On Air Light


Six months ago (February 16, 2021) I ordered an “On Air” LED sign for about $15.
The idea behind this was to have a more visible indication that my webcam was on, so that my dad wouldn’t barge into the room (as he has historically, even after telling him that I had a meeting, and even despite locking the door.. he uses the key to unlock it).

The device originally came with a USB to DC barrel jack adapter, with an inline switch; however I had in mind to integrate the light with my HomeAssistant setup at home.

In order to do this, I’d need to have some sort of wireless controller. Whilst complete solutions did exist (i.e. MagicHome WiFi LED Controller), I have previously found them to be unreliable - as they would disconnect if settings were made too quickly.

Instead I opted to using some ESP8266 / ESP32 devices, which I had bought in bulk.
When they arrived, a few months later (wohoo shipping delays) I flashed the ESPHome firmware onto the ESP32 (WeMos D1 Mini), and tested things out, it went well!

The LED strip within the neon sign (which I do not have a model) was (supposedly) rated for 5V as it came with a USB to DC barrel jack adapter, however I was pleased to see it still operate on the 3.3V supply that the ESP32’s voltage regulator outputted.

The ESPHome firmware also had inbuilt effect integrations, which allowed me to add a ‘pulsing’ effect - that continually dimmed the sign, rather than for it to simply be a static brightness.

With my severely lacking 3D printing skills, I created an abomination of an enclosure (I still have no idea how to properly calibrate my print settings 😭). Though personally it didn’t matter too much, as it was not something that is very visible (the board is hidden on the inside of the room)

In any case, it works!
Here’s to hoping COVID-19 lockdowns in NSW, Australia will end soon…
Online meetings are great and all, butifeveryonecouldpleasepleasepleeeeasseturnontheirwebcamsthankyouverymuch

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