Looking to commission code and hardware advice for a wireless project


I've been commissioned to create the following installation for a wedding ceremony- it's a bunch of lanterns hanging from an arbor w/ glowing balls inside them, lit by programmable superbright LEDs, and the glow of the balls fades in and out slightly in time to a prerecording (just the audio file data, nothing actually played aloud) of a heartbeat. The whole thing needs to be wirelessly controlled, because I have to turn it on and off from my seat.

I've been building electronics as a hobby for a few years, but am still very new when it comes to arduino and coding, and I just don't have the know-how to pull this off on my own in the relatively tight time frame I have to complete it (about a month).

I can provide more specifics on the type of hardware I had been planning on using for this, but am also open to suggestion on what would be best to use to accomplish this project.

Please PM me with what a reasonable rate would be to complete the code/offer hardware guidance for this w/i the stated time frame, and feel free to ask any additional questions you may have about the project.


You need some coding experience to make this. I hope you can find someone to help.
How about the power ? Where does that come from ?
The "superbright" part is confusing. Is it just one color ? for example warm white ?
Using a normal LED lamp for the mains voltage can be bright, but that might not be safe.
A ESP32 with a relay or mosfet and 12V leds is a safe solution.

I have to be serious for a moment: What kind of wedding is that ? So much pressure ! A wedding should not be so demanding.

how many lanterns ? can they be all wired together ?
can they be powered from a wall outlet?

My plan had been to use Ultra Bright 3 Watt Chainable NeoPixel LED - WS2811 from adafruit for the LEDs (Ultra Bright 3 Watt Chainable NeoPixel LED [WS2811] : ID 4544 : $3.50 : Adafruit Industries, Unique & fun DIY electronics and kits). The reason they need to be so bright is because the ceremony is being held outside in broad daylight, so the colors need to be visible against the sunlight (I'm somewhat compensating for this by sewing a covering for the arbor the lanterns will be hung from, but still).

And honestly, don't get me started about this wedding. :tired_face: It's my BFF's little sister getting married, and her fiance's family is pretty loaded and is paying for everything, so she's just gone completely off the deep end. I myself am getting married in October (a big part of the reason I don't have the time to try and figure this out on my own), and I'M not even having anything 1/100th as complicated as this for my own ceremony, lol.

They haven't given me an answer about how many lanterns yet, but my guess is around 8-10 is the max that would fit on the arbor. Theoretically they could all be wired together, but the length of wire between each unit would probably be a few feet long, and would have to be wired together on site. Likewise, theoretically they can be powered from a wall outlet, but the ceremony is being held outside (unless it rains), so we'd likely have to run a few hundred feet of extension cord (which I can actually do; my partner is a lighting designer and owns a good 1000' of extension cabling).

I'd be concerned about how visible those LEDs would be in full sunlight, so I suggest that you get one and a suitable power supply right away so you can verify that they're suitable.

Off the top of my head, you would need at least the following per lantern

2 x 18650 batteries
Adafruit Neopixel
5V regulator (like this)
maybe a custom PCB

1 Like

I had exactly the same concern, and have already tested them out. Thanks for the thought, though, I appreciate it!

Thank you so much for the suggestions, I will definitely look into this!

Does the audio bit matter? If you're not going to use the sounds, you could do some analysis of the data and just figure out the timing of fade in fade out and store the data required in progmem.

I think you better run some tests before you commit to one system or another. One thing, I think you will have problems successfully illuminating the inside of a sphere that is in full sunlight...

If they are all wired you need only one arduino and it makes it easier to sync them up if you want the heart pulse to be the same on all units.
If this is for daylight then having a solid power source helps too… depends on the type of lights you choose.

Does the heartbeat rate vary in the recording? Since noone will actually be listening to the recording, it seems like a complicated way of producing a steady or at most slightly varying rate for fading the lights, unless there is some special significance to that recording. Regardless, the suggesting in reply #10 to pre-process the audio would be much easier than having the arduino analyze it in real time, particularly since driving addressable LEDs disrupts the millis/micros timing.