Problems with ESP32

Simply stated I have 3 ESP32 developer kits installed in three unique installations and “Colors”, “Effects”, “Presets”, and “Playlists” run fine, except all three run “10 seconds and then freeze for 6 seconds” and cycle this way ad infinitum.

What causes this?


I wanted to try some ESP32’s with antennas. I set up two slightly modified from illustration on the Quick Start page, one setup like the 5 volt version and one setup like the 12 volt version.

The 5 volt version was a fully working 8266 device that I pulled out the 8266 and put in a ESP32 with appropriate wiring changes. The level shifter was the non-recommended version, but it worked with the 8266. There was a capacitor and a resistor, per Quick Start illustration. All grounds connected. Version 13.3.

The 12 volt version I wanted to use three pins to control three LED strings. It had 12x5 volt buck, three separate recommended level shifters, three resistors and no capacitors. All grounds connected. Version 13.3

The third ESP32 was on a 32 X 16 5-volt matrix. One ground connection and 2” antenna. Version 13.3 Sound Responsive.

Working on a test bench, the second one (12x5v) no matter which pins I used on the ESP32, the LEDs were bad, no similar patterns, not working together, flickering on all three 100 LED strings. I made sure all open connection points on all three shifters had a common ground. All good. Testing, I took all three all data lines of the level shifters, but left all grounds. Still flickering and bad LED patterns. I took resistors out of all three circuits. Flickering stopped, bad patterns mostly gone. I finally connect all data line to ONE pin. Flickering gone, patterns identical, but LEDs run 10 seconds and freeze for 6 seconds.

The first (5v sting) same problems, removed data from level shifter, removed resister and all LEDs better except 10 seconds on then 6 seconds frozen.

The 32x16 matrix is two 32x8 BTF wired together, one ground, no capacitor, no resistors unless built-in by manufacturer. All good except the 10sec x 6 sec freezing.

(Thank you note: “Peek” on matrix is excellent…bravo contributors)

ESP32 (5v LEDs) and (12v LEDs) have 6” antennas.
ESP32 (5v Matrix) has factory supplied 2” antenna.

I can communicate with all three with a iPhone or an iPad.

I cannot get UDP to work among them, no matter what direction send or receive is programmed. (Matrix not included in UDP)

Final installations: 5v indoors, 150 LEDs, 6” antenna, LEDs look good, no flickering, however persistent 10sec 6sec freezing, no UDP.
12v outdoors in fiberglass box 600 LEDs (200+200+200), ESP32 with 6” antenna. LEDs good, however persistent 10sec 6sec freezing, no UDP.
5v matrix indoors, 512 LEDs, 2” antenna, LEDs look good, however persistent 10sec 6sec freezing, no UDP.

First pixel no more than 18” from controller.

The 10sec on 6sec frozen how to fix? Defective ESP32’s?

Sync I can live without.

I’m hoping someone can tell me what I’ve done wrong in my first attempt with four ESP32. Two 13.3 and two with 13.3SR all four run their unique patterns for 10 seconds and freeze for 6-7 seconds.

Please, any possible ideas as to what I’ve done wrong?

Bad flash? How did you do it?

Unique patterns?

All flashed using web interface via Microsoft Edge on a Mac M1 laptop. Appeared to work flawlessly.

Most effects work as presets within a playlist. Presets play following playlist order properly then each preset plays for very nearly 10 seconds and freezes for 6 to 7 seconds consistently in the 4pm to 11pm display period.

Each device is dissimilar in construction.

Stop reading, to prevent boredom…

Three 200 count strips on one pin, no level shifters, no resisters, no capacitors 12volt, Drok 12x5v buck (was built per recommendations three strips on three pins, three shifter, three resistors, then I stripped it down to find problem)

One 120 count strip on one pin, 12 pin level shifter, one capacitor, one resistor
5 volt

Two 32x16 factory matrix made into 32x32 matrix, no resistors, no capacitors, no level shifters 5volt

One hand made 22x22 484 count matrix with full blown proper device. Three legged 300 watt 12volt power supply with each leg fused to 5 amp Drok 12x5v buck, proper level shifter (SN75??), two different sized resistors, plenty of inserted power wiring. Grounds connected on Drok and ESP32, NOTHING on LED string.

Grounds from high side to low side of Droks(if used) all Drok have Displays and set at 5.1 v out or there about

The clock on three 200 string device has never displayed correct time. Changed server to different time servers like “north america etc etc Its outdoors in weather proof box and it’s headed to negative wind chill and I’m not go out to work on it !!

Thanks for your interest


A couple of pattern cycles. Run, freeze, run, freeze….

Source: “PEEK” of 22x22 484 count ws2811, WLED .13.3SR on ESP32

FYI, SR is another branch by other people.

Two additional discoveries:

  1. an ESP8266 WLED v11.1 in the same house runs patterns continuously
    another ESP8266 WLED v12.0 in the same house runs patterns continuously

  2. if all wi-fi (modem, router, hubs and primary mesh) is turned off, the ESP32 WLED 14.0-b1 runs patterns continuously.

Still too many variables to determine problem with ESP32 freezing, although appears to be wi-fi related.