“DIY” WLED Powered LED Strip

by Kenny Myburgh on December 07, 2020

Why build a LED strip ?

You can purchase pre-built, consumer grade LED light strips from you local supplier which come packaged with a remote control. Some even have the ability to be controlled from an app on your smartphone. 

Don’t get me wrong these lights have their place as they are cost effective and absolutely fine for simpler applications around the house or office should you want to improve the overall look of a boring shelf, door or crown molding. But….. that is pretty much where it ends. 

For something a bit more flashy and possibly grabbing the neighbors attention while you at it during Halloween or Christmas there are more options in the form of  some digital(individually addressable) LED strips!


Know the Difference     


Without complicating the topic too much, it is important to note that there are two basic kinds of LED strips in the form of an Analogue and Digital option. 


Analogue strips 

Analogue LED strips are static as far as the RGB colour options go and the colour selected at any given time applies to the entire strip. Other than having the ability to change its colour you can  adjust the brightness. These LED Strips are mostly used to create scenes or a mood within an area of the house, office or outdoors.

Analogue LED strips usually make use of 12V, 24V or 220V input. They are usually sold in 5 meter lengths which have approximately 60 LED’s per meter.

Digital strips 

Digital strips (also referred to as individually addressable) main benefit is that you can control every single LED diode separately , creating various colours in different sections of one LED strip. The most common types of digital strips are WS2811, WS2812 and WS2812

Digital LED strips usually operate at 5 volts, although there are also some 12V or 24V versions. Similar to the analogue these LED strips can be can be used for decorative purposes but the main advantage of this type of LED strip is that it has a  much larger spectrum of options and effects which allows you to be more flexible and innovative with your LED projects.



WLED Installation and integration to Home Assistant


WLED is open source software to operate on a ESP8266 or ESP32 device which can control any of the WS11, WS2812B or WS2813 LED strips. Awesome work by the developer Aircookie!


When WLED is installed on a micro controller such as the ESP8266 it essentially runs a web server that can be accessed by Home Assistant to change light effects, dim and brightness and even create scenes. 


WLED also has its own iOS and Android application which can be used to control your LED strip.



Hardware Requirements:

  • LOLIN/Wemos D1 Mini (Controller)
  • WS2811/WS2812/WS2812 LED Strip (Usually Sold per meter)
  • 5V 3 Amp Power Supply(Additional power may need to be injected for longer LED strips)
  • Micro USB Cable
  • Jumper Wire
  • Enclosure (Controller cover)

Build Diagram


Flashing the device

  • Download and install the esptool
  • Download the latest release binary file for WLED



Binary Name For devices
WLED_0.x.x_ESP8266.bin NodeMCU, Wemos D1 mini, ESP-12, all ESP8266 with 4MB flash. Recommended. (The ledpin is GPIO2 in this case.)

  • Flash the software to the ESP Module. (Use Binary specified in the previous step if you are using a Wemos/LOLIN D1 Mini)
  • Once flashed the LED strip will light up Orange. You may find that only some of the LED’s turn on which can be ignored as this will be resolved in the last step.


Configuring the device

  • A new SSID will appear under your computer’s WiFi devices called WLED-AP. Connect and use default password wled1234
  • You should be redirected to the WLED control panel via the browser. If not, open the browser and enter in the URL bar.
  • Join your home WiFi by selecting the correct SSID and and password. 
  • Choose an available IP to specify for your WLED web service. This will be the IP address used when configured in Home Assistant and Mobile WLED App.

  • Next, browse to the Config menu and select LED Preferences
  • Count the number of LED’s is on the strip and enter the number under LED Count

Additional Resources