600 RGB Holiday Lights

WLED on a D1 Mini for front house Holiday Lights

I have a similar setup running on the front door and the “portal” window on the front of the house, but have wanted a permanent “holiday light” install for some time. Recently my friend Dee has been wanting to do the same, so I was once again interested in carrying this project through, in time for Christmas 2020 hopefully. These aren’t “put them up and take them down” lights, as I want to be able to use them year round like others do and light up the house for special dates such as Independence Day, Valentines, Veterans day, etc. Additionally as Dee pointed out, they can be lit up on low white or amber brightness every so many LEDs for a normal outside lighting feature.

The setup is rather simple. WS8312B LED strings driven by a D1 Mini with WLED running on it. I really like to use my own code, and I do have my own code running on our Christmas tree and our grand daughters little house, but WLED is more robust, recovers better, and can stand alone without my Home Assistant home automation system if needed. Dee had found WLED and told me about it and once I tried it I was convinced it was the easiest and best way to go.

WLED is installed and all the parts are now in hand. I estimated I needed at least 20.62 meters of strips for this. Unfortunately the strips come in 5 meter lengths so I’m about .62 meters short that I’ll have to either buy another strip, or find some left overs I have from other projects. Time will tell on that one.

Not the prettiest of plans but it helped to visualize the various breaks I have to make and extensions needed to get across the front of the house. There are larger dormers for each window and the front door that have to be bypassed to get a better across the front look. I am hoping this doesn’t break up the effects too much but that’s how it is.

Originally I had looked at using the bulb type of RGB lights, but they just had that “Christmas lights up year round” feel to them so I moved to the strips. These will be mounted up under the eaves, facing towards the house for more of an under glow appearance. Hopefully it will look like I want it to. The down side is these are hard to find in any affordable 12v versions, so I reverted back to 5v versions. With 5 volts there is more likelihood of voltage drops across the length, so there may have to be more power injection points. I’m going to try to do just the ends, if that doesn’t work and there are obvious brightness issues in the middle, I’ll insert another power point in the middle.

Included with the LED strips are a handful of mounts to use to hang the strips, but they are too few and will not work in the location I want to put them so I designed and 3D printed some to make the mounting hopefully easier and better. I also plan on putting the power packs under the eaves instead of trying to run long power runs so I needed to be able to mount them. I will have to water proof them but they should seal up with some effort. The strip mounts are on the left, the power pack mount on the right in the picture above.

These are already setup and tested so the next steps are designed a 3D printable housing for the D1 Mini to go under the eaves and get out and start mounting the strips with some help. Updates with install pictures and results eventually… hopefully before Christmas!

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