Whale Electronics' NodeLED Packs an ESP8266-Powered NodeMCU and 46 LEDs Into an Integrated Panel

With an integrated power supply, ESP8266 running NodeMCU firmware, and 46 LEDs, the NodeLED is designed to be a drop-in lighting board.

The panel includes the microcontroller, 46 LEDs, and a power supply. (📷: Whale Electronics)

Vancouver-based Whale Electronics has launched an LED panel with a difference: It incorporates both an integrated power supply and a fully-functional NodeMCU-based microcontroller, alongside 46 individually-addressable RGB LEDs.

"Existing LED arrays are just bare LEDs on a PCB, meaning that you have to mount both a microcontroller and a power supply in a case to be able to use them as general lighting," the company explains of the problem it aims to address. "The NodeLED was designed from the ground up to integrate everything needed to build DIY lighting projects on one PCB and allow everything to be powered by a single power cable of almost any voltage to make permanent deployment fast, easy, and clean."

The panel-shaped board includes an Espressif ESP8266 module as the driving microcontroller with Wi-Fi connectivity, the 46 RGB LEDs with a total light output claimed to be similar to a 60W incandescent lightbulb, and a power supply accepting a 7-28V input and with a 5V output for additional hardware — plus an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) input pin for an external sensor.

"[NodeLED is] a fully featured NodeMCU and switch mode power supply integrated with 46 WS2813 LEDs. With input voltages of up to 28V this little board is perfect for DIY smart home projects by allowing use of almost any power supply you may have laying around already."

"Since the NodeLED has all the same hardware as a real NodeMCU, you can easily program it using the Ardiuno IDE," Whale Electronics notes. "This allows you to create your own software from scratch or use an existing project. I personally use two panels as back-lighting on my computer monitor while running DiyHue firmware. This allows me to control them with the Philips Hue ecosystem and take full advantage of the Hue Sync software to sync the lights with my games."

The panels are now available, priced at $25 each, from the Whale Electronics Tindie store.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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