tree, you must first provide Wi-Fi credentials so the tree
can connect to your local network. If the ESP8266 has not
-een connected to the Wi-Fi network previously, it will
create a wireless access point called NeoPixel TreeAP that
you must connect to with your computer.
Once that is done, with a browser go to 192.168.4.1
and you will be presented with a page for assigning
credentials. When you click on the SSID of your network
and then specify the password, the ESP8266 should take
down the access point and attempt to establish a
connection to your Wi-Fi network. You can monitor the
status of this process if you have the Arduino IDE’s serial
Once you establish a connection to the Wi-Fi
network, the ESP8266 will remember the credentials going
forward. You should never have to go through this process
again, unless you move the NeoPixel LED tree to another
network or location.
With Wi-Fi setup complete, change your computer
back to your normal Wi-Fi network and navigate your
browser to 192.168.0.3. If all is well, you should see the
web page (Figures 11 and 12) you will use to control the
NeoPixel LED tree.
In the middle of the page is a long list of display
pattern buttons that you can click on. If a display mode
allows its color to be
configured, you can
click on the hue strip
on the left to set a
color; you can then
click on the middle
strip to set the
At the bottom of
the page, you can
change the overall
brightness of the
tree and the speed
at which the display
patterns run. The
Auto mode selects a
new display pattern
randomly every 30
seconds. It also
selects a random
random speed the
display pattern will
run with. The Off mode makes the tree appear to be off,
but it is still listening for display pattern changes from the
UI (user interface).
Does the world need yet another blinky thing?
Probably not, but that’s never stopped me from building
anything. The NeoPixel LED tree is a beautiful addition to
my collection of blinky things and would make a great gift
for someone who likes such items.
Show a child how to control the tree via a browser
and watch them sit for a long time clicking the screen and
seeing what the tree does. It surprised me initially how fast
the tree reacts to changes made in the browser; it is
virtually instantaneous. Even without the LEDs lit up, the
laser cut tree is kind of nice to look at as the wood has
nice burned edges.
In its current form, the NeoPixel LED tree is for
decoration/fun only. There may be, however, some serious
uses for such a device. The tree could be used as a night
light in a child’s room. With changes to the software, the
tree could be used for the “Thinking Of You” device I
wrote about in the November 2015 issue of Nuts & Volts.
It could also be repurposed as a display showing whether
22 November 2017
■ FIGURE 11. Top portion of web UI for
controlling NeoPixel LED tree.
■ FIGURE 12.
Bottom portion of
Web UI for
NeoPixel LED tree.