New controller SP511E

The newest update to the SP501E controller just hit the shelves. Like the SP501E, it has an ESP8285 chip with 2MB flash. Unlike the SP501E, it has dual outputs (on a single pin), includes 3 case buttons, built in mic, and a 38 key IR remote. It also sells for slightly less at $12 on Amazon and under $8 on AliExpress. At this time, they are still so new, that there is no US stock on Amazon. So there isn’t much point in paying 50% more for something that is still being shipped from China. The AliExpress seller I linked to got my order to me in just over 2 weeks.

The SP511E board differs from the SP501E. But you can use this guide (Update: use the guide for the SP511E below) to install the WLED firmware. And the new board even has labels on the RS232 pads. After you have WLED installed, you can use OTA. I was also able to power the board directly from the USB-UART controller and did not have to use the separate DC adapter as in the guide. (Update) I wrote a tutorial for flashing the SP511E. Please use this guide instead as it is easy to rip off the pads when soldering pins to them.

For firmware, you can use the SP501E config, but that will mean one of your buttons wont work. Here’s the PIO config for the SP511E.

board = esp_wroom_02
platform = ${common.platform_wled_default}
board_build.ldscript = ${common.ldscript_2m512k}
build_flags = ${common.build_flags_esp8266} -D LEDPIN=3 -D BTNPIN=2 -D IRPIN=5 -D WLED_MAX_BUTTONS=3
lib_deps = ${esp8266.lib_deps}

Here are the pin configs:
Data: 3
IR: 5
“M” button: 13
Power button: 2
“S” button: 14

I have the remote configured with JSON remote. I need to test it a bit more, but it will be available on in a day or two.


There is a chance of getting the mic pin?

Yeah I’ll get it for you. The SR build is too big to do OTA updates and I don’t want to solder the wires back on. When the next batch comes in, I’ll load up SR.

Are there small footprint binaries that allow OTA? Like ESPHome or Tasmota?

Yea, maybe to much tasks for esp8266, but it would be nice to try.

Oh wow, this would be perfect for SR, especially if someone can find a way to squeeze OTA updates into it, thanks so much for the heads up on this!

Update. The SR branch that supports ESP8266 doesn’t let you change sound pin through ui. So you’d have to compile, flash, test, repeat until you found the right pin. Not sure it is worth it when the SR folks have moved on from that platform. If having sound visualization is important, I’d probably just leave the stock FairyNest firmware on it. They aren’t bad really. The FairyNest app isn’t great and requires you to register though.

Back to standard WLED, the config for the remote has been added.

And tips for flashing, do not follow the flashing guide that I linked to in soldering a pin to the pad. The rigid pins will provide all the leverage you need to rip the pads from the board. If you are going to solder, cut the pin off and solder the wire. But I would recommend not soldering at all. If you don’t have a pogo pin programming clip, the long male/female header like you get with a D1 mini are springy enough to hold in place for the 60 seconds it takes to flash these. Type in the esptool command, press pins in place with one hand, with the other plug adapter in to usb and hit enter.

The guide also said to power the board with a separate power supply. But I was able to use use the 3v3 pin on the CP2102 to flash both SP511E and SP501E.

This is what I used to program 3 boards in about 5 minutes. Notice I took the plastic end off the ground wire and soldered a second wire to it to ground IO1.

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I have a 3d-printed pogo assembly for the sp501e, but thought about the long-pin approach as well.

The pads are the same spacing and order on both boards. So you can program both with the same setup as long as your clip can reach the pads with are much further from the edge of the SP511E board.

Ok, so i order 2 devices, think i’m gonna follow your advice, with one of them i Will try the original firmware for sr, and the other going to forget that and flash wled.

Do you have the compiled version for this device? I am not that “advanced” with wled to do that. I have sp501e but i copyed the bin file for wled in tasmota repositor :grimacing:.

Guess its time to dive o to this…

@srg74 is our unofficial firmware keeper. Would you mind adding a SP511E build to your repo?

If you can’t, I’ll put one up when I return next week. I’m also going to put up an article and YouTube video on how to flash the SP501 and SP511 to WLED in under 2 minutes.

You can use the sp501 binary, if you don’t mind some of the case buttons not working. Use 0.13.0b2 if you want the remote to work.

Done. WLED-wemos-shield/SP511E.bin at master · srg74/WLED-wemos-shield · GitHub

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I’ll “spread the Word” to my country foruns when you release the vídeo :grin:.

Ok, thats why i asked you, i really want to have all the buttons available ( love buttons and multi click :nerd_face:) and the ir remote.

@srg74 really cool having that bin. :+1:

Ok my Controllers just arrived. I tried the fairynest app but didnt like it. I flashed one of them and with the fresh bin file and without soldering, like suggested, and it worked out really fine. First time i tried wled with ir remote and it,s amazing the facility it is to configure ( the json for remote need a bit of adjust thow).

One thing i didn,t like: this Controller seems to not like 12v power Supply, has it didnt light UP an ws2811 strings i have, neither with fairynest nor wled, althow it is on and controlable in both apps.

With 5v ps it works just fine, either with ws2811, but better with ws2812 (normal).

edit: omg almost killed my fresh 5V ws2811 🤦…

It was designed so you could easily configure your remotes to suit your needs. And you wouldn’t be the first to fry 5v lights by accidentally plugging in a 12v adapter.

I got another batch of SP511E’s in today. The good news is that I got Sound Reactive working. The bad news is that you will have to use SR’s ESP8266 tree and ESP32s are getting all of the love in SR. Until the 0.13 changes from WLED (AC) are pulled in, the IR remote and 2 of the 3 buttons will not work. Below is the config for platformio.ini. I left the max buttons and IR flags. They won’t help right now, but when the SR folks pull in the upstream changes from 0.13, you’ll be ready.

board = esp_wroom_02
platform = ${common.platform_wled_default}
platform_packages = ${common.platform_packages}
board_build.ldscript = ${common.ldscript_2m512k}
build_flags = ${common.build_flags_esp8266} -D LEDPIN=3 -D BTNPIN=2 -D IRPIN=5 -D WLED_MAX_BUTTONS=3 -D WLED_DISABLE_MQTT
build_unflags = ${common.build_unflags}

Oh and you’ll have to bump the gain up to 40 or 50. Also, OTA works with both the AC and SR builds now.


What do you mean by ESP8266 tree?

Do you mean SR is giving love to ESP32’s but not so much for ESP8266’s? And because of that, the SP511E which has an ESP8266, will not get full SR function - which we (I) already knew because the FFT math is only done on ESP32’s because ESP8266’s do not have the speed and power to perform the frequency analysis to do things per frequency ranges or groupings.

I wish I knew what you meant exactly about the “The bad news” for SP511E’s. I intend on purchasing quite a few SP511E dual strip versions. Do you have dual or single strip SP511E’s working with SR?

I see some interesting SR options with all variations of dual strip support - mirror, reverse, extend across both strips, independent strips with SR - which on ESP8266 might be part of the bad news you mention.

I’m not WLED/SR savvy to know what options are restricted to ESP32’s other than things requiring FFT calculations.

I assume a supervisory WLED/SR ESP32 can still coordinate with WLED/SR ESP8266’s, and that SP511E’s in the ESP8266 tree are capable of participating with a controlling ESP82.

Do you have any WLED/SR projects in the works or completed with the SP511E’s?

As you can tell, I’m very interested in your progress, ideas, and especially your posted results - thanks for sharing!