New DYI Ardunio controlled Landscape Lighting

I’m new to the Forum and Ardunio so please forgive me if I break any rules with this post, or ask stupid questions.

I’m having an in-ground pool installed in my backyard and am looking at installing some landscape lighting around the pool and landscaping. When I started looking at the different lighting kits I ran across LEDs and that brought me to Ardunio.
I like DYI projects and this opens up a lot of new possibilities. So let me list my end state and you can tell me if it’s doable with Ardunio.
Install two zones of lights

Bollards (post lights) with RGB LED’s to light up pool decking and pathways (6 or 7) wired in series
RGB LED Spotlights to light up the landscaping foliage (5 or 6) wired in series
Have the ability to program both zones with different animations and control via WiFi through an IPAD
Possibly have the ability to sync the animations to music (preferably with some type of MP3 player interface rather than a sound pickup).
I plan on breaking this project down to small objectives since I have no experience with Ardunio or programming.

My first purchase will be:

  1. ESP8266 ESP-12E WIFI Wireless Dev Board for Arduino IDE UNO WeMos D1
  2. WS2812B 5V 150-LED RGB Flexible LED Light Strip,16.4FT,White PCB,Individual Addressable LEDs
  3. MB-102 MB102 Solderless Breadboard + Power Supply + Jumper Cable Kits For Arduino
  4. 1000 uF Capacitor
  5. 470 Ohms Resistor
  6. 5V, 5A power supply

The plan is to get the lights working then the WiFi
Next will be to purchase additional controllers and lights and get them communicating, using a master slave configuration.

I found numerous youtube and other references on syncing music to lights but the all seem to use a sound pickup or microphone. Is it possible to output a digital signal from the MP3 player to the LED’s? I’m thinking the music has to be converted to some type of data that is recognizable by the light strip.

Am I way out in left field or is this doable?
Thanks for any replies.

Adding a couple of example wiring layouts.

Added a couple of wiring diagrams for hooking up 6 different strips. Series or Parallel?

Ardunio Layout.pdf (17.8 KB)

ESP8266 Layout.pdf (17.8 KB)

Parallel.pdf (17.8 KB)

Series.pdf (25.3 KB)

The plan is to get the lights working then the WiFi

That is a valid approach. So, don't start with an ESP8266. If your electronics experience is limited, buy an Uno starter kit and work through the demos, it will save you tons of grief.

The ESP826 isn't really an Arduino proper, it is a WiFi controller that had its core libraries ported to the Arduino environment by third parties. It's a 3.3 volt device with limited I/O compared to an Uno. Jumping right into to an ESP8266 may turn a learning curve into a wall, IMO.

Of course YMMV.

Hi, It looks like a nice project, the learning curve will be up to you, but it looks like you have done some research to get the list you have.

The solderless board will be good for getting your prototype up and running, but in the long term you will have to decide on how to connect it more permanently. As its a one off you can use solder strip or protoboards.

The solderless board uses spring contacts and they are not reliable for long term projects and they have a limited current capacity.

The WS2812B is quoted at 9W/m you have 5m so 9 * 5 = 45W P=VI I = P / V = 45 / 5 = 9A You will need a 5V 10A supply, preferably just for the LED strip.

Tom.... :)

Thanks for the replies. Starting with the ESP826 may be a mistake I'm making due to lack of experience in this area. I figured I could program the board to light up the lights first before programing the WiFi aspect. I figured their may be less connections if the wireless was already on the board to start with. The proto boards is also a good suggestion, just have to brush up on my soldering skills. The parts I've ordered so far will take a week or so to arrive, so I may just order some of the suggested components as well, if I don't use them for this project, there's always another one. Thanks again, can use all the help I can.

Added a few possible way to wire the different zone together. Will this work? Posted pdf’s on original post.

I'm having issues getting to understand Arduino's AVR after starting off on ESP8266... so that goes both ways. ESP8266 isn't that different, and I really love how you can update it over the air. Very convenient.

It works at 3.3V so you'll just about never need level shifters - more and more sensors nowadays work at 3.3V so Arduinos need level shifters to not blow them up.

Less I/O indeed - but the question is, is it enough? Can't tell from the description OP gave. Port expanders help, for many LEDs maybe one or more PWM chips that communicate over I2C.

Anyway, if your end goal is WiFi controlled, go for the ESP8266 now. You'll run into some issues of course but it's not that bad. The main thing: remember that there's a background WiFi stack that needs to be allowed to run often. So no long blocking loops, or if you have a long loop make sure there's a yield() call in it that allows for the background processes to run. Otherwise you get those dreaded "wdt reset" crashes.

Also do read PieterP's "ESP beginner's guide". Very useful. It assumes you work with the barebones ESP modules so all the talk about pull-up resistors you may skip, just be aware that there are special ports (and you have to look for how it's mapped to WeMOS's D pins) that have special functions and as such limited I/O capabilities.

Hey Osprey37,

Just stumbled across this post and just wanted to ask how the project finished up? Looking to do something similar.