View All Posts
Want to keep up to date with the latest posts and videos? Subscribe to the newsletter
HELP SUPPORT MY WORK: If you're feeling flush then please stop by Patreon Or you can make a one off donation via ko-fi

I got several of these crystal balls for Christmas from AliExpress.

Crystal Balls

They are pretty nice, but the default display is pretty basic. The PCB is on the minimal side of things with just three resistors and six LEDs.

Not much here

So I decided to do an upgrade. I’ve added a ESP32-S3-MINI, a microphone, and support for battery power!


It’s pretty cool - I can now use the amazing WLED software to control my balls!

I’ve put the KiCAD project up here. It still amazed me how simple a PCB for an ESP32-S3 module is.


As always, the video is full of more details - so have a watch and let me know what you think!


Related Posts

Dave come see - it's beautiful man - Hey folks, I revisited my flame lamp project from 2020 and gave it a serious upgrade - we're talking a leap from 300 to a whopping 1024 LEDs thanks to these nifty flexible WS2812 panels. I've kitted it out with a versatile PCB from my Crystal Balls project, tackled power injection challenges and kept things cool with a current-limiting power supply. I had to wrestle with 3D printing and getting the panels to behave inside the lamp's tube, but the end result? A mesmerizing blaze of colors with gorgeous fire effect, all orchestrated by the WLED software. It's like my very own Phoenix rising from the 2020 ashes. Curious to see this electronic inferno come to life? Check out my videos for the full, fiery scoop!
Self Organising WS2811 LEDs - I've successfully used addressable WS2811 LED strings and an ESP-CAM board to create an adjustable lighting system. The best part is that the image processing code can be duplicated in JavaScript which allows you to use a plain dev board to drive the LEDs instead of needing a camera on your ESP32 board. If you want to replicate this project, you'll need your own ESP32 dev board and some addressable LEDs. After figuring out the location of each LED in 2D space, it's easy to map from each LED's x and y location onto a pattern you want to show on the frame buffer. Desiring to keep it accessible, I've posted detailed instructions and my sample code on GitHub, making sure anyone with basic knowledge can undertake this fun technological DIY project!
Minimalist Microcontroller: Building a Bare-Bones Dev Board - In a thrilling DIY endeavour, I attempted to build the most minimalist ESP32 dev board possible. Diving deep into the schematic of the ESP32 S3 WROOM module, I chopped out the non-essentials and whittled our needs down to bare bones. The experiment saw me juggling USB data lines and voltage regulators, waving goodbye to an array of capacitors and connectors and boldly embracing the simplicity of direct connections. Despite a few hitches, the miniature Frankenboard came alive, proving that sometimes less is least in the world of microcontrollers.
Energy Scavenging - Can we keep our electronics running indefinitely? - After a previous unsuccessful attempt to power my Christmas lights with solar power, I've decided to try run my ultra-energy efficient ePaper weather display on solar energy. This display, already low on power consumption thanks to ESP32's deep sleep mode, is now paired with the BQ25570 energy-harvesting board and lithium cell to test if solar power can keep it running. Despite the limited Scottish winter sun, initial results look promising. With a little more code tinkering, it is my belief that the weather display might just keep running indefinitely and never need charging again.
Interesting LED Curtain - Dove into hacking an LED curtain and discovered that despite lacking visible daisy chaining, it's hackable! With LEDs pre-programmed for their position, it can receive collective data and recognize individual signals. Flashed WLED firmware onto an ESP32 and, voila, it lit up beautifully, even supporting 2D grid patterns for cool visuals. The key components: a BLE SoC, buffer IC for level shifting, and a curious way of LED data handling that's cleverly efficient.

Related Videos

Look at My Shiny Crystal Balls - Custom ESP32 PCB With WLED. - Step right up, folks, for the grand unveiling of my shiny new crystal balls – yes, crystal balls. I've transformed ordinary AliExpress pieces into juggernauts of light and color, all powered by the splendid WLED software. Dive deep with me into the nitty-gritty of the underlying electronics and come face-to-face with the true beauty of voltage measurements (I promise, it's more riveting than it sounds). While the original circuit boards from AliExpress might not thrill, my beefed-up version invites gasps of wonder, with microphone-controlled LEDs throwing light in a million dazzling ways. Join me as I chronicle my journey through schematic revisions, components selection, and technological trickery – in short, the wild ride that has led to this epic macOS light show.
Custom ESP32 PCB Soldering - Watch the process of soldering and testing a custom ESP32 circuit board for a Moon Lamp project, featuring various components like a linear regulator, output drivers, and indicator LEDs.
Magic LEDs: Self-Organizing with ESP32 CAM & Simple Image Processing! - Unleash your creativity and transform chaos into order using an ESP32 camera board, image processing, and a string of WS2811 RGB LEDs. Find out how wiring, level shifting, and a simple web interface bring this mesmerizing project to life.
Lovely High Res E-Paper Display - Just when we thought we'd done with our mailbag, some exciting new stuff tips up. This time, we've got a soldering kit, a fun-looking Dash, and extra bonus, an ink plate 10, which is a cool e-paper display from Soldered. We've unboxed it, pulling out a board with an esp32 module, an SD card, and a battery connector. One of the major selling points is its open-source nature, you can download all the schematics from GitHub, and for those inclined, learn about how to build pcbs. Also showcased a Simon Says game soldering kit, despite my modest soldering skills (we all need practice, eh?), it turned out to be good fun. Plus, we've got a Dev board fitted with an at Mega 328p and an ultra-bright ws2812 RGB LED. Let's see if I can turn this e-paper display into a weather display or maybe you have more exciting ideas, drop them down in the comments!
Lots of Stuff - And a NEW PCB! It's a rare mailbag video. - In today's episode, I'm unboxing some goodies from PCB way - my super tiny esp32 breakout boards, which I'm planning to use to recreate a mini TV complete with speakers and a display. Also received some convenient adapter boards for easier testing. Excited to explore a new Arduino Nano esp32 based on a different, tinier module, and contrasting it with other products like the Tiny Pico. Also up for testing is a new mini wear electronic load compared to my old one, and an ATX power adapter for more USB ports. I'll be testing power banks, playing with inexpensive yellow displays and nunchucks for fun gaming projects, and testing out an RGB bead curtain with hackable possibilities. Also, under my ongoing experiments is a Raspberry Pi zero, turning into a 'Doom' playing device with added sound and game controllers. Finally, an air quality measuring device for detecting air particles, CO2 levels, humidity, temperature and other parameters is up for exploration as well. A whole array of fun projects queued up, so stay tuned!
HELP SUPPORT MY WORK: If you're feeling flush then please stop by Patreon Or you can make a one off donation via ko-fi
Want to keep up to date with the latest posts and videos? Subscribe to the newsletter
Blog Logo

Chris Greening


> Image


A collection of slightly mad projects, instructive/educational videos, and generally interesting stuff. Building projects around the Arduino and ESP32 platforms - we'll be exploring AI, Computer Vision, Audio, 3D Printing - it may get a bit eclectic...

View All Posts