Getting started with WLED and the WLED Plugin

Posted on
Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:22 am
neilk offline
Posts: 510
Joined: Jul 13, 2015
Location: Reading, UK

Getting started with WLED and the WLED Plugin

So what do I need to do to get going....

The WLED software package runs on the ESP8266 microcontroller https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESP8266 (amongst others), which is sometimes referred to as a NodeMCU which is actually the firmware that was provided for the ESP8266 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NodeMCU

This https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXvtxwK3jRk video from DrZzzs does a far better job of explaining things than I can. (this also includes mounting, LED selection and Power Supply Advice)

The developer Aircookie behind WLED provides full source code, but also provides downloadable binaries that are pre-compiled for the ESP8266 and that can be flashed onto the device using a very simple flashing tool https://github.com/esphome/esphome-flasher/releases which is available for Mac and PC. (Confession time, I used a PC to flash the ESP8266 as you may find serial port issues, I just used my Daughters laptop and even that was a fiddle downloading the right serial driver).

ESP8266's are very cheap and available on both Amazon and Ebay. I bought https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07M8Q38LK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1 which includes 3 for £12.99 in the UK.

Once you have ESPFLasher running you can get an "oven ready" compiled image from the latest releases at http://wled.me which at the time of writing is https://github.com/Aircoookie/WLED/releases/tag/v0.8.6 You need the "WLED_0.8.6_ESP8266.bin" or equivalent, with other versions for other controller hardware.

Once you successfully flash the ESP8266 (the flasher tool is pretty self explanatory, you just select the serial port for the ESP8266 and the binary you downloaded), you can continue to power it from the USB cable (or any MicroUSB power supply), or indeed if you have it you final PSU you will use with the LED's. You may need to hit the reset button if you leave it connected to the USB source you flashed it from.

Once flashed the WLED should broadcast it's own Wifi " WLED-AP" which you can connect to using the default password "wled1234". The default IP is, IP 4.3.2.1. and you can point your browser to this, or download the app for your phone. In the WLED configuration you can then enter your local network details to connect to your Wifi, the IP to use etc. If for whatever reason the WLED cannot connect to the network you specify, it will again publish "WLED-AP", if you have more than one you can also change the AP name the WLED uses which could be useful if you have multiple devices.

You can then move on to connecting and configuring your lights (advice on their selection in the DrZzzs video as well). Remember to configure the WLED LED settings to match the number of LED's you have connected as you may think your string/strip is faulty only lighting the first portion of the strip.

I will leave you to figure out wiring and power supply requirements, and of course take all necessary precautions when dealing with the mains side, and with lights mounted outdoors.

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