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.