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ESPixelStick Firmware

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This is the Arduino based ESPixelStick firmware for ESP8266 and ESP32 platforms. The ESPixelStick firmware supports the control of clock-less pixels, DMX512 devices and relays based upon your hardware platform. Pixel limitations are mostly based upon your desired refresh rate, around 800 pixels for a 25ms E1.31 source rate utilizing a single port controller like the ESPixelStick V3. DDP is supported as well along with Alexa and MQTT support for integration into home automation systems. On platforms with SD cards available, sequences from xLights may be uploaded for playback in either standalone or FPP Remote modes.

ESP-01 modules such as those on the ESPixelStick V1 and V2 are no longer supported as there is not enough flash space. If you have one of these controllers, ESPixelStick v3.2 is the latest supported release. At least 4MB of flash is required for ESP8266 platforms.


The recommended installation method is to download the latest stable release and use ESPSFlashTool within the release archive to flash a pre-compiled binary. Beta builds and Release Candidates will be tagged as Pre-release when available and ready for testing.

If you are interested in bleeding edge / un-tested builds, automated CI builds are generated for every code push and are available as Artifact attachments to the ESPixelStick CI workflow runs. Just click on the latest successful run and look for Release Archive towards the bottom. Note to download Artifact attachments though, you will have to be logged into GitHub.

If you would like to compile the project yourself and modify the source code, go down to Build Requirements.


Being open source, you are free to use the ESPixelStick firmware on the device of your choice. The code however is written specifically for the ESPixelStick. The ESPixelStick V3 utilizes a Wemos D1 Mini module and provides high current connectors, fusing, power filtering, reverse polarity protection, a differential output driver, SD card reader and proper logic level buffering. The ESPixelStick V3 is available for purchase from Forkineye and if you're in the US, it is available via Amazon as well. The proceeds go towards things like keeping my wife happy so I can work on this project :) The ESP32 version of the firmware is targeted for the Lolin D32 Pro. At this time, there is not a pre-made ESP32 controller so it is up to the user to roll their own buffer for the WS281x output and add appropriate power connectors. It does however have a SD card reader.

Build Requirements

The recommended way to build ESPixelStick is with PlatformIO. However, due to current issues with PlatformIO filesystem handling, Arduino IDE should be used for uploading the filesystem. Building with the Arduino IDE is supported, but not recommended.

Platform IO Instructions

  • Download and install Visual Studio Code.
  • Follow these instructions to install PlatformIO IDE for Visual Studio Code.
  • Either download and extract or clone the ESPixelStick repository.
  • Download and install Node.js and Gulp to build the web pages. Refer to the html README for more information.
  • Copy platformio_user.ini.sample to platformio_user.ini.
  • Open the project folder in Visual Studio Code.
  • Open platform_user.ini and define which serial port(s) you are using for programming and monitoring your device(s).
  • In the status bar at the bottom of Visual Studio Code, select your target build environment. By default, it will say Default (ESPixelStick). Build environments are defined in platformio.ini if you need more information on build targets.
  • In the same status bar, click to compile or to compile and upload.
  • To build and upload the filesystem, click on the PlatformIO icon on the left bar, then click on Project Tasks->[env]->Platform->Upload Filesystem Image. Note that before the filesystem is built, the web pages must be processed. Instructions are processing the web pages are in the html README.

Arduino IDE Instructions (not recommended, No longer supported for ESP32)

Due to dependencies and software versioning, building with the Arduino IDE is not recommended. If you wish to build with the Arduino IDE, below is what you will need to install.

The following libraries are required. Extract the folder in each of these zip files and place it in the "library" folder under your arduino environment.

Required for all platforms:

Required for ESP8266:

Required for ESP32:

Arduino Compiling and Flashing - ESP8266 ONLY

  • Web pages must be processed, placed into data/www, and uploaded with the upload plugin. Gulp will process the pages and put them in data/www for you. Refer to the html README for more information.
  • In order to use the upload plugin, the ESP must be placed into programming mode and the Arduino serial monitor must be closed.
  • ESP8266 modules must be configured for 4MB flash and 2MB File System within the Arduino IDE for OTA updates to work.
  • For best performance on ESP8266 modules, set the CPU frequency to 160MHz (Tools->CPU Frequency). You may experience lag and other issues if running at 80MHz.
  • For best performance on ESP32 modules, set the PSRAM option to ENABLED if it is available.
  • Depending on your settings of Tools->Erase Flash, you may have to re-upload the filesystem after uploading the sketch.
  • If not performing a full erase during sketch upload, it is recommended that you do a factory reset via the browser admin page after performing a new sketch upload.

Supported Inputs and Outputs

Details on the supported input protocols and outputs can be found in the wiki.

Configuration Backup / Restore

The current device configuration can be saved to a local drive using the Backup button on the Admin page. Pressing the Backup button will result in a local file save operation to the default download directory. The file will be named using the Device name from the device configuration page PLUS the ESP unique ID found on the admin page. The current configuration can be over written from a file located on the local drive (in any directory you chose) by pressing the Restore button on the admin page. A popup will help you select the file to upload. NOTE: A restore is an OVER WRITE, not a merge. Any changes made since the backup file was created will be lost.



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