ESP32 WLED Driver Board With USB Type-C Power Delivery | Voltlog #419

Same as most people these days I do have a couple of LED tapes in my apartment to provide some ambient or work area illumination. The ones I have are warm white 12V tapes and they’re typically controlled via some sort of touch dimmer which again is a pretty typical low cost commercially available solution.

But given how the rest of my lights are fully dimmable and integrated into HomeAssistant for remote control I started thinking how I could do that for the LED tapes as well. And I think you know where this is going, yup, I’ve designed my own LED driver board, this is it, based on an ESP32 and WLED compatible but more on that in a second.

First let me mention the list of requirements that I had, before I started designing this.

My number #1 requirement was to get rid of the typical LED tape frame style power supply units which are generally big and bulky, pretty noisy in terms of electro-magnetic radiation. I have plans for installing some small lengths of LED tape and there is no point in having like a 20W power supply if I’m only going to need something like 10W at most. So I figured why not design this LED driver board to take in USB Type-C power supply input, with power delivery support. This way I could power it from one of these usb-c wall adapters. Simple, clean and reliable if used with a high quality adapter. In addition to that, I would argue that it’s safer too when used with a high quality adapter because you no longer have to deal with mains wiring.

Number #2 requirement was to have an ESP32 in there so that I could integrate this into my smart home management system. Having an ESP32 will give me plenty of processing power to run either Tasmota or ESPHome or even better WLED which specializes on LED driving capability.

Number #3 requirement was the ability to drive both digital LED tape like SK6812 or WS2812 type and analog type LED tape which you have to PWM on individual channels. I wanted up to 4 analog channels so that I could drive an RGBW tape and at least 2 digital channels but I ended up wiring 4 digital channels because I had more available pins.

Number #4 requirement was to have the whole system small so that it could be put in a small enclosure, maybe even enclosed into a wall distribution box. 

Now considering these requirements one by one, I’ve successfully implemented 1 to 3, not so much on #4, because the whole system is not as small as I would have liked it to be. When fitted inside the enclosure it measures roughly 90*70*30mm and ideally I would have like it to be half of this size, something like 90*30*30mm would have been great but I just couldn’t fit everything in that size unless I was going to do a double sided assembly which I tend to avoid because it significantly raises prototyping and manufacturing costs.

So let me start with presenting some of the technical specs that I have on this driver board:

  • USB Type-C power input with power delivery, based on this dip switch selection, it will negotiate for 5V or 12V. For safety purposes I have also added a manual jumper that needs to be manually selected to route the resulting voltage rail to the 5V side or to the 12V side because I figured there might be edge cases where the user has a 5V led tape connected and then accidentally requests 12V with the dip switch which would result in 12V being applied to the tape.
  • We have a secondary power input via screw terminal for those that do not want to use USB Type-C.
  • We have 4 mosfets with PWM for driving RGBW 12V LED tapes.
  • We have 4 digital LED channels, these are properly connected via a high-speed buffer line driver that also level shifts the signals to 5V.
  • We have an I2S microphone which WLED supports by default for sound reactive lighting.
  • We have an integrated IR receiver which once again WLED support by default for remote control.
  • We have a touch input GPIO where you could connect some improvised touch sensing point if you would like to implement touch control.
  • With some of the remaining available GPIO I’ve created this I2C standard 0.1 inch header so that you may for example connect additional stuff, like a temperature/humidity sensor.

8W Rechargeable e-Cig Soldering Iron Review & Teardown | Voltlog #307

These days there is a wide choice of portable soldering iron and I think very few people still consider gas powered soldering irons who were quite popular 10-15 years ago because of their portability. 

Now you can get USB powered soldering irons like this one for about $6, it’s rated for 8W, takes a 5V USB input and you can plug this into any power bank and fix a solder joint remotely. I’ve used this a couple of times while doing some electrical work on a car and it was very convenient.

You can also get more powerful, more polished soldering iron like the TS100 which normally takes a DC input from a laptop power brick in the 20V range but since USB Type-C with Power Delivery is a popular thing these days, you can also power it from a power bank capable of at least 12V. But this will be in the $50-60 range and you need to purchase a special power delivery trigger cable separately.

However today’s video is not about these two options, I’m gonna show you something that fits in between these two. It’s delivered rather impressively in a cheap plastic bag but let’s see what we get in here. Looks like they included a small amount of solder wire, that’s nice, every soldering iron should come with a small amount of solder. We get one of these small foldable sheet stands so you won’t burn something when setting the iron on a surface. This looks like our soldering iron tip and inside here we must have the soldering iron body itself and a charging cable

Voltlog #273 – InTheMail

Welcome to a new InTheMail, the series that will touch both your passion for electronics and your bank account at the same time. Before I get started I’m gonna take a second to reminding you to subscribe to the channel and hit the bell notification icon because that’s the only way you will know for sure when I upload new videos. Now let’s start with this small esp32 based development board, it has a built-in 1.14 inch color tft lcd and I think that’s a nice feature of this dev board because if you want to connect some sensors and see the readings in real time, you don’t need to wire a display externally it’s built-in.

Another cool feature is that we have built-in battery charging at 500mA and you can power this board through the provided two pin jst connector with a one cell lipo battery which will then charge when connected to power via the USB Type-C port. There is also a CP2104 for the usb to serial conversion and that makes it a pretty well balanced development board for the ESP32.

The board comes loaded with a test program from TTGO, it shows this image then cycles through red, green, blue on the LCD which is a good idea because you can verify the board is functioning ok after the long journey it takes from the market in shenzhen to your door and we all know how well these packages are protected during shipping.

Voltlog #269 – 11.11 Shopping Suggestions For Makers

Welcome to a new Voltlog, it’s November and that means the biggest shopping event happening in Asia is coming up, I’m talking about the 11th of november. There are some numbers published for last years event and it seems they registered more than 30 billion in 24 hours in sales, yes you heard right, billions. So it’s a very big event with nice discounts and opportunities for makers like us to get some new gear. That’s why I prepared this video which will be published 1-2 days before the event so you can get some ideas of stuff that you could purchase. I assembled a list, these are products that I’ve tested and used myself which I think are good value for money and a nice addition to any hobbyist lab.

Voltlog #259 – InTheMail

Welcome to a new InTheMail, the series that will touch both your passion for electronics and your bank account at the same time. We’re going to start with this small white box, which looks very uninteresting from the outside but contains something really nice, it’s a machined aluminium heatsink, designed specifically for the raspberry pi 4 and inside the box you get the two halves of the heatsink plus some mounting screws and silicone thermal pads.

There is a decent amount of aluminium in this heatsink, and we can see it has these rectangular raised islands for contact with the main chips on the board, so this is where the silicone pads will go. This is a completely passive heatsink and that’s what I was looking for but if you want more cooling power these are also actively cooled heatsink. feel like I should test this in a separate video to see how efficient it is when compared to a no heatsink solution which we already know doesn’t work well with the raspberry pi as it gets pretty hot. So we’ll leave this for a future video.

Voltlog #236 – InTheMail

Welcome to a new InTheMail, the series that will touch both your passion for electronics and your bank account at the same time.

Voltlog #226 – InTheMail

Welcome to a new InTheMail, the series that will touch both your passion for electronics and your bank account at the same time. We’re gonna start with this set of tweezers from Vetus. A few months ago I was considering buying some more expensive electronics tweezers but the good ones are really expensive when you include shipping as well so in the end I decided to give these a try. I’ve had Vetus tweezers in the past and some were good some were bad. This time I asked multiple sellers on Aliexpress if the tweezers are original Vetus or not, some responded and promised their goods are original. Coincidentally or not those who said their products are original also had higher prices. In my experience with suppliers, they never lie about the origins of a product if you directly ask them so I tend to believe that what I have here are genuine Vetus tweezers



Voltlog #200 – InTheMail

Welcome to a new voltlog, the first one in 2019 and what better way to start the year than with a InTheMail video the series that will touch both your passion for electronics and your bank account at the same time. As some of you might know I’ve recently created my patreon page so for those that would like to support me making these videos, you will find a link the description below, any pledge amount is appreciated, even 1$, just imagine half of my subscribers pledging 1$ a month. And if you can’t offer any donations, that’s fine too, my content will continue to be free.

Links for all of the items shown in the video will be in the video description, on youtube.

Voltlog #106 – InTheMail

Hello and welcome to a new InTheMail, this one is shot from the new Voltlog lab. I haven’t finished setting everything up in here so the sound & lighting might not be to the same level that I had before but please bare with me I’m working on solving everything. Since I haven’t installed all my equipment I thought it’s better if I do an InTheMail episode so let’s get started.

Here are links to all the items shown in this video: