This year, my family and I went into Hobby Lobby in search of Halloween decorations. I found a nice ceramic jack-o-lantern that was painted green inside and was only $3.00. I had an idea…
I thought, “I could put an ESP8266 in there with a double LED and put a flickering loop on the ESP and that would look so cool sitting on my dining room table where the Halloween Spread is laid out every year… and it would look awesome. So I put the ceramic jack in my cart amongst other things.
I start with a Wemos module that has a 18650 battery holder, which is very convenient for this project. Since the area to be lit was fairly small, I used two green LEDs and soldered them to pins D6 and D7 and ground. This provides two separate flicker channels for a more realistic flicker effect. If you need to make this brighter, you could use small mosfets and a higher voltage with higher power LEDs of any color you wish.
Here’s a look at the module:
A video of the higher power unit. The flicker effect is random and looks very realistic:
NOTE: when you flash the code to the module for the first time, you will not see the LEDs blink yet. To make them blink, you first have to add the module to your wireless network (this is designed as a network client so you can remote control it). To do that, take your mobile phone and browse wifi network like so and find “FunkyCandle”:
Once you see that network, go ahead and click on it to access the config manager (click Configure WiFi): The module will now scan available nearby networks so that you can join one (click the one you want and then enter the password):
Once you enter the password, click save and wait about 20 seconds for the network to be stored and then go look for the module’s IP address using your router’s tools (likely under DHCP leases etc), then enter that IP address into your browser like this to turn it on. So for example, if the ip of the module on your network is 10.1.1.29, you would enter this URL into your browser to turn on your candle: http://10.1.1.29/on and to turn it off: http://10.1.1.29/off (NOTE: this only turns the LEDs on or off, it does not turn the module on or off!)
Now, simply place the module into your favorite decoration and enjoy! Here’s a video of mine: