Programmable Holiday Lights

I’m far from the only person to use addressable LED strips as holiday lights, so I won’t delve too deeply into the details. The project has been on my mind for a few years, as the annual endeavor to fix/install traditional holiday lights comes around, I’ve wanted to replace old-style lights with addressable RGB LEDs so I could program the lights for any given holiday.

I ended up using three of the WS2815 strips in 5 meter lengths to cover the full length of the eaves of my house. These are 12V strips, and I feed the strips at both ends of each strip. They are controlled by an ESP32 in a weatherproof enclosure at one end of the strips.

I’ve read some reports that a level shifter is required if using a 3.3V microcontroller, but it appears that the strips I have are happy with 3.3V control signals.

I’m using a spare server power supply with a cheap power meter to run the string. I may swap the supply at some point as the fans a louder than I’d like, but otherwise it’s a good reliable power supply.

Now I’ll be able to program different patterns and color schemes for any given holiday without having to physically change out the lights. I’ve already made color schemes for Halloween and Thanksgiving, as well as a firework burst pattern for New Years.

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