Evil Genius Labs
Custom Electronic Art
Custom Electronic Art
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For free shipping worldwide, you can contact us to order and have them shipped to you directly from the PCB manufacturer. It takes a few weeks, and they require PCBs be ordered in multiples of three.
This is a shield/breakout for the ESP32 DevKitC board that makes it easy to control addressable RGB LEDs such as WS2811, WS2812 (Adafruit NeoPixels), SK6812, APA102 (Adafruit DotStars), and SK9822. The ESP32 DevKitC is an excellent Wi-Fi and Bluetooth development board based on the ES32. This shield supports 8x parallel output.
I made this shield because I was hand-wiring this same layout on perma-proto boards, which was time-consuming and unprofessional looking.
The shield includes a 74HCT245 level shifter, which is the most well-regarded high speed level shifter I’ve found. This shifts the 3.3V logic level of the ESP32 to the 5V expected by addressable RGB LEDs. These projects often work fine without a level shifter, until they don’t.
Eight digital output pins (0, 2, 4, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17) are run through the level shifter. It supports parallel output, thanks to Sam Guyer’s excellent work on FastLED ESP32 support.
The shield also includes places for data line resistors as recommended when driving LEDs. A large capacitor should be connected across the power and ground connections near the LEDs. A barrel connector can be added to connect a power supply, but the connector and PCB are only rated for 2.5A. That’s enough for about 50 LEDs at solid white, full brightness. For larger quantities, power should be connected directly to the LEDs, and/or brightness should be limited in software.
Parts that are not included, but are required to assemble:
Open source example firmware and web application: https://github.com/jasoncoon/esp32-fastled-webserver
Note: Double-check the position, alignment, and orientation of each component very carefully before soldering!
If you’re new to soldering, I highly recommend reading through a good soldering tutorial, such as the ones by Adafruit and SparkFun.
I used this 3D printed vise to hold the PCB while soldering.
I also built one of these DIY flexible soldering helping hands.
Flip the board over and solder one pin on the chip, pressing down on the PCB to ensure the chip is seated firmly.
Make sure the chip is still seated properly before proceeding to solder the rest of the pins.
Insert the 0.1uF capacitor, flip over and solder.
Trim all the leads with a pair of wire cutters. Flush diagonal cutters work best.
Insert the power barrel jack.
I left the wires on the spools, which makes it easier to handle.
With a small amount of solder on the tip of the iron, heat the wire right on the bottom of the pad.
Melt a fair amount of solder on the wire and pad. The insulation on the wire may start to melt as the wire heats up. If so, push the wire through the hole, from the top towards the bottom, to ensure no wire is left exposed on top.
Repeat this process for the other wires.