More Blinky = More Better – The WS2812FX Library

The WS2812 is an amazing piece of technology. 30 years ago, high brightness LEDs didn’t even exist yet. Now, you can score RGB LEDs that even take all the hard work out of controlling and addressing them! But as ever, we can do better.

Riffing on the ever popular Adafruit NeoPixel library, [Harm] created the WS2812FX library. The library has a whole laundry list of effects to run on your blinkenlights – from the exciting Hyper Sparkle to the calming Breathe inspired by Apple devices. The fantastic thing about this library is that it can greatly shorten development time of your garden-variety blinkables – hook up your WS2812s, pick your effect, and you’re done.

[Harm]’s gone and done the hard yards, porting this to a bevy of platforms – testing it on the Arduino Nano, Uno, Micro and ESP8266. As a proof of concept, they’ve also put together a great demonstration of the software – building some cute and stylish Christmas decorations from wood, aluminium, and hacked up Christmas light housings. Combining it with an ESP8266 & an app, the effects can be controlled from a smartphone over WiFi. The assembly video on YouTube shows the build process, using screws and nails to create an attractive frame using aluminium sheet.

This project is a great example of how libraries and modern hardware allow us to stand on the shoulders of giants. It’s quicker than ever to build amazingly capable projects with more LEDs than ever. Over the years we’ve seen plenty great WS2812 projects, like this sunrise alarm clock or this portable rave staff.
As always, blink hard, or go home. Video after the break.

16 thoughts on “More Blinky = More Better – The WS2812FX Library

    1. I think the point is that it’s a great library to do effects with. You can implement the library any way you want. You can use an UNO and a button if you want. The cool thing about the esp8266 in this case is that there is no app. The control interface is built in as a webserver. Just put the ip of the unit into your browser and you have control.

    2. How many ways did you feel like skinning a given cat?

      eBay has heaps of WS2812 strips with power supplies and controllers. Some with remotes, some not.

      You can drive them via an Arduino rather than an ESP8266 if that’s your board of choice.

      A quick Google suggests you can control them with an RPi also.

      Suspect I am not understanding your point though. Can you clarify?

    1. There’s a kind-of schematic on my website at the bottom of the page: http://www.kitesurfer1404.de/tech/led-star/en Direct link: http://images.kitesurfer1404.de/show/led-star_05.jpg
      It’s just the bare minimum to get an ESP8266 running (3.3V regulator), some capacitors and a 7 pixel WS2812 circle. Skip the video, it’s just a wooden star shape with aluminium flashing nailed to it. Nothing special. The cabochon (fairground light cap) must be sourced local, I guess. I got mine from http://landwermann-technik.de/produkt-kategorie/beleuchtung-und-zubehoer/eco-e14/

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