LED Strips Flickering (ESP32)


I have 4 “power towers” that I’ve added LED strips to for a high school band show. My goal is to have them all connected through the WLED app and turn them on and off at different times during the performance.

Here is what I have:
LED Strips - https://a.co/d/bUiHINS
Jumpers (ESP to LED)
Wire (LED to LED)
LED Connectors
LED Power Supply
(I had links to all, but had to delete for the post)

I also have 12V batteries connected to an inverter that power the ESP & LEDs.

The LEDs power on, let me change colors & set effects, and change brightness level. Unfortunately, they keep flickering different colors. Here is a video of that: Prop LED issue - YouTube

I believe it’s a problem with the ESP. When I disconnect the ESP from the LEDs, they will stay 1 color and not flash. I tried disconnecting the data and ground and both kept the lights 1 color without flashing.

Anyone have any idea what the issue might be?

More info:

  • ESPs have connections to “2” and “GND”
  • The LEDs are red when they have power but are turned off in the app
  • I don’t believe it’s a power issue, as they stay lit on 1 color when disconnected from the ESP

Esp GND needs to be directly tied to LED strip GND. Esp GND also needs to be tied to power supply/inverter output GND going to LED strips. In other words, the ESP32, LED’s and Power Supply grounds all need to be connected so they all share the same reference. If not, there can be some line noise that causes the flickering. It stops when you disconnect because data is no longer being sent (but they still have power)…the LED’s just stay whatever color they were last instructed to.

Also, the length of the data wire matters…how long is the wire going from the ESP32 to the first LED? Data wire should also be kept separate from power wires. There can be crosstalk which can also cause flickering.