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AZMesh LED strip controller

PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:52 pm
by AshaiRey
What is AZMesh LED strip controller?
This LED strip controller isn't an ordinary LED strip controller. AZ_Mesh node, as the controller is called can drive to 10 meter LED strips each with it's own control. It can display any RGB color, pulsating it or cycle through rainbow colors at different speeds. Each LED strip has it's own ID and the mesh network can accommodate 255 ID's.

How do i control this Mesh node?
Each node can be controlled via a serial connection. And you will have full control over each LED string. The last command you give is stored in the controllers. You can connect a motion detector (NC) to the controller and that will fire off the last stored command each time motion is detected.

Is that all?
No, there is more. The use of a serial connection can be by-passed by using an AZ-Mesh router module. This is a webserver that serves webpages to let you control the LED strips via a webpage in a browser or with direct HTTP requests. The webserver then translates the request and send the right control string to then Mesh node.

That's cool but my WiFi is lacking range?
Well that's why i build this thing in the first place. All Mesh nodes are connected in there own secure mesh network. If there is any path from the first to the last node then your command will get there. If a node drops out but there is an other route further in the network then that path is taken. This means that your first and last node can be several hundred meters apart and you will still be able to control them.

There must be something less satisfying?
Yes maybe there is. The actual speed of the network is rather slow. So no instant lights ON of all LED strips but it takes some time to activate them all. However in my case the commands send into the mesh are only for setting the presets of the LED strips. Most of the time the LED strips are activated by the motion detectors only.

Re: AZMesh LED strip controller

PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:42 pm
by raymonvdm
Pics :-)

Re: AZMesh LED strip controller

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 3:18 pm
by AshaiRey
I'll try but it's rather hard to make something flashy about this. :)

This is the Mesh node i have in my garage. It's the entry point to the mesh network. Because i only have a WiFi signal available at that point i use a Mesh router (webserver) to get my commands into the netwerk.

AZMeshNode.jpg (131.78 KiB) Viewed 5761 times

As you can see it is build in a modulair fashion so if something breaks you only have to replace one part of it.
This i how it function
You want to turn on led string with ID 9 but that one is out of range for your local WiFi.
The command is send into the mesh network and each node sees if it got the ID. If not it will be forwarded to ALL nodes that it can reach. If the message arrives at a node that got the right ID then the message isn't forwarded anymore and will be executed. If a node receives a message that it already had processed by forwarding it or executing it then the message isn't forwarded anymore. This is to prevent that a message will hop endless around.
AZMeshNode01.jpg (37.88 KiB) Viewed 5761 times

The command it receives is stored locally so when a motion detector is connected to the node the stored settings is used to activate the light pattern. The code can handle call back messages such as notifying back to the WiFi AP that a motion detector has triggered. However for now i don't use that functionality because i don't have need for it.

Hopes this help a bit.

Re: AZMesh LED strip controller

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:58 pm
by Bwired
Nice Bram
any website for the controllers etc. ?
thanks Pieter

Re: AZMesh LED strip controller

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:34 am
by AshaiRey
All parts are from AliExpress.

Parts list pr 1 node
4 LED strips per node
(i just drive 10m strings instead of 5m) ... 0.0.nUm7Ad

2 RGB LED drivers ... 0.0.nUm7Ad

Power supply 12V 6A
I use a different one but order this one now. It has to come in a box outside in the garden ... 0.0.nUm7Ad

1 Wemos D1 Mini (2 if you want to use a router too. This is needed only once) ... 0.0.2dx0mL

Using cheap parts also means rhat you must accept crappy hardware from time to time.
The Wemos D1 mini is preferred because you can program it more easily and just via an USB cable. However the used FTDI chip isn't the best one so it fails sometimes. You can still program the Wemos via the RX/TX/GND pins. To do so you have to put pin D3 to GND and you are able to program them.
I find the ESP platform a very unstable platform to say atleast. It is an absolute must to have a good and stable power supply that can deliver atleast 300mA. Otherwise be prepared to retry flashing multiple time before you get a succesfull flash.

Ps. The Wemos is based on ESP8266 thus is a 3.3V device. However because the Wemos accepts also USB power there is also a 5V pin. It is possible to power the Wemos via this pin with 5V. This makes the wattage dissipation a bit friendlier for the power supply that converts the 12V power for the LED strips down to 5V instead of 3.3V This way you can power it with just one adapter.