How I made my own Hue light strips for cheap

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Ive experimented with quite a lot of distant work preparations over the past decade. From a bed room setup to a sofa or a eating desk, I’ve finished all of it. But when I just lately began rebuilding my house workplace, I knew good lighting and sufficient of it was going to be important. This was all an important as a result of regardless of having massive home windows, my condo simply doesnt get sufficient pure light. Its well documented that lighting can have an effect on temper, productiveness, and psychological well being.

Our picks: The greatest sensible bulbs | The greatest sensible lamps

However, as a wise house buff, there was no method I could be happy by a couple of desk lamps. Sure I wished wonderful lighting, however I additionally wished to construct automations across the lights. I wanted my lights to modify on the second I walked into the room. Someone on the entrance door? I need my DIY linear light to blink. Hosting a celebration? How about cranking up the RGB fade results. You catch my drift. Now, Philips Hue lights can obtain numerous that. The catch is it’s extremely costly to purchase into the system.

I wasn’t going to let costly Hue strips get in the way in which of my sensible light plans.

For the meters of LED strips I was going to want to realize my objective, shopping for into the Hue platform wouldve required me to take out a small mortgage. However, an costly light wasnt going to get in the way in which of my hopes and goals. Like any self-respecting tinkerer, I knew the reply. It was time to dig out the soldering iron and construct my own sensible LED lights.

DIY hue strip led lights

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

A sensible LED strip is fairly easy by design. It makes use of a mixture of LED diodes, a controller board, and an influence provide. Individually addressable LEDs allow you to get a lot of the identical results as Hue lights as a result of they are often managed, properly, individually. In reality, you’ll be able to consider them as particular person pixels in an extended chain. It is feasible to vary colours or management the state of every particular person LED on the strip. Moreover, you’ll be able to combine and match them to generate shades or fascinating results.

For my function, I selected a mixture of SK812 ($54) and WS2812B ($32) strips for my desk and ambient lighting. The solely useful distinction between the 2 is that the previous provides an additional white diode for higher management over white lighting.

Setting up your own system avoids proprietary lock-in and allows you to simply combine the lights into many house automation platforms.

With the LED strips sorted, the subsequent step was to decide on a controller. Sure it’s doable to get Wi-Fi-based controller boards from Amazon, however in case you are constructing one thing, you would possibly as properly go the entire hog. Pre-built controller boards would possibly ship with their own apps, or include a distant, however they lack the flexibility of with the ability to plug into present techniques. Building your own controller additionally means that you could synchronize a number of light strips to match settings, bridge the lights into a house automation software program, and add extra performance over time. Its the plain path to take.

building your own rgb led controller board 1

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Since I was basing my undertaking on the open-source WLED softwareI opted to go for the cheap-as-chips ESP8266-based Node MCU. This $10 board helps Wi-Fi, powers on by way of micro-USB, and has greater than sufficient smarts to manage virtually a thousand LEDs. It could be greater than adequate for my wants.

Installing the software program onto the controller could not have been simpler. Its a easy matter of connecting the Node MCU to your pc over USB, heading over to the WLED website, deciding on your board, and tapping set up. Once put in, the board will even create its own entry level to pair with your own home Wi-Fi community.

Book case with all RGB lights on

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

From there, getting the board related to my LED strip was a simple matter of connecting three cables. One for constructive, one other for unfavorable, and a 3rd for the precise information connection between the controller and the LEDs. I tossed in an exterior energy provide as properly since my bookcase had near 500 LEDs.

Thats it. For a complete value of roughly $60, ie lower than a single 2m lengthy Philips Hue strip, I was in a position to make my own Wi-Fi controllable RGB lights. Between my bookcase and the duty light above my desk, Ive bought a complete of 14m of lighting, one thing that might have value me near $700 had I opted for the Hue ecosystem.

HomeAssistant smart LED lights

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Not solely can the lights be managed over Wi-Fi, however in addition they include an app and present up as an LED strip when paired with an Alexa-based speaker. Whats extra vital to me, nevertheless, is the truth that the lights combine superbly into my Home Assistant set up. I can construct no matter automation involves my thoughts and tie it into any light on my community.

Dig in: Here is how I consolidated my sensible house utilizing Home Assistant

I’ve already constructed an automation that takes movement detection enter from the digital camera above my entrance door to toggle on the light in my examine. Moreover, the system is infinitely extensible utilizing another additions I would possibly make sooner or later. Its this simplicity and extensibility which can be a real promoting level for taking the DIY strategy in direction of any electronics, together with sensible light strips.

My sensible lighting system is infinitely extensible with another additions I would possibly make sooner or later.

home assistant controls for multiple led segments

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

I get the attraction of shopping for into the Hue ecosystem. The firm has invested massively into constructing a big portfolio of switches, toggles, and accent merchandise that work with the lights. However, DIY RGB lights constructed on the WLED undertaking can obtain all of that and extra when utilized in mixture with Home Assistant. The software program ships with over 100 totally different built-in light scenes that go properly past easy brightness and shade controls. Using Home Assistant opens up the lights for management to any system that may be plugged into the house automation software program. Of course, which means any and all Zigbee-based merchandise together with these bought underneath the Hue badge. My movement detection automation, for instance, is taking enter information from a Ubiquiti Protect digital camera. This simply would not be doable utilizing Hue lights.

Look, I get that the DIY strategy can seem daunting. But the sheer quantity of documentation obtainable on the web makes it a lot much less of a problem. Not solely are you able to save a bit of cash going the DIY route, however it’s a nice studying expertise over a enjoyable weekend undertaking. As for me, Im already trying for nooks and crannies to stuff RGB lights in.

Go additional:I ditched shopper Wi-Fi routers and I advocate you do too

Have you constructed a DIY sensible house product earlier than?

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