +24V of the strip. If I use relays, would there be an additional Wi-Fi remote control available to control the relays? A simple on/off button for each relay would suffice.
Additionally, I’m still struggling to find the right power supply. I found a suitable 24V, 300W one on Amazon. However, they mention that it’s not suitable for dimmable LEDs and could cause a fire if used with that kind of strip. I’m not an expert in this field and want to ensure especially that the power supply unit (PSU) is correct. Could you recommend any brands?
The maximum distance from the Level Shifter to the beginning of the LEDs is approx. 0.5m.
LED 1: ~4m
LED 2: ~4m
LED 3: ~4.5m
Thanks again for your help.
I have almost finished my project. Today, I wired up everything, but unfortunately, it’s not working as planned. Attached, you will find two pictures. The first one shows the setup in its entirety: a wooden board with 12 wooden bars attached to the front. Around the smaller bars, I placed the LED strip. However, only 3 out of the 12 strips are working, and a fourth one shows a few green LEDs that are always turned on, even when I turn off the signal for this element via WLED.
I am aware that LED strips are not supposed to be bent around sharp corners. Therefore, I made sure to curve them without applying too much pressure. The strips are connected to each other via the official connectors, where you have to push a tiny metal blade into the strip and the cable. I really cannot recommend using such connectors as they were a pain in the ass… If only the strips would work now…
My question is, what’s going on here? I measured with my voltmeter that every strip gets 24V, but they don’t light up. Would you say the strips became damaged during installation? The left two columns of the board are connected to a different GPIO than the right two columns.
All the strips were working fine before installation.
Thank you for your thoughts.
Try and draw a simple diagram of both your power supply runs AND your data runs.
At a guess, I would be suspect of the strip that “shows green”.
You might try disconnecting the source data ESP (leave the power in place) and disconnect the suspect strip’s data connection to the previous strip.
You can then connect the ESP source data to that suspect strip and see if it will respond properly.
You might also check to make sure you have the data direction correct for all the strips.
Thank you for your reply.
The data direction is correct. I paid special attention to it while installing the strips.
Unfortunately, I cannot disconnect the wire from the strip anymore, as the connectors have severed the connection into the strip and the wire. I cannot pull the metal blade from the connector out anymore. Is there another way to check the strip? Additionally, for future reference, are there better connections available that won’t damage the strip?
If I disconnect the data source from the ESP, I assume the strip won’t light up at all. By connecting the data source to another strip in line, can I check if the problem lies in the data line?
Could I also measure the data line? What should my voltmeter show?
I am betting on poor data connection. Those punch connector things are well known to cause issues. I would have soldered the connections.
You can’t measure data with a volt meter. You would need an oscilloscope.