RGB LED lighting strips are everywhere. Many of these strips come with a handy infrared (IR) remote control that will allow you to select different colors, change brightness, and fade from one color to the next. They're very easy to install and use, but can be rather a disappointment for the discerning LED connoisseur.

The pre-programed animations and available colors on these cheap RGB strips are very basic. You can get ordinary solid colors or annoying blink modes, but buttery smooth subtle color shifts, gradients, and beautiful mesmerizing animations are far beyond the reach of these "dumb" RGB strips. For subtlety and beauty, you need NeoPixels - "smart" individually addressable LED lights that can be controlled with code.

This guide will show you how to get beautiful, subtle NeoPixel animations up and running and controllable with a simple IR remote in minutes, with no coding required.

The free, open-source WLED app allows you to create your own NeoPixel animations, choosing from hundreds of effects and color palettes. Automatically map your custom animations to the buttons on your IR remote, so you can choose solid colors or run your beautiful custom animations from the same controller.

Parts

Angled shot of purple square-shaped microcontroller.
This dev board is like when you're watching a super-hero movie and the protagonist shows up in a totally amazing costume in the third act and you're like 'OMG! That's...
Video of a driver board lighting up an RGBW half-meter long LED strip.
Our QT Py boards are a great way to make very small microcontroller projects that pack a ton of power - and now we have a way for you to quickly add a
Adafruit NeoPixel LED Strip with 3-pin JST PH Connector lit up rainbow
Plug in and glow, this Adafruit NeoPixel LED Strip with JST PH Connector has 30 total LEDs in a "60 LED per meter" spacing,...
IR (Infrared) Receiver Sensor plugged into breadboard
IR sensor tuned to 38KHz, perfect for receiving commands from a TV remote control. Runs at 3V to 5V so it's great for any microcontroller.To use, connect pin 3 (all the...

WLED software will work with a wide variety of different remotes. For this tutorial I'm using this 44-key remote from Amazon.

1 x Stemma Connector
Stemma Connector with Female Sockets
1 x Standard Heat Shrink
Heat Shrink Tubing in various sizes
1 x USB C cable
USB C to USB A Cable
1 x Female Headers
Short Female Headers

Tools & Accessories

  • Heat Gun
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Soldering iron & accessories

This guide was first published on Dec 06, 2022. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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