It has been far too long since I updated this thread. Since I last posted, I decided that I didn't want to construct LED strips to cover the entire perimeter of the room, moved to a different apartment with a built-in shelf perfect for placing a strip of LEDs on top, constructed a set of modular strips, and today, built a little controller. In a future post, I'll add a more comprehensive update on the engineering of the modular strips, why I'm pretty happy with the design, and why they're terribly tedious to construct. At least I learned to socket the buck converters so I could easily swap them out when I made them emit the magic smoke!
A few days ago, I asked geekboy1011 his advice on controller hardware. PartyMode 2.0
used a home-grown Arduino-based controller, with a Bluetooth serial adapter interfacing to an Android app to control it. I wanted to spiff up the controller a bit, including making it respond to certain API-type events (for example, subtly flashing notification colors if emails or other types of messages arrived in my various accounts). Although I pondered ESP-based solutions and a few others, geekboy1011 strongly opined prioritizing convenience and prototyping speed over trying to use the least powerful hardware available to achieve the given goals, so I went with one of my Raspberry Pi Zeros that has been collecting dust for too many years. I used yet another of the buck converters to make 5V for it, removed the case from a tiny thumbdrive-style USB WiFi adapter, grabbed a USB port off of the Pi Zero's test pads, and topped it off with a 74LS32 hiding under the Pi Zero acting as a poor man's level-shifter to produce a 5V signal to control the LED strip. With rpi_ws281x
, a simple rainbow control program is working nicely.