A cost effective solution for driving a universe of pixels via E1.31 over WiFi. The controller itself fits in 1″ thin wall PVC to enable embedding with the fixture its controlling.
From a hardware perspective, the ESPixelStick is a pixel driver motherboard for the ESP8266 ESP-01 WiFi module. It provides proper power regulation for the module, a 5V tolerant programming interface, 5V buffer drive for the data line, configurable 5V/12V pixel support, fusing, and power connectors suitable for 5A of current.
From a software perspective, it is an E1.31 sACN (Streaming ACN) pixel controller that connects over a standard (802.11g/n) WiFi network. The firmware is open source and developed in the ESP8266 Arduino environment. It provides a web based configuration front-end and currently supports WS2811 / WS2812 pixels. The web based configuration is mobile friendly and makes configuration a breeze, thank to John Lassen’s web framework.
If you’re new to lighting control or DMX, I recommend doing a little reading on E1.31 sACN (Streaming ACN) which is the “DMX over Ethernet” standard. diychristmas.org and doityourselfchristmas.com are excellent resources to get you started in lighting control. Vixen 3 and xLights are two free and open source applications I recommend looking at to get you started in sequencing. Both are actively being developed and offer different angles on light sequencing.
Here are 4 modules being tested (one attached to each pixel column), driven by Vixen 3
The MiLight (or EasyBulb) is a Wifi controlled lighting system, similar to the popular Philips Hue. The MiLight comes out of China and can be found on the popular Alibaba website. The only UK distributor right now is SureCart.com selling the starter kit of 2 RGB bulbs and the wifi bridge for around 40 pounds ($65).
The official MiLight bulbs are LED and come in two flavours white or RGB (color changing). The bulbs are actually radio controlled, with the wifi bridge acting as a middle man, converting UDP packets sent over WiFi to radio signals. This is essentially how the Philips Hue system works too. The system can control MiLight bulbs, generic 2.4ghz LED bulbs and 2.4ghz LED strip lighting.
Out of the box, the lights can be controlled from any iDevice iphone, ipad, ipod. The Wifi Bridge can act as a hotspot that you connect to, or it can join an existing wifi point.
The instructions on syncing the lights with the wifi bridge are quite confusing. For those who are still trying to work out what to do; you need to turn the bulbs off and then connect to the wifi bridge from your iDevice. Once connected to the wifi bridge, run the controller app and swipe 3 times to the right until you get the RGB controller on the screen. Now turn the bulb on and press the S + button within 3 seconds. You can do each bulb individually, so you don’t need to run around trying to turn them all on at the same time.
The biggest question everyone has is whether the MiLight Bridge can be set to connect to your existing wifi network instead of acting as a hotspot. Surecart told me it could be done but couldn’t tell me how and the instruction booklet doesn’t mention it. After some playing, I worked out how it was done.