Category Archives: nodemcu

New batch of NodeMCU ESP8266 Modules


Received a huge batch of ESP8266 based NodeMCU modules today from Ali Express. Some of these will be used for a special installation project at Faux Mo for next Years MOFO Festival in Hobart Tasmania. The rest are for a new batch of LED Masks and some spares. These are great little devices that can run at 180MHz and can drive both WS2812b and APA102 LED Strips

Structured interactivity

I have had long thought sessions about how to make my LED creations interactive. Toying with sensors, buttons, sliders etc… has often wielded “meh” results. In the end, a web/app based approach will probably be best. But how do i make it un-boring? The idea of the Idle render, what is rendered when no interactivity is around, is very important. I had an idea last night about a structured render algorithm that could be made to create really interesting patterns and be structurally interactive.

Most of my render algorithms are very similar, varying slightly in certain ways:

  • Create a color object using an index value starting at 0 ending at “6 x Maximum value of Each LED”
  • Create an X and Y coordinate using either a random number bound to the LED map, or a certain pattern
  • Apply color to a pixel, line, box or circle at X Y co-ordinates
  • render
  • add a delay of d milliseconds
  • apply a canvas shift function of some sort
  • apply a canvas fade function with a fade value f
  • repeat

The above creates some amazingly diverse animations. I plan to write up a simple web interface that allows you to control each step and then send the updates to the MU via wifi.

Here is a rough draft of a web app:


This sends a POST data packet at each change in the interface that looks like this:


LED Mask – V4

I started work on a new version of the LED mask. I recently found a less creepy plastic face mask, and decided to work my magic on it:

First thing to do is to map out the LED arrangements. This is key to how each strip is connected and how the software drives the LEDs. You can see the strip placement markers and the direction of data below.

 wpid-20150919_142458-1.jpg  This is the new mask I found.

It has a kinder, more neutral appearance…

Next I cut up the LED strips and prep them each for placement on the mask. I usually mark out the required length of connector wires on the mask and cut them up, prep them with solder and markers

 wpid-20150919_144719-1.jpg  This is general layout of the mask in 2 dimensions

Finally I connect each strip together in the order assigned in step 1, and the stick the strips to the mask:

wpid-20150920_170734-1.jpg Tada!

And here is a test animation of the new mask in action:

This version uses the NodeMCU V1 module. Great little piece of hardware!

A couple of new pieces

First off we have the lovely pink lady from many a Coco Poco Loco party:

wpid-20150915_114513.jpg This is in fact a very silly looking fiber glass model of a naked lady. It has a base with a normal bulb inside.

The outside is covered in small glass pieces and the inside is covered in jagged fiber glass that cut my arm up pretty badly

I was asked to work my magic and here it is:

I put a strip in the head, onto the bust, all the way up the spine and along the lower parts of the front facing legs. The whole thing uses about 68 LEDs from a WS2812b strip. I used a NodeMCU for this, just for shits and giggles and to see if i could get it to drive WS2812B strips. I used THIS modified NeoPixel driver with the NodeMCU module running at 160Mhz. Note you must use the UART driven library on Pin 4. Here is another example:

Next up is Jords Disco Shoulder Pads

wpid-20150917_230735-1.jpg Disco Pads?

I used a Arduino Nano for this along side a WS2812B LED Strip. The results is hillarious:

My best piece to date in my opinion:

Here are some #discopads please enjoy them #burningmanaustralia #burningseed #ledwearables #arduino #apa102 #ledstrip A video posted by Elec Dash Tron Dot Org (@wow_elec_tron) on

The LED Sphere

I have had this idea in my head ever since i saw these cheap lighting fixtures at Ikea:

These comprise of 2 outdoor lights. the bottoms are hollowed out and fixed together using some screws.

Each half has 182 LEDs arranged in 13 x 14pixel strips.  You end up with a 28 x 13 pixel grid to work with, and for magic to begin.

The sphere is controlled using a NodeMcu clone that runs an ESP8266 core. It easily accepts Arduino code via the latest Arduino IDE so porting my code was relatively simple. The only change required was the FastLED library which isn’t yet supported on the ESP8266 core. The APA102 LED strips can be driven using standard SPI so rewriting the driver was pretty easy. The SPI library for the NodeMcu is even better than the arduino as it has frame based transmition where you can just shoot out a huge buffer of bytes at one go, instead of byte by byte. The performance increase is massive.

NodeMCU – A super cheap and lightweight IOT device

Dear Intel, Thank you for wasting my time with your rubbish IOT devices. I can surely say that i wont touch the Galileo’s or the Edison again..or at least until they fix the software that cripples the Edison.

In comes the Node MCU which is a dev board for the ESP8266 Wifi Module.


For $15 AUD you get a 180Mhz device that has SPI, a ton of memory and built in and WIFI that boots and connects in under 5 seconds. Not only that, you can upload Arduino code just the same as any Arduino on board  which makes porting existing projects super easy!

I have been playing around with these with thanks to my new friend Rob. I was quickly and easiely able to port my LED software onto these and make it net connected..