Ambilight with WiFi on ESP8266

TL;DR I built an Ambilight clone that listens for MQTT messages over WiFi when it’s not receiving serial data. This allows it to be controlled by Home Assistant and vicariously the Google Assistant. The code lives at https://github.com/heathbar/tv-backlight. Board Swap My first Ambilight clone served me quite well. I started with a system like the one…

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Basement Accent Lighting

When I built out my basement man-cave, I wanted to do something unique with accent lighting. I designed and built three light boxes that I attached to the ceiling. On the bottom are dimmable warm-white LEDs, randomly dispersed to mimic stars. This creates a great ambiance for watching movies. Around the edges of the top…

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Office Lights: Revisited

My office lights were a problematic project from the very beginning. I struggled to get the TLC5940 LED drivers to correctly light the LED strips and when I finally got that working I shoved it all in the wall and sealed it up before anything could go wrong. The problem was: the TLC5940 chips were…

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Xbox 360: Repurposed

I’ve never had a shortage of RROD Xbox 360s so when I needed to raise my monitor up a few inches, I had the perfect thing. Since my desk shares a wall with the utility room, I decided to move the tower in there and ran some extra long USB/Video/Speaker/etc. cables through the wall. This…

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Word Clock: Switching Lights

Progress is coming slowly on the word clocks. I’ve assembled the LED driver boards. These boards host a series of standard serial-in parallel-out 595 shift registers that pump into ULN2003A NPN darlington transistor arrays. The schematic is pretty straightforward. The arduino tells the shift registers which pins to turn on/off. When a pin goes high…

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Silencing a Phone

As someone who spends more of the work day on the phone than not, I appreciate my headset. So when the jack on my phone started acting up, I was quick to get it working again. Recently, my phone started emitting a high pitch tone whenever a headset was attached. I tried multiple headsets to…

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Word Clock: Building the Frame

I’ve started building a word clock. For the most part, I’m copying this one, but I’m hoping to include an improvement or two. Since the electronics piece is pretty straightforward, I began by building the frame the lights for each word from bleeding into the next. With the frame fully assembled, it was time to…

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Laser Switch Completed

I have finished my laser switch project (all related posts here). The system works as follows: I have a laser pointer hacked into a duck hunt gun. When I pull the trigger on the gun, the laser points out from the barrel of the gun. On the wall, I have four picture frames, each with…

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