Low cost, low power fairy string lights

There’s a length of stranded wire between the string and the controller. I cut and stripped the stranded, and just soldered it straight to the pads on the ESP32.

BTW, I don’t recommend these wires. Of the two that I bought, one had a problem in a splice (20M cable seems to be two 10M cables spliced), which I redid (scraping epoxy, soldering, then sealing with hot-glue). The other just had about six lights go out after two days of operation.

I ordered more of these before the one string failed… I’ll be looking at returning them.

@Artacus Thanks I’ll look in to the JST connectors. Backup is to just cut and strip one end of some f/f jumper wires, strip the light wires, and twist them together.

@strydyr That’s unfortunate to hear. Any chance you discovered a better alternative? I’ve found some more 3 wire fairy lights on Amazon that are USB powered and seem to be ARGB but hard to know for certain if they will work with WLED.

I didn’t find an ideal answer, since I’m trying to get this done ASAP. By the time I priced power supplies, light strings, and shipping, it seemed hard to beat “Twinkly” on price and convenience. Their 600 light string does RGBW without any injection headaches, though I wish the wire was white. It looks like I’ll be committing to their ecosystem, rather than WLED supported devices.

I might play a bit with the three strings I’ve already cut-up, but not in any places that I need to crawl around on a roof to reach.

That’s fair enough. I just want to light a mini Christmas tree so I can tinker with it a bit. FWIW I have an older Twinkly Cone and I’m not impressed with the stability with the app and firmware to be honest. I think it only connects to 2.4 GHz WiFi but my phone and everything else is on 5 GHz so they don’t play nice together in terms of control and staying connected. But I think they may have improved things with the newer versions of the hardware and software. I wonder if I can hack the cone to run it with WLED… havn’t found anyone who has done that with Twinkly stuff yet.

For more than a year I have been using this type of tape (20 meters) powered by a cellular telefan power supply.
Not a single pixel went out.
Do you have resistance in the signal circuit? Maybe this is the reason

I haven’t had any problem with these burning out and I’ve installed hundreds of meters. I have had issues with a similar product with with a music controller attached. The wires thinner and some pixels would occasionally flash random colors.

How many meters of continuous wire of this type did you connect to the ESP 8622?
Will I be able to connect as many more to the existing 20 meters (200 diodes)? Accordingly powering them from the other side!

And the question is whether these tapes can be powered by two different power supplies.
For example, on one side of the tape one power supply, on the opposite side of the other.

They are fixed address, so not really great to chain together. And unlike WS21x, the data signal isn’t modified and boosted at each pixel.

If you want long runs, use BTF’s WS2812b fairy lights. They are only in 5m sections and are a tad more expensive ($25 for 20m vs $17 for the fixed address).

As for power injection, you shouldn’t need it. They don’t draw much power. But if you have a long run the same tips on the WLED site for strings and strips would apply. I would go with a 12v supply with buck converters at the injection points.

Is it possible to somehow change this fixed address in these diodes, so that it would be possible to connect two segments of 200 diodes in each?

Somehow they programmed them initially. But we have no information on how that is done.

Echoing @Artacus’ reply no data on reprogramming, but using multiple GPIO’s on an ESP32 is often a reasonable solution.

WLED will let you treat that as one long string.

It only becomes a problem when an LED dies and you want to replace it with a new one. You would need a replacement with the exact same address of the dead one. :slightly_frowning_face:

As an update, I got the Samnet fairylight string (nb looks like they are not currently available on aliexpress anymore) and hooked it up to a NodeMCU running WLED. I connected them by cutting off the USB controller from the string, stripped the ends of the wires, used wago connectors to connect them to a female 3-pin JST-SM connector, then used breadboard jumpers from the NodeMCU pins to the JST connector. Powered the NodeMCU from the micro-usb port. Kind of hacky but I wanted to avoid soldering for now until I can build a more permanent enclousure for the board. Been running them for a few hours a day for the last week with no issues so far.

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I really like the newer version of these fairy lights. They come with insulated wire instead of epoxy coated copper. So there are more durable, less snaggy and you can solder them without the burning epoxy fumes. This version behave more like WS281x in that they are not fixed address and data wire is in the center. Color order is still RGB instead of GRB so they are not actually WS281x.

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@Artacus Thanks for the tip on this new version!