“We all know that NanoLeaf LED panels are quite expensive. However, you can create today’s project at a very affordable price.
Let’s start with the things you will need: a 12V power supply, a perfboard, an ESP8266 Wemos D1, 3 meters of WS2811 LED strips (enough to create 8 panels), a Mini 360 DC-to-DC buck converter, a DC power jack connector, 9 pieces of male 3-pin JST connector, 8 pieces of female 3-pin JST connector, solid wire, no more nails adhesive, and a 3D printer to print the panels.
3D Printing The NanoLeaf
The first thing we need to do is to print this beautiful 3D model of NanoLeaf from our generous friend on Thingiverse! I printed the base in black PLA, and for the cover, I printed it in white PLA to act as a diffuser.
Putting the LED Strip inside the bases
After completing that step, it’s time to place the LED strip inside the bases. We need approximately 35 cm in length to wrap around the interior of one base.
After placing the LED strip inside the bases, it’s time to solder the male and female wire connectors onto the LED strip. Pay attention to attaching the female connector to the incoming side of the LED, as indicated by a small arrow printed along the strip, and connect the male connector to the outgoing side of the LED. Be sure not to reverse this connection, as doing so could damage the LED or other electronic components. In my case, I’ve connected the red wire to the 12v, the black wire to the GND, and the yellow wire to the DIN connection.
Setting up the brain and the electronics
Now, it’s time to set up the brain and the electronics. The first thing we need to do is set up the ESP8266. To do this, simply connect it to your computer using a USB cable and navigate to the web address install.wled.me using your web browser.
Click the “install” button, then choose your board. In my case, it is COM13. After that, click “connect.” Once connected, click “install WLED” and proceed with the installation. Let it complete its process. Once the installation is done, click “next” and connect it to your Wi-Fi network.
Once the device is connected to the network, you can click “visit device” to access your GUI and find the IP address of your device.
Putting the electronics in the perfboard
Now, it’s time to place all the electronics on the perfboard. We’ll start with the ESP8266, followed by the female socket connector, and lastly, the mini 360 DC to DC buck converter.
Using a solid wire, we will use it as a pathway for our connections. For now, we will only attach a solid wire to the positive and negative connections of the socket connector leading to the mini 360 buck converter. We need to adjust the output of the buck converter to just slightly above 5v before connecting it to the ESP8266.
To do this, we need to use a multimeter and attach the alligator clip to the output of the mini 360 buck converter. Now, it’s time to turn the potentiometer with a small screwdriver until the reading is just slightly above 5v.
Next, it’s time to connect the output of the buck converter to the ESP8266. Additionally, I use a male 3 Pin JST connector from the ESP8266 to connect to the LED panels. The black wire is connected to the GND, and the yellow wire is connected to GPIO 12 of the ESP8266.”